Saturday, December 04, 2010

My Near Death Experience

I don't consider myself even close to being a hypochondriac. Sure, I'm no stoic. I'm always whingeing about DOMS to my wife whose pain threshold exceeds mine by many orders of magnitude. She gave birth to our kid without any painkillers and I start sobbing when I stub my toe (to be fair I have really long, delicate toes).

My wife had the temerity to go on a four-day skiing weekend, leaving me in sole charge of the kid. Skiing is something to do with snow that Europeans consider to be ecstatically joyfull. I think it is torture.

But I digress.

Liam woke me up about 5 with a bad dream, he was able to go back to sleep but I was up for the duration, so I made some coffee, a lot of coffee, and drank it. I also woke up with some tingling in my left arm that persisted all morning. After a while I'm feeling light-headed, really light-headed and dizzy. So I Google 'tingling left arm' and up comes possible stroke.

A couple years ago a good friend of mine in his mid-forties had a very serious stroke. This guy was a lawyer with his own firm who got up at four in the morning to exercise with his personal trainer. Pretty intense dude (although he didn't come across that way). Who knows what factors stress and genetics play into all of this, but it was pretty shocking for everyone who knew him. The guy was a cliché  for what a man ought to look at his age.

If he could be cut down in his prime what chance do any of us have?

Fast-forward to me with the tingling arm and the dizziness. Oh shit, it is all catching up with me now, I'm never going to see my adorable kid grow up, he's going to be scarred for life seeing his daddy keel over in front of him and forced to bang on the neighbors' doors screaming, "My daddy's a vegetable, and not the healthy kind".

Fixed some scrambled eggs and felt a bit better.

I was really scared at this point, convinced I'd suffered a mini-stroke, actually balancing on one foot to test myself, trying to figure out which part of my brain had taken the hit.

Finally decided to check my urine ketones and the strip was deep, deep purple. I'd apparently been suffering some extremely low brain glucose which had left me dizzy as hell, probably caused by all the coffee and the fact that I see-saw in and out of lipolysis drinking white wine and other such travesties. The tingling arm was just poorly slept upon.

The fear that had been squeezing my heart in a vise melted away. I wasn't teetering on the edge of oblivion, about to leave my kid with some traumatic memories, I was just suffering from a crappy gear change brought on by my own laziness.


  1. Sean,

    Glad to hear your black humor over this is back...!

    Have you ever considered that you may be adrenally fatigued? (ck out: Adrenal Fatigue: 21 st century stress syndrome -- it is EXCELLENT)

    When I'm tired, fatigued or overdoing things, I get the same thing -- tingling, loss of sensations -- in my thumb or forefinger... I suspect the blood vessels/nerves are constricted (less oxygen for nerves) with the excessive adrenaline effects of caffeine which is a cardio- and systemic-vascular stimulant. Yeah. It's annoying as a reminder that I do too much caffeine. When we were in Paris, I tried to order a 'triple espresso' omg they had NO IDEA WHAT THE F*** I was talking about... (so I had to order 2 doubles...*hAAAAA AHA!*)

    hey btw-- no COKE at this time, a crazy strong stimulant...

  2. Hi BG,

    I don't know anything about adrenal fatigue but I'm going to read up on it, thanks.

    In my case, I don't think it is a case of regular heavy coffee consumption. I'm pretty sensitive to caffeine and try to limit myself to one cup in the morning. I'd really like to quit actually as I think it jacks the (or mine at least) blood sugar.

    Cocaine is a different story, it has a long history of safe use by indigenous peoples.

  3. I did come across an excellent article on adrenal fatigue ;)

  4. *haa aha!* Yeah caffeine, alcohol, chocolate and cigars are my vices... did give em up for a while... (d*mn harder than cocaine I'm sure)