Wednesday, August 25, 2021

More reality

Well, you can't say this hasn't been an eventful couple of years. I've always been a basically healthy guy, and, having no health insurance for most of my life, I'm not in the habit of going to the doctor often. I did go yesterday, and found out I have extremely high blood pressure— well into the “hypertensive crisis” range. Fortunately, after an examination, urinalysis, and EKG, they're not finding any signs of imminent organ failure so far. The doctor and staff were definitely jumpy about it, but they didn't send me straight to the emergency room— which is currently clogged with unvaccinated COVID cases from rural Oregon. They put me on some meds, and we're following up every couple of days. Still, that phrase hypertensive crisis - seek emergency care makes you feel like you could drop dead any time— but the doctor has assessed that I'm merely hypertensive urgent, meaning “you probably won't die in the next week, but deal with this now.”  

What the hell do you do with that? I always assumed I would just drop dead from something heart related— my father died of a heart attack when he was 41, and I was just turning 4, way back in 1971. Other family members have been very long lived, so I figured there were one of two ways it would go. 

Anyway: I don't want to be maudlin about it, or over-dramatic, but if something happens, I'd hate to check out without leaving a note.

I don't feel incomplete. A lot of people feel like frauds their entire life, and I don't— I can play the drums, I am a musician, I am a player... even if my playing career has never been massive. If I needed adulation or attention I would have sought it out harder— all I ever needed was to make some of my own music, and prove I am a player to myself... plus a little confirmation from people I trust that I'm doing the right thing. I do need to record more. And I've got a studio with 50+ unfinished paintings in it— I need to wrap some of those up. 

I'm very happy with the way the site has developed— I know I've made a contribution with it. I've written things I was always looking for, and never found, because they didn't exist. Or made workarounds for problems/impediments in the existing literature. I think the site makes a decent case for this 60s-70s modernism which is underrepresented in media and literature and especially on the internet as a way to play. What I've posted here would have been massively helpful to me when I was younger, I'm confident it will be massively helpful to some other people like me— I recognize you guys. 

I always tell the story of the weekend cruise ship singer, who I believe worked in a bank, and was bragging about his quite excellent retirement plan (“Two words: compound interest.”). Then one day shortly after retirement, he woke up not feeling well, discovered he had cancer, and was dead a few months later, and he may as well have just been a jazz drummer, a poet, an actor, WHATEVER HE REALLY WANTED TO DO. The end. 

So if I happen to die suddenly, I see it as a huge joke on society and all of its tsk tsk he should have gotten a real job. They'll have to shove that one more time. 

8/27 UPDATE: No organ damage, thank God. They're reducing my blood pressure with medication, and sometime in the next week it should be into long term survivable range. At that point I could just stay on medication forever, or make some lifestyle changes to reduce it. It was so high that the doctor believes there is something hereditary at work, so I imagine I'll be on the medication long term to some extent. 


David Hurd said...

Hi Todd, I hope you are able to make the changes needed to get your health back in order!

All the best,

David Hurd

Todd Bishop said...

Thanks David-- and thanks everyone for the emails.

Bernd Klug said...

Hi Todd, I'm some many few days older than you. High blood pressure seems to come with age ;-)) Just take your pills regularly AND NEVER EVER FORGET TO TAKE THESE F*CKING PILLS DAILY.
I tried to make it without these pills but after three months I wasn't even able to play ONE song; not to mention a full show. Now, after having my daily "grain breakfast" I'm OK again.
btw I was told that Yoga also helps.

Todd Bishop said...

Thanks Bernd-- I WON'T FORGET TO TAKE THESE F*CKING PILLS, hahaha. I'm looking forward to visiting Germany again soon, hopefully we can meet up.

Unknown said...

All the best and I hope that you have the support of family and friends. Is it such a bad thing to discover that there is a problem but also the opportunity of having some control over fixing it via doctors and losing a few bad habits? Your a sound fella and I'm glad that you have been given this heads up ... please avoid stress and doughnut eating contests as much as you can, thank you

Todd Bishop said...

Thanks Unk-- yep I have lots of support. I think it's largely a hereditary thing, but we're looking into lifestyle changes that will help with it. I'd like to not have to be on medication the rest of my life, but I guess people do it.