Heartbreaking News In The Cardiologist’s Office

Norman Rockwell's "Doctor and Doll"

Norman Rockwell’s “Doctor and Doll”

The dreadful, shocking news I received at the cardiologist’s office on Monday morning left me a sobbing mess for most of the day.  As you may recall from my last post, I recently visited my Primary Care physician to get his take on the problems I experienced during a recent bike ride.  After a thorough checkup, he referred me to the cardiologist, and stressed that I needed to set up a follow-up appointment to see him immediately after the referral visit.   I remember thanking him and saying “good bye, see you again soon” and, at that moment, putting my finger on one of his attributes that I found so refreshingly  quaint:  he was dressed in one of those zip-off hiking pants/shorts and was wearing a casual polo shirt.  I’ve seen plenty of pretentious doctors  during my life; he was the first doctor who actually listened to me, who was humble almost to a fault.  Thoughts of him stir visions of an old-fashioned doctor in a Normal Rockwell painting, although “youthful and in-touch” would represent his persona just as accurately.  I would have never guessed that this “good-bye” would be the very last. Continue reading

The Bike Ride That Took My Breath Away

my-bike

I’ve mentioned previously that I enjoy cycling.  StarMan and I have been trying to do more riding lately, to whip our lumpy bodies back into shape.  Last Saturday, we rolled out onto the streets much later in the day than planned, in the peak heat of the day.  On top of the high temperature (about 97 degrees F), the bike route we picked was fully exposed to the sun without any redeeming shade, and involved a fairly steep ascent up a mountain.  I’ve ridden this route many times before, without problem, but never in this kind of heat.  I’m not sure what kind of stupid convinced us that the ride was going to be peachy, but I’ll blame it on our frequently watching all those hardcore bodies in the Tour de France, who make cycling up mountains look like child’s play.  Well, this ride was only the second in my life that I didn’t finish. Continue reading

Killer Rocks

One of the aspects of my career as a professional astronomer that has always bothered me is that, well, I’ve chosen a kind of ….  selfish profession.  Oh sure, astronomers try to rationalize their line of work by making claims that technological advancements that further the study of the stars also end up in our homes and enhance our lives, or that such research provides much-needed perspective to the world at-large and underscores the fact  that we are but a fragile island of humanity living on this small rock, promoting the cause of peace and good-will and satisfying humankind’s innate thirst for knowledge and exploration.  All the above sounds good, and indeed I’ve likely been guilty of making similar arguments, but honestly?  Astronomy, along with a few other pure research science fields, really is about the joy of discovery and desire to know more about the Universe. If one has a strong need to “save the world” or promote world peace,  then astronomy is probably not the profession for you.  Or so I thought, until a few weeks ago.  Continue reading

Sometimes the MiSery is Not MS

Over the past year or so, I’ve joined several MS Facebook groups, mostly out of curiosity regarding what MS “looks like” in other folks, in hopes of getting some needed perspective.  In some cases, the collective advice and wisdom have been somewhat helpful. On the flip-side, I have also noticed an alarming tendency to attribute every ache and problem under the Sun to MS.  At one point, I was even advised by a member of one of these groups to “just blame everything on MS because it’s easier that way”.   Maybe, but the scientist in me ain’t buying it.  Even more importantly, sweeping everything under the “MS rug” has the potential for doing considerable harm. Take my hand, for instance…

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My Right Hand Just Ain’t Right

I’ve learned 2 things this week:  (1) There is something wrong with my right arm and hand, and (2) I can be surprisingly ambidextrous when the situation demands (evidence: see sad hand below).   The problem — a brand new one — came on very suddenly about 3 weeks ago.  I suddenly started having serious pain in my arm, the area between my wrist and my elbow.  The pain was a deep-down throbbing kind of pain, which I would feel most strongly at night.    In the morning, that pain would shift position and concentrate in, of all places, the back of my hand.  My arm was also as weak as a kitten. Then for a couple of days, all seemed OK again.  And now, things are back to being not OK.

sadhand

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