Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Doc says "no more heparin" which is probably a good thing, and "the thrombus is measurably shrinking" which is definitely a good thing. I shall continue to bandage my leg every day for another week or so, then see how it looks. He ordered blood tests, to be certain that I am otherwise in good shape; the last such general test was made in 2001, so it's probably well overdue.

Doc also says that the vein will probably remain blocked for the rest of my life, not to worry though because the body is full of veins and the blood will find another way back into circulation. This puzzles me: is it to be considered a positive outcome?

On the other hand I am thankfully aware that my burdens are far lighter than many others' and I do count my blessings often. One doesn't wish to be as self-centered as the man who, on hearing that his barber had had to cancel their appointment because he'd broken his leg, muttered "Damn, why does this always happen to me?" However, having said that: I have become aware of the mass of twitches and twinges and flashes of discomfort in my body, which I'd never taken full notice of before. Walking home from a cappuccino at the Dead White Male Poet Cafe, I realized that I had a knot in my chest, and was able through poking and prodding to identify it as being the effect of a mildly out-of-place rib and overtense shoulder and upper back muscles.

It's been about two weeks since I started cutting down on coffee, reducing my intake from two or three cups a day to one or two a week. Having done so, I notice the effect that caffeine and sugar have on my nerves, temperament and stomach — and I don't like it. I am jingling and twitching all over, irritable and unconcentrated and easily annoyed. A resolution: I will give up sugar completely (coffee is the last holdout, I gave up putting it in tea and on cereal twenty-five years ago), and will continue to drink coffee only as a rare treat on very special occasions.

I read an interview with Peter Sloterdijk about doping scandals in sports and the Tour de France in particular. It's available in English on the website of "Der Spiegel," the magazine in which it appeared, in a very good translation. Fascinating reading, as always with Sloterdijk.

The Mauersegler are still here, though to judge by the experience of the last few years (after I began taking notes) they should be gone within a week. The days are already getting noticeably shorter, the weather seems to be cooling and calming down.

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Blogger Zhoen said...

Yeah! And yes, blood vessels damaged, blocked, removed, just sit there. New ones form, other circulatory paths grow. Collateral circulation, like water creating a new streambed around a fallen rock.

July 15, 2008 at 2:27:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Rivka Rau said...

Thank you for linking to my blog, Udge. I note that comparing pains is not particularly useful, and can work to shut down empathy ("You think your sprained ankle hurts? Well, you should try breaking your coccyx in childbirth!"). All encounters with the fragility of the body have existential crises hovering in their wake.

I'd suggest to you that while experiencing a disruption in the illusion of eternal mortal life can be a good kick in the pants encouraging selfcare, it can also just as easily generalize into hypervigilance. I wish you luck in negotiating a path that aims at the former instead of the latter--toward greater balance in your life. Hugs.

July 15, 2008 at 11:17:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Dale said...


July 16, 2008 at 3:50:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Rob said...

Take care of yourself. Enjoy that occasional cup of coffee! Good read.

July 16, 2008 at 9:10:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Pacian said...

What Rivka said. There's nothing worse than someone trying to convince you that you don't feel bad when you do - even if it's yourself.

July 17, 2008 at 9:48:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Udge said...

No no, I wasn't meaning to compare pains at all, not even to myself, merely to point out that I have become aware of these twinges and twitches since being warned by Z and L to watch out for signs of emboli breaking loose. I do try to maintain a sense of proportion between the scale of the risk and the probability of its arising.

July 18, 2008 at 10:31:00 a.m. GMT+2  

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