Battling the Beast

So to those who might wonder why a man who is retired would need a vacation, an explanation is perhaps in order for the weeks since I last posted on MTOW.

Generally I resist making a public to-do about my health, knowing that so many – especially anyone as old as I – have problems far more pressing than mine. And as I’ve often acknowledged, I’m healthier at 65 than I deserve to be given my lifelong, headlong pursuit of the fruit off the vine.

Whatever pain and discomfort I might feel these days, I can honestly say I came by honestly.

But the reason I haven’t been writing is that I’m wrestling with this beast in my chest that rears up from time to time and lays me low for days at a time. It’s industrial-strength indigestion, gerd, acid reflux, a problem I’ve battled most of my life that has been getting the best of me these past few weeks.

The first time it hit me full-force, I was convinced it was the big one – the heart attack all people of my age of considerable girth who have lived life to the marrow all but come to expect. Turns out, it was a gas bubble burning a hole in my chest for a good 30-45 minutes before I was able to douse it with antacids and deep belches induced by carbonated soft drinks.

And yes, I’ve had the endoscopy, and yes I’ve had the colonoscopy, and yes I’m taking two different acid blockers and yes I’m sleeping these days with my head elevated. The endoscopy revealed Barrett’s syndrome, which my specialist assured me is usually only fatal when it deteriorates into something worse.

Two of the people I’m closest to have successfully battled esophagus cancer, so I’ve been getting the best of advice from the best of people.

One of the survivors mentioned, tactfully, that one prudent course of action would be to lose weight. So that’s been my overriding goal of the summer, to shed some of these pounds I’ve accumulated over the years.

My new scales bought just for the occasion revealed I’m down about 15 pounds, which is a good start, but hardly the target I’m shooting for.

A great advantage of retirement is that you can set up your days as you wish, without regard for assignments or deadlines. All my life I’ve heard how much wiser it is flip the normal routine, and eat your biggest meal at mid-day and then graze and nibble in the evening. So over the past week to 10 days, that’s what I’ve been doing.

If the coffee I’m tentatively sipping as I write this doesn’t rear up on me, then I can report that the beast, for the past few days, has been held at bay. I’m not ready to celebrate but I am, as the politicians say, cautiously optimistic.

But if you know me, you’ll know that I’ll find a way to have fun regardless of the circumstances. I know very little about soccer – my high school tucked deep in the mountains of North Carolina didn’t offer the sport – but I am really getting off of the color, pageantry and drama of the World Cup. (And yes I’m definitely in high dungeon over Sweden not getting a penalty kick against Germany). There’s something way cool about a world expending its excess energy on rooting for a favorite sports team instead of the killing of fellow human beings.

I would be mentioning how much I’ve enjoyed watching my favorite baseball team, the Chicago Cubs, if it weren’t for the horrendous slump that has befallen Joe and the Boys. Sure the Reds were hot, but yesterday’s loss in the fourth and final game of the sweep was as brutal as I’ve endured this season.

My bride Tybee is a teacher, and thus on vacation herself for the summer. We’re watching a lot TV of the best kind, the fourth season of The Wire (best drama series I’ve ever seen) and the early seasons of Downton Abbey. Tybee never started Downton Abby and I was ready to start again from scratch.

And in case you’re wondering, yes I have been able to muster up enough energy to make it down to Muddy Creek Cafe on Thursday nights for our weekly Open Mics. We had our fourth anniversary earlier this month, and the recent shows have been as memorable as any we’ve ever enjoyed.

The difference is I used to return to the hacienda and keep the good times roaring until the wee hours of the morning. Now I come home and go to bed.

All of which is to say that I’ve felt remiss for leaving my blog unattended these past few weeks and there’s few things in the world I hate worse than to be remiss. So there you have it, and hopefully, if the beast can be kept at bay, I’ll be back in days to come with My Take on Whatever.

7 thoughts on “Battling the Beast

    1. Country!
      Hope you lose those lbs. I’ve been doing the meal routine you mentioned for over ten years. Works well and helps keep the pounds off. Problem, when you go on vacation and may have to adjust your schedule, takes a while to resume the prior routine. Let’s face it, getting old is not good!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I was diagnosed with Barretts Esophagus probably 15-17 years ago. I swallow the scope every 2-3 years and live on omeprazole. Fortunately, mine also shows no signs of dysplasia which is what causes things to get dicey. Anyway, one suggestion – if you have a particularly bad attack, swallow a bit of apple cider vinegar. I know that’s counter-intuitive, to use acid to fight acid, but I swear, it works (at least for me). You will hate yourself for 4 or 5 seconds while the vinegar is going down, but it should calm things down quickly.


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