As I get older around my birthday, I feel like I should have some knowledge to show for it– and of course, to share. The problem is as you get older, you feel stupider and less creative. Another one of life’s cruelties: when you want it you can’t have it and when you have it [...]
You Are Viewing Health
I had a corneal transplant last week. Some people who’ve had corneal transplants have created diaries to help others know what they can expect, so I will too, but i’ll contain it within a single blog post so you don’t have to bounce around my website like a damn fool reading all kinds of non-cornea related stuff. I’ll keep it updated as it goes along. If you’re reading it now, whatever the most recent entry says is current.
PERL inventor Larry Wall has a pretty decent cornea transplant diary from when he had his cornea transplant in 1996. Him and I chatted a little bit and he gave me some more tips and helped to calm me down since I was compulsively searching Google for more info about it.
There’s a british chick who has a cornea transplant blog too, and it really seems like hers went far too well and she calls her doctor Mr. Larkin instead of Dr Larkin which kind of annoys us over here since Mr Larkin sounds like her neighbor or something and not an eye surgeon.
There’s some old lady who has a corneal transplant diary too but I’m not going to link to it because it’s not that interesting and full of corny jokes. One of the corny jokes is surrounding the word foreseeable but the word SEE is like that as a pun. Get it. Yeah.
So basically, like everything else I do around here this is to share the info and experience that I have to thank the others who have shared their info and experience with me.
Week Before Surgery
So my doctors office set me pre-op clearance screening for the week before my surgery rather than the more standard two weeks. I’m not trying to be like that older lady mentioned above and go on some Seinfeld rant about how irresponsible doctors offices are, just bringing this up because you’ll want to insist on having it two weeks in advance in case there’s any issues.
In my case my CBC screen showed high White Blood Cells (WBC) which i’m not entirely sure why. I was wickedly hungover that day and I had taken some antibiotics earlier that week for a sinus infection. Only thing that it could’ve been.
The Doctor told me she COULD NOT clear me for my surgery with the high WBC. So she ordered me to do a chest x-ray. This is Wednesday afternoon and my cornea transplant surgery is on Tuesday the next week. So I do the X-Ray and it’s normal enough (I smoked for 17 years). My appointment for surgery was made 30 days in advance and if i’m not cleared by Wednesday they’ll cancel my surgery, my surgeon’s office says.
I tell them i’m sure the high WBC is a fluke and i’ll do another CBC that day and get cleared. During my anxiety/hypochondria of 2012 I had a lot of CBCs done. They say there isn’t time, or something like that. I call Dr Brenner’s office and the front office manager tells me she’ll call them and get it straightened out.
I get my CBC done again.
(Cutting it really close!)
I go to Long Beach Memorial (where my surgery will take place) and do the pre-operation check in. The people at Long Beach Memorial are insanely nice and helpful. This process was a breeze and sorta fun but i’m a little worried that I won’t get my CBC results done in time and they’ll cancel my surgery. As i’m leaving LB Memorial my GP’s office calls and says my CBC is fine and i’m cleared for surgery. It’s like 430pm on Friday. Whoa.
I call my Mom and tell her my surgery is on and she can come Sunday night as planned.
I start to worry that I might die during my general anesthesia and start living it up. I go Brunch with my daughter and her mom then go to Hollywood Park and celebrate the Kentucky Derby and have a marvelous time. I win some money on a horse called Lico.
Although I think general anesthesia may be the end of me I feel calm.
I begin with the eyedrops: Bromday, Vigamox and Lotemax.
I work from home to do some errands done as well before my surgery. I’m pretty calm and eager to get it over with. I drink a last drink of water at 11:45 and then watch TV for awhile.
I sleep pretty well.
DAY OF SURGERY: Tuesday
I wake up at 6:30 am put some comfortable clothes on. I drive to Long Beach Memorial with my Mom and Phil in the car and we park behind the Surgical Pavilion.
I go inside and check in at 7:45am and wait a few minutes and then a Filipino nurse calls my name and I go into this dressing room area and put on two night dresses (one frontwards one backwards, for full coverage) and put my street clothes into a giant ziplock bag. Then I was led into a room with some hospital beds and put on one and then wheeled into a staging area that looks like a recovery area but is the opposite.
Some nurses put eye drops in my eye and start an IV. I go pee a few times. My Mom and Phil and my Daughter’s mom come in and talk with me and with each other. I talk to the nurses a lot, mostly about the Philippines. I’m a little worried about the anesthesia still, I don’t know why. I read once that anesthesia is the cousin of death and sometimes it just hits people wrong. For the same reason other bad thoughts stick with me, it stuck with me. But like I said I feel calm. I need a new cornea. I’m excited to get a new cornea, actually.
It’s 10:30 am now and Dr Brenner is done with his first surgery and comes in and talks to my family and me and marks my eye. One thing you’ll notice is that because of those goof-ups where someone got the wrong leg amputated or whatever they do a lot of double checking on your name, surgery, location, etc.
Then Dr Kaminsky comes in to talk about anesthesia. Turns out he’s a handsome but cold Russian (Belorussian actually) guy which dovetails perfectly with my anesthesia fear mentioned earlier. He explains what he’ll do and how long he’ll keep me under and all that.
At around 11:30am they wheel me into the operating room. There’s a boombox and a bunch of medical tools and machines. It doesn’t look high tech. There’s music on. Dr Kaminsky puts the oxygen mask on me. The doctors and nurses and Dr Kaminsky are joking and preparing. I’m sorta laughing along with them, watching them.
Then i’m waking up and I feel sorta silly. The Filipino nurse from earlier is gently waking me and I feel tape and an eye patch on my right eye. I’m super thirsty and hungry. I look at the clock and it’s 2:30. The nurse gives me some candy and two cups of really cold cranberry juice. I wolf down all of it and then my stomach starts feeling shitty.
I eat another piece.
I feel pretty ok, sorta humming or buzzing, and my eye feels like someone smeared crisco in it and then taped it up but it doesn’t hurt.
Turns out my surgery was 2 hours, an hour longer than expected, and in addition to smearing ointment all over my eye before taping it up Dr Brenner also injected my eye and eyeball with all kinds of medicines.
I’m pretty sure I went home and ate, but not totally sure. I did get into bed pretty quick. I sweated a lot and had odd dreams. I was up and down for the rest of the day and night. Time passed really strangely.
I’m not feeling any pain but am feeling really groggy still.Very dry and light sensitive. I watch TV with my Mom and Phil and they prepare me some fresh juices. I pass out periodically like an old man. I’m really eager for the next day when I have my follow up and get this bandage off my face. Not much else happens.
I go outside and its really bright out. I go to visit Dr Brenner and he takes off the bandage and says that i’m 25% healed. He tells me to use the Vigamox antibiotics 4 times per day but none of the other ones.
My eye is very very red. I can read the first line only with my right eye.
I go home and pass the time watching Netflix with my Mom and Phil.
Can’t really remember much but more of the same. Very boring recuperation. No pain or anything. Eye is very red.
Eye is 5% less red.
Eye 5% less red. Still very red. My vision feels really strange because my left eye is so perfect and my right eye is now very terrible. Even though it was terrible before its about twice or three times as bad now. Weird. My brain should begin to ignore the terrible vision and just use what’s useful soon.
More of the same. Eye is very red still but a little less. I take a walk around my community and exercise feels good and decide to do some more in the coming days.
I open my laptop for the first time.
Lots of sleep and begin doing a little work. Take another walk. Eye less red.
Plan to visit work but don’t. My plans and my abilities are a few days apart. Still tired, lazy and eye doesn’t feel solid enough to go outside. Wasting more time until Dr Brenner’s visit which I’m told is actually at 10:30 instead of 2:30 so this means i’ll need to wake up “early”.
I wake up at 10 and get ready. I’m driving for the first time and it’s ok– not scary or anyting.
I think this is mostly because I had crumby vision before. If your vision was good before it will be much harder on you. I go to Dr Brenner’s office and i’m late and feel like a jerk but they don’t mention it and that’s nice of them.
They call me in 5 mins later and I can only read the same line (but a little clearer).
Dr Brenner comes in and has a look at my eye and says its 95% healed, which is excellent progress only a week later. It’s also sorta red at this point but i’d just woken up less than an hour earlier so that played a part.
I told Dr Brenner that the lubricating drops made my eyes feel dry and cemented my eye lashes together in the night so he gave me a new prescription for an antibiotic, steroid and ant-inflammatory ointment and told me to stop using that other one. Once my epithelium is 100% healed I can start the other eye drops, he said.
He said it’s so red because of the injections he gave me to keep it healthy and it’d be clear if not them. He said within a week it shouldn’t be red at all and should feel much better. My vision should improve a lot by about the month mark (three more weeks). There’s no sign of infection or rejection. This is all very good news.
So why does my vision still suck? Basically the 95% healed epithelium is just regular epithelium and it has to transform into optical epithelium which is good for seeing through. Right now it’s more like regular skin, but clear.
I can read letters if I hold things really close to my eye and the photophobia isn’t as bad as it was. Looking forward to the 5% reduction in redness each day.
I haven’t smoked in 38 days.
I’ve lost between 10-15lbs depending on when I weigh myself and how much water or food i’ve had. When’s the best time to weigh myself?
My diet is still very healthy, though i’m not thinking about it much anymore.
I stopped taking the Zyban/Bupropion/Wellbutrin for smoking cessation at the 35 day mark. My doctor said I should take it for the full 3 months but it makes me jittery and I agree with The Power Of Habit that new habits can be formed in 30 days (and old habits can be lost in 30 days). 30 days was enough for me to rewire my brain to not want or need cigarettes and find better coping skills to replace it. YMMV.
My recent move afforded me ample opportunities for excercise and my entire body feels very strong and firm. When i’m no longer sore i’ll need to continue getting exercise. I’d really like to find some non-gym outlets to do work and physical activities. I’m going to look into some volunteer opportunities that offer physical labor of some kind.
Will join the boxing gym down the street from my condo and get back into boxing.
Will post pictures soon.
I’m 33. I’m making some very healthy and some fairly unhealthy but drastically necessary lifestyle changes.
Depending on the day, and depending on what I ate i’m usually anywhere between 235 and 240 lbs. Since i’m 6′-2.5″ I don’t look obese, but I look puffy.
Here’s why, and it’s not a unique story:
There was a time (roughly between the ages of 13 and 27) where I could ingest whatever I wanted to and at worst have a small belly (I didn’t mind, sorta liked it) and a little bit of roundness to my face. With the exception of a few years where I played a lot of baseball and golf, I was never in really-really good shape, but never in bad shape either.
My weight during this time was between 180lbs and 215lbs, as I got taller. Between 25 and 33 my lifestyle became more unhealthy at a much faster pace while my body’s metabolism and various filters were slowing down. I was able to ingest whatever I wanted and not much really changed as far as my health or body size/shape.
Me trying to look like Raymond Carver
By the time I was 26 I was advancing in my career and this meant spending a lot of time at a desk during the days, with a quick walk to somewhere to eat lunch, and then spending my time at bars and parties after work, trying to “network”, which i’m not sure is useful but there was a lot about this “networking” at that period of time. Mostly it revolved around office parties with open bars.
So then my career advanced more and there was more desk time and less free time, and my free time mostly consisted of quick indulgence: nice dinners, drinking, quick trips out of town to go to nice dinners and drink. etc. Before long I became only good at a few things: working, drinking, smoking cigarettes and eating delicious but unhealthy foods. Then the food part went and i’d have a smaller meal but drink the same amount. This was likely due to me noticing my weight gain and also slowly becoming something of an alcoholic. The cigarettes continued throughout these years with small breaks here and there.
Yes, I was another overweight guy at a party at the playboy mansion. c. 2007
Then when I was 30 I moved to China.
This was a very important part of my unhealthy life because the desk/work part stayed about the same or lessened but the drinking and smoking went way up. I actually lost weight during this time because Chinese food in China is actually really healthy for the most part though sometimes lacking in nutrition. During my time in China, while smoking and drinking the most in my life, I lost about 10lbs but it wasn’t healthy weight loss. More like malnutrition weight loss.
Ok so fast forward to 2011 and i’m back in the US, smoking like i’m still in China and drinking often due to the angst of being over 30 with most of my adventures behind me. Plus add the career/desk/office thing and those 10lbs I left in China met me back here in the US and brought 5 or 10 of their friends with them.
On New Years Day of this year (2013) I made an earnest attempt to quit smoking and it lasted about 3 weeks before I made a conscious decision to give up.
Then sometime in February I decided that I wasn’t going to go on a diet but I was going to change my lifestyle:
- For two weeks i’d try a vegetarian diet
- On the third week I’d add fish
- On the fourth week i’d eat some chicken but mostly vegetables and fish
- On week five I decided that for this lifestyle change to work it could not be a strict diet, if I eat something I shouldn’t, that’s ok. As it turns out, after eating healthy for the previous 4 weeks I don’t really have the desire to eat unhealthy
By week 5 I’d lost a meager 6-7lbs, but my body shape is noticeably better, though far from when I was in my early 20′s (perhaps this is unrealistic? not sure).
I decide to get even more serious.
I refill my prescription for Bupropion/Zyban/Wellbutrin which is an anti-depressant but marketed as a smoking cessation drug and decide to go cold turkey on a Sunday and start Bupropion the same day. Somehow, it works really well.
An aside: the magic of Zyban is that you’re allowed to smoke for 10 days and part of the process is that cigarettes begin to taste really bad. Fair enough, but this regimen seems very magical and American in its’ ethos.
You can quit while still smoking!
It’s helped me quit before but I always knew I could go back to the Zyban and you shouldn’t use this drug too much I don’t think. So Zyban/Bupropion/Wellbutrin has a few other side effects, one is anxiety which in the past year I don’t need more of, weight loss, and insomnia.
Ok the first few days are pretty bad mentally, though physically I felt pretty ok so I started excercising. Riding my bike and doing push ups. This made my body feel better but didn’t help with the added anxiety or insomnia. So I added .5 mg of Xanax before bedtime, which is working great.
What about drinking? Well Bupropion/Zyban/Wellbutrin not only reduces your cravings for cigarettes, but also alcohol. Additionally it makes it semi-dangerous to drink as it increases your seizure threshold and when mixed with alcohol doubles that threshold (to about 4 in 1,000 on the maximum dose of 450mg and heavy drinking. I take 150MG a day). Nothing keeps you to a few drinks like not wanting to have a seizure.
So To Review:
- Three meals a day
- Vegetarian or Fish-only diet. No processed foods. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- No smoking. 150 mg of Bupropion in the morning (may switch this to lunchtime)
- Light exercise (push ups and bike)
- Very little soda/sugar/candy/junk food
- May drink once per week, but shouldn’t in the first two months. No more than 4 beers or 3 glasses of wine
- Two multivitamins a day along with 250mg of magnesium for nerves, 1000 mg Vitamin C, B Complex for energy
- One Psyllium “shake” per day for fiber
- .25mg to .5 mg Xanax before bedtime
In the coming weeks I might make some tweaks to my diet and may also diversify my workouts, though I don’t want to join a gym and I don’t want to have a strict diet as again I see it more as a lifestyle change. People on diets always fail and people with annual passes to Disneyland or 24 hour fitness never go. I will probably start boxing again in the coming weeks.
I’ll post some photos (and add some worse before photos) when I feel they’re worth sharing.
I like to eat Pho. I’m a cheapskate with myself, especially when it comes to food. I also like to try new things and experiment, but being a cheapskate about food I don’t like to take too many risks. If you live in Westminster, California and you add all of this up and you’ll like to eat pho as much as you’ll like getting your hair cut for $5. Sometimes I want to try new things on the menu but I’m rarely willing to gamble $7 to try, especially at a Vietnamese restaurant because the descriptions tend to leave out what form the food is prepared in. For instance:
Bo Khe Thanh Mi (completely made up dish using some common vietnamese words I see) could be described as: beef, noodles and vegetables. Sounds like fried noodles. But then it will be soup. Or maybe something that looks like soup will arrive at the table as a structure of dried noodles with a few pieces of vegetable on top and even fewer slices of meat.
Now in the winter of my time in Westminster, I am looking for some absolutes. I want to know the best Pho. The cheapest pho. The best Banh Mi.
Today’s feature is:
The Cheapest Pho In Westminster !
Mentally play some dramatic music after reading this line
From the 405 head opposite of the beach on Westminster Blvd past the Excalibur Hotel & Casino-esque signage and street flair.
Ah yes, an open gate in the Medieval fashion on the edge of the median as you enter Westminster. Nice touch! (Imagine how pitching this street flair might have sound at the city council meeting.)
Drive past all of the Marketplaces and Home Depots and past Golden West and you’ll hit a stretch of town that isn’t quite sure what it’s gonna do yet. You’ll find TV repair shops in 1950′s style strip malls and dancing studios for older generations who like ballroom dancing until the wee hours of the night but don’t require alcohol. Right now you’re in between the 7600th and 7700th block of Westminster Blvd. Continue on a little further and you start to find the upscale Westminster blvd with a Lexus Dealership and some nice looking banks.
On the corner of Northwest Beach Blvd and Westminster Blvd behind some building you will find Nha Hang $1.99 Restuarant. Wow Nha Hang must mean value or some small but proud town in the Vietnamese countryside that offers food at reasonable prices. Allow me to translate the photo below:
Vietnamese: Restaurant $1.99
English: $1.99 Restaurant
For Cheap Pho enthusiasts, this Tudor Medieval Revival style structure is your Westminster Abbey. But leave the attitude at home: this place is for G’s only. Your fellow customers will be strong, construction worker type vietnamese men, eating alone reading a newspaper, old but tough looking Vietnamese couples and the occasional family who look like they eat here thrice weekly. And why wouldn’t you? With their $2.75 bowl of Pho (Chicken, Beef or either with parts) or their $3.50 bowl of Pho Bo Kho (beef stew with carrots and onions) you could eat dinner here every night for a month for a measly $90.
The waiters speak barely passable english: I ordered fried noodles, the waiter asked if I wanted “Beef or Rib”, mmm rib sounds nice I thought. Turns out he meant to say Shrimp. Hey shrimp weren’t bad either! And for $1.99 for a plate of friend noodles i’m not complaining. Drinks, if you keep it simple (soda or iced teas) are $1. No cents. One Dollar. Condiments are free, surprisingly. (But don’t wait until the owners kids come back from Wharton or you’ll probably be paying a quarter dollar for a plastic cup of hoisin and sriracha!)
The side plate of fresh vegetables and herbs is a muted handful of bean sprouts and a lime wedge. The mint and basil is added by the chef. You don’t need that whole garden of mint and basil so shut your noodle cooler.
The ambiance is shabby-asian-chic:
√ Golden Maneki Neko Cat at the Cash Register
√ Buddhist stone fresco on the wall
√ Framed photograph of a noble oriental countryside
√ Small water fountain with rocks
√ Ambient lit ceiling fans
√ Harsh Fluorescent ceiling lights
√ Takeout case with sneeze guard
√ Collection of local foreign language publications at the door
√ Local insurance agent giveaway calendar on the wall
This place has it all.
The menu is too cheap to believe:
What’s more is that Nha Hang $1.99 has three locations to serve you in the North Orange County Region:
7971 Westminster Blvd
Westminster, CA 92683
11707 Edinger Ave
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
12035 Garden Grove Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92842
I was reading this DIY forum I frequent and this guy was showing his DIY renovation of his kitchen.
Basically I left a comment like:
“Wow OP nice work! You really lived in a shithole before, that said would you have me over for dinner sometime?”
After typing that I realized that my generation does not have friends over for dinner the way past generations have. Ok sometimes they do, but it’s usually overblown and has a theme. When I was growing up my Mom would make a big pot of spaghetti with olives and be like “Hey Ron and Katie are coming for dinner”, which was sort of exciting to have company over, even though it was just a pot of spaghetti and maybe my Stepdad would crack a bottle or two of wine for the group. This happened a few times a month.
I haven’t had people over for dinner in ages (though brunch, yeah pretty often).
Maybe it’s just a southern California thing as I sometimes hear about some New Yorkers I know having dinner parties, but again those are usually fancy. I dunno, why don’t people invite each other over for dinner anymore? And why isn’t it just whatever you planned to eat but a little more and maybe something sorta nice added? Actually in China I got invited over and out for dinner several times per week, by both foreigners and Chinese. Why not here?
Sometimes my memory from youth is condensed and confused so this might be one of those times. Anyhow, invite me over for dinner please.
Alright so i’m getting a little tired of writing such positive stuff here, and after writing about Misanthropy for so long, you can understand why.
So tonight at 6:30 it was two weeks since I decided to (and did) quit smoking and get into better health.
How I Feel
How do I feel? Well I really want to say that I feel blah or that i’m bored out of my mind or something like that, just to let you guys know that i’m still alive and well, but actually I feel quite well and happy.
Today I woke up to my alarm and I turned it off calmly and stayed wrapped up, very warm and comfortable. While living an unhealthy lifestyle I would wake up and not want to get up because I still felt exhausted or gross, but rarely because I felt so comfortable. Like when you’re a kid. You lay in bed and squirm around slowly; stretching feels good and soft. This type of life, it’s innocent and simple, like how porn movies used to have lame stories that were, somehow, quite a bit more stimulating than the stuff we watch nowadays. Unhealthy waking up is a 60 second modern web clip of adult cinema: hurry up and get it over with.
Some Aside About Adult Films, Past & Present
Waking up healthy is like the 80′s adult films.
To be honest I think this waking up and adult movie analogy is quite weak, but i’m trying to make it work because for some reason today I woke up and thought of this adult movie that my Dad left permastashed in a cabinet in our living room and I wanted to refer back to here without having to leave a note like:
- woke up thinking about Two To Tango adult movie that Pa left permastashed in the living room cabinet.
It was about a team of South American SLA-style Terrorists (those were the days) who kidnapped a group of mostly blond babes from the airport in order to hold them for ransom money and of course, to make love to them. The film starred many legends of 80′s pornography and since I watched it at a young age often, I reflect on it often. The one thing that really sticks with me is how all of the action was stitched together by a pretty good story-line that built a lot of suspense. The main terrorist, played by actor Tony Montana would menace the different babes based on their perceived ability to access money for his terrorist organization, and in relation to their level of inverse hotness. They knew how to build suspense back then.
See the photo above? The chick with the bandanna, she’s one of the terrorists– and she has a taste for the ladies if you catch my drift. (Back then all terrorists wore bandannas).
I don’t recall the gal on the right and am almost 100% certain that if she was in the film, I would remember her. This makes me think that the distributors of this movie played a good adult video marketing trick: hot babe (party) on the front, plot (business) on the back– this way you appeal to everyone.
You might be looking at the cover (with the red font) with a handkerchief over your mouth but you have to keep in mind that the chick on the front was pretty much the most righteous babe you could get in the 80′s.
Pear shaped? Check. Tan Lines? Check. Small-Medium sized breasts? Roger. Brown feathered hair? Jackpot.
Some More Stuff About Feeling Good
So today I woke up feeling very nice and felt pretty good throughout the day (yesterday was a difficult day as far as my mood went and I took it out on my employees, which I shouldn’t do).
So overall I’m really liking this living healthy thing, and I suspect that after two more weeks i’ll decide (or rather habit will have already decided for me) to simply keep it on as my new lifestyle.
What People Think Of You Is None Of Your Business
Perspective is everything, and I used to think that people who ate healthy, did healthy activities or abstained from unhealthy activities were just posing and pretending. Fact of the matter is, when you begin to be healthy (mentally and phsyically, goddamnit there should be a word for both meantal and physical health, i’m tired of making the distinction over and over and i’m sure it’s just as bland to read it) you really don’t want to do unhealthy things and you earnestly want to eat healthy stuff. Last night I made some mexican dish that I had invented last night and was concerned that the enchilada sauce I was using could be more natural, like some Trader Joes enchilada sauce– this is what i’m talking about. That, or an earnest want to hit the gym or take your bike for a spin. I swear if I read this on someone else’s site I’d be really bored and think they were just saying it, or just posing. Perspective is so strange.
Something Else That I Should Mention
For the first time in a long time I opened up my site stats to have a look and noticed that a lot of people look at the boring Vietnam Memorial-esque walls of text that I write on here and skip to another page. Because of this I added these frankly manipulative headings that tell you what the next paragraph is about, which mentally trick you into reading what you’re reading about now, so that you will be prepared for the next section. I’m sorry about this but I just noticed how so many of you skip around and get bored, and I wanted to make reading this crap more easy.
About 100-150 people drop in here per day and while 30% are people from Google looking for info on a certain thing (who don’t comment), 70% (80-100 persons) come here each day to have a look around. Who are you? Why do you do it? Why don’t you leave a comment and say hi to me or give me some direction or feedback?
I’m a little but hungover but not too bad. Seems smoking really adds to the hangover. Went out last night and had a few but didn’t smoke.
Gonna go ride my bike to get some breakfast. This is not a bad way to live.
Yes, i’m going to scratch on the pancakes.
I just went back and read the last few posts I wrote and they’re pretty hard to follow and erratic. The truth is I started writing the first one a few days in and finished it about a week in, and didn’t edit it at any point therein. No big deal really, just wanted to point it up.
So today at 6:30PM it was officially 10 days into my 30 day health kick— the exact moment 10 days ago that I had my last cigarette and was determined to commit a month to improving my health and wellness.
Some notes for future Andy to come back and read:
I slept up in LA last night, and had a hard time falling asleep, then woke up early after only 3-4 hours sleep and couldn’t fall asleep yet again. Finally, fell asleep again.
Woke up at 10am. Got to work at 11:30am. Ate free Friday Lunch. Worked until 4:30pm (which is very late for me on a Friday). Took two sandwiches from the free lunch home in my laptop bag. Forgot about them there. Had left my bike at the office the other day after riding in at lunch and then catching a ride with Gary because it was too dark.
Was planning on asking Gary to follow me home and take me back so I could ride my bike home but laziness persevered after I mentally painted some chaotic and blatantly dangerous Friday night commute scene following my route from work to home and just put the bike in the back of the Saab.
Went and worked out in the fashion that was recommended by the Personal Trainer at the bar at O’Hare Airport last month:
Bro if you wanna get jacked just do 5 reps on every muscle group (part of your body) at the very limit of your strength. This should take 10 minutes total. 15-20 if you include cardio. Cardio is for pussies who are afraid of getting jacked, bro.
Worked out for 10 minutes in the manner described above. Opted to work out at the gym at my apartment community instead of 24 Hour Fitness since the 24 hour fitness down the street is an “Active” or “Sport” location, which means it’s not the full enchilada but instead sorta looks like the gym in my apartment community. Cut the workout a little short because some old guy came in wearing an old guy workout outfit ready to get jacked and he made me felt weird so I did work outy gestures and stretches and made my way toward the exit.
I then remembered those sandwiches I had put in my laptop bag earlier. Ate one while lying on my bed in my workout outfit, which resembles the shorts and t shirt combo of the guys in pulp fiction.
I was invited to go to Mexico but turned it down. I’m worried that if I go to Mexico I’ll definitely smoke or be generally unhealthy. 2 days out of 30 is almost 1%. I’ve gotta give this an earnest try.
I’m getting stronger, developing stamina and am in the beginning stages of an attractive and fit shape: my arms, shoulders, chest and legs look activated and healthy.
Today at 6:30PM was 10 days that I have been cigarette free. I haven’t craved cigarettes much but have had a few urges, though nothing like the previous super heavy feelings of loss and pushing myself to give up. Any thought of smoking makes me feel really disappointed and I get an immediate flashback of sitting at my desk chain smoking and stressing over the mountain of work I have to do. People think that smoking relieves stress but I think like most drugs and addictive processes, it necessitates it. When I was chainsmoking it was necessary that I had something to chain smoke about.
Some physical changes:
- My skin has always been beautiful, but really looks great now, especially on my hands and face.
- My veins are visible and healthy looking
- Legs and feet are strong but relaxed
- Eyes are clear and moist
- No stomach or digestion issues this time whatsoever. I attribute this to juicing at the beginning of my quit and getting exercise.
- Hair feels fuller and not greasy
- Mouth feels cleaner, teeth are white
- Joints feel ok, a little tight and clenchy sometimes. Not sure why this is.
- Posture is improved. Back doesn’t need stretching or cracking anymore except for after workouts.
- Stomach doesn’t look as good as after the 15 mile bike ride. Will take another 15 mile bike ride tomorrow.
- Cough and runny nose down to very low levels. May have a sinus infection.
Some Mental Changes
- For most smokers who have other unhealthy practices waking up in the morning is unpleasant and sometimes scary. Mornings have been much better: more clear, calm, peaceful.
- On the topic of sleep, I find I can now nap whenever I want. My body may still be catching up on rest, or i’m just very relaxed and calm now. Either way is good.
- I identify and work to squelch the urgent (!) ”I need _____ ” type thoughts that go through the head of a smoker/addict 1,000 times a day. I keep telling myself “You don’t need anything. Be calm.”
- My patience is definitely lower, however I feel like it’s possible that before I didn’t let anything impact me because I buffered it with a cigarette or maybe cig and a drink.
- A cig and a glass of wine does, admittedly, sound rather nice now. More so the wine than the cig, but when there is no occasion for it and as I type it, the urge has passed.
- Life, interactions and situations appear and feel like they unfold slower which makes me feel more present and not a few seconds late. I like this.
- When I ride my bike I get furious at drivers who don’t drive carefully around me. I’m such a hypocrite.
I’m trying to live a healthy lifestyle, and currently this means quitting smoking. Later it will mean exercise, meditation, psychotherapy certainly, and some other things I don’t know of yet (fuck I hope I don’t get into Kayaking or Wind Surfing).
In regards to smoking, anyone who knows me knows i’ve tried to quit smoking a lot.
Friends make fun of me for this, which is understandable yet also a strange way to deal with someone struggling with addiction.
Ha ha– Joe you’ve tried to quit heroin so many times
I guess the above was within the context of me Quitting Facebook, which i’ve done many times compared with how many times i’ve quit smoking. It seems maybe some people didn’t want me to quit either one. They say you should make a list about why you’re quitting smoking, so you can refer back to it later.
I feel a little embarrassed about making this list, but i’m going to try and do things their way this time:
- I’d like to live a healthy lifestyle* (read more on this below)
- At 32, my health and physical shape is not good. This will not change with my current lifestyle. I would like this to change because my physical shape and health are affecting my mental state badly recently.
- Smoking makes me lazy and listless. Because I am tall I need all of the oxygen I can get. Smoking saps my oxygen and makes me probably more lethargic than your average smoker of shorter stature and lower weight. This spills over into many areas.
- Similar to the above, being lazy and out of shape feeds off of itself. When you’re a smoker you avoid doing physical activity because it’s unpleasant. So you remain out of shape. So you smoke more.
- Largely, I feel that I choose certain activities because I am able to do them while smoking and avoid others because I cannot do them while smoking. In essence i’m letting a substance make a lot of my decisions and plans for me and this is upsetting.
- I’d like to be more physically attractive. I feel I used to be somewhat physically attractive 10 years ago and not so much anymore. While there is no end goal here I think we all know the inherent benefits of being physically attractive.
- Smoking makes you appear a certain way to others.
- Smoking is expensive and as I get older I become more and more frugal. Also, it’s not just the cigarettes but the visits to 7-11′s and the like which are some of the most advanced consumer stimulation centers in our country.
Regarding my healthy lifestyle reference above:
I didn’t say a healthier lifestyle and I don’t mean i’d like to improve my current lifestyle by some shade or degree, I mean a healthy lifestyle and for many subconscious and conscious reasons I do not live a healthy lifestyle. A big part of me worries that if I live a healthy lifestyle I will not be compatible with some of my family and friends and their lifestyles, or that they (or I myself) will think I think that I think I am better than them (people always think that others think that when they try to do something positive with themselves). This is the byproduct of coming from a background where unhealthy mental and physical habits are the norm— healthy habits are dissuaded, implicitly or explicitly. Unhealthy habits are encouraged, implicitly or explicitly.
The most important part of living a healthy lifestyle physically is being aware what is going into your body and what you’re doing to your body.
The most important part of living a healthy mental lifestyle is being aware what is going into your mind (or has gone into your mind) and what you’re doing to your mind. You may need to break down some mental barriers in order to get physically healthy.
It’s been a week since I quit smoking and started living a healthy lifestyle and i’ve had some important epiphanies:
- Humans really need to be physically active in order to be happy
- Addictions, at their core, are a result of poor coping skills and nothing more.
- Your subconscious mind will try to trick you into situations or mental situations where you will justify smoking (drinking, arguments etc)
- Urges to smoke are often urges for other things that you end up translating as an urge to smoke. Learning to triage and assign these urges at 32 after 15 years of smoking is bizarre and exhausting.
- People seem to respond to you better when you’re healthier
My plan is to live as healthy as possible for 30 days. I will update you after 30 days.