Saturday, February 24, 2024

Making Sense Of My Own "Great Reset"

We're all familiar with the term "Great Reset"  of "Great Reset Initiative" and its implied meaning being distilled down to "owning nothing and being happy". The concept, first introduced in June 2020 by World Economic Forum chairperson, Klaus Schwab, is intended to be a "reboot" of society through euphemistic slogans as "responsible" or "measured" capitalism which sounds an awful lot to me as another version of a kinder and gentler form of fascism.

Taking the term at its generally accepted meaning, we can define "Great Reboot" as a momentary shutdown and startup of any system. Accordingly, I guess now if as good as time to discuss my  personal reboot", but first I'd like make mention of a caveat. I typically don't discuss personal matters outside a very small clique of family and very close friends. 

I know Millennials and Gen Z don't have any qualms with sharing damn near anything about themselves for the price of a10% discount on some fountain drink at the nearest gas station (and sometimes, not even that). I guess in this age of rapidly vanishing privacy, I don't want to contribute to the uploading of my data to some sort of "permanent file in the cloud".  So, with that said, let us begin.

On any given day I'm nose deep in researching one topic or another in order to ensure my articles are as timely, accurate, and balanced as possible. But, I do come for air from time to time. January 28, 2024 was one such night. After a day of watching political and historical videos, reading countless economic articles and so forth, I decided it was time for a break. So, roughly around 8:00 PM I decided to call it quits for the day.

So I meandered into the living room  to watch some mostly mind numbing chatter on the aptly named "idiot box" with my wife.  I don't really recall what we watched, but I suspect whatever it was, it was on history, science, or documentary channels. Since retiring in 2013, we don't have any set bedtime. It mostly depends on what's on TV and how tired we were. Nevertheless, I was about 1:00 when we decided to call it a night.

After going through all the usual nighttime rituals, I was back in the bedroom and preparing to put my pajama bottoms on when I heard what sounded for the world like a faint or distant ringing of church bells. I paused to listen, but assuming it was my imagination, decided to continued getting my jammies on. But as did, I heard another set of church bells ringing off in the distance.  I listened a little more intently, but again, was unable to find a source.

Finally, as I finished getting ready for bed, I heard a third set church bells! Just as distant and faint as the others. This time I went throughout the house looking for the origin of this mysterious ringing.  Nothing. Everything was off and ints place. As we are pretty rural, there's no churches closest enough to be responsible. Chalking up to just being tired , I hopped into bed for what I hoped would be some restful sleep. I couldn't have been more wrong.

I don't know what it was that so abruptly woke me up but there I was... unquestionably wide awake. As I lay there trying to come to terms with the situation, it dawned on me that I was on my back spread eagle. Since I normally sleep on my side or stomach, I found this rather disconcerting. What's more was the sensation that I was sinking through the bed as if my mattress had become quicksand.

Needless to say, I sat up in a instant wondering what was going. As I sat there in the dark, looking around.  I listened for any kind of sound that would clue me in on what had happened and what seems to still be happening. After about a minute or two, I headed off to the restroom (why waste the opportunity right?) and then into the kitchen for a sip of water.

As I walked down the hall and into the kitchen , I sensed something that felt like  a finger lightly pressing on an area about 3 inches in from my left shoulder. It wasn't painful. There was no discomfort. It was, as I said, "as if "someone was gently but firmly touching me with the finger.  I felt no pain in my arms, legs, or neck. No headache. No shortness of breath. Nothing which seemed to be an obvious clue. If what I thought was happening was actually happening, then it hadn't given me any clue. No warning shot over the bow.

While in the kitchen, I got my sip of water. I looked outside to make sure everything was okay. I wondered into the living room. Nothing seemed out of order. At that point, I decided I'd go back to bed. As I walked back down the hallway, that curious pressure point seemed to get slowly more intense, but at this point it was little more than a minor irritant. 

Once I made it back to the bed, I sat there on the edge trying to make some sense of what was going on. My brain was running over every possible scenario at lightning speed. So, I slowly got back into bed....for all of about two seconds! The situation suddenly took a turn for the worse. As soon as laid down there was an overwhelming need to set back up instantly. I can't quiet explain it, but it was more like being pulled or pushed up. At that point things started happening quickly in my mind.

In a fast walk I headed into the kitchen again, turning on the light and reaching up to where I keep my 81 mg aspirin.  I've been taking an 81 mg aspirin for decades on the advice of my primary care physician as form of preventative medicine. I've always preferred a preemptive approach now rather than chasing symptoms later.

As soon as I swallowed the aspirin, I headed back down the hall and urgently told my wife that she needed to get up and get dress. I added that I thought we were going to be taking a "road trip" real quick. I added that I'll call 911, but before I did that, I grabbed a bottle of Nitroglycerin tablets which one of my doctors had prescribed for me as a afterthought following a regular visit. I'm glad he did! 

As soon as the grayish-blue pill dissolved under my tongue, I called 911. As I started to speak I quickly noticed something utterly terrifying. I couldn't speak, at least properly. It was as if I had an intense stutter. I was having to focus on every word and then every syllable. I forced myself to speak slow and deliberate so the 911 operator could understand me. However, apparently the lack of understanding wasn't on my end.

Once the emergency operator answered, I slowly gave her my name, my address, my phone number and describe to her as best as I could, the essential details. Apparently that caused a problem. Eventually this operation used a script and absolutely wouldn't deviate from it, meaning I was having to repeat each increasingly difficult word over and over. 

I could feel my frustration mount. I kept thinking 
if she'd just shut up and listen to me"! After what felt like an eternity, I got her to confirm that EMS had been dispatched. Whatever else she had to say was of no importance to me at that point.

At about fifteen minutes after my 911 phone call, an ambulance and fire truck arrived. The crew was very responsive, however, from my perspective they didn't seem to be in as much as hurry as I was! It was during this medical version of "20 Questions" that I noticed that my speech wasn't getting better and to add to the chaos, my left arm was violently shaking, and nothing I did could stop it. I also had sweat pouring down from my forehead. Folks, although I remained quiet calm, I was feeling pretty rough. After taking a EKG, it was decided that a hospital trip was in order.

I asked my wife to make sure she had all the insurance information, which we tend to keep centrally located. I asked to her call my mum and let her know what was happening. She would have to come and get my wife before they could head on over to the hospital. 

Meanwhile, since EMS couldn't get their gurney past our entrance way, I had to walk down the steps and get on the gurney while wearing a pair of pajama bottoms and a sleeveless T-shirt. Oh did I mention it was 35 degrees? I ended up requesting a warm blanket several times. As it turned out they didn't have any warm blankets available so I had to make due with a couple of sheets! I remember feeling to desperately cold. 

Once loaded, I was hooked up to another EKG machine and a few other devises to monitor my pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen. After what felt like an eternity (which in truth was about 10 minutes), we were off for a very bumpy ride to Audubon Hospital. Meanwhile, my stuttering speech pattern and badly quivering left arm continued. Despite being in the back of an ambulance,  I wasn't feeling any easier about this.

Once arriving at the Emergency room, I found myself waiting another 15 minutes or so before I could be checked in and given a room. The reason for the delay, apparently, was due to nursing shortages. Not surprising since the American healthcare system is ranked last among industrialize nations.

From that point forward, it seems that I had been transformed a pin cushion with dozens of viales of blood having been taken every few hours along with repeated chest x-rays, EKGs, MRI, CT, and coronary calcium  scan.  By the time I was released about two weeks later, I had over 190 test performed. 

Everyone who attended me in ER was wonderful. They all exhibited a tremendous amour of compassion and professionalism (except the ER doctor. He never bothered to come in a see me. For updates I had to depended on one of the ER nurses).

Little by little a cardio team of specialists began to form around me. Each bringing their own unique expertise and carefully explaining what their role was going to be. Finally, I met the chief cardiovascular surgeon. He looked more like "Doogie Howser" rather than someone who had been doing this for decades already.  Quite intelligent, and unlike most doctors anymore, he had a great bedside manner and took his time making sure everyone understood what was going on.   

Five days after arriving in the emergency room, I underwent a triple heart bypass surgery (what they call a "three cabbage". The surgery last just over five hours, which must have nearly unbearable for my wife, sister, mum and her boyfriend. The doctors, nurses, and staff were absolutely wonderful in keeping everyone informed, and their follow up care.

The kicker, if there was one, was being informed that my prognosis going in wasn't good. I had what was known a "widow-maker" with three totally blocked arteries, which has only a 12% survivability rate if treated immediately. The good news was that the survivability of a triple bypass is 97% 20 years out from the procedure. Most people, as my cardio team said, would never have call 911 because the symptoms were so mild as to be easily ignored. Most too wouldn't have thought of taking a 81% aspirin and/or taking a Nitroglycerin  tablet. Those individuals sadly would have become statistics.

So, my "Great Reset" now begins. I will embark on a 36 cardio rehab session. There will be modifications of pretty much everything, from diet to stress to regular exercise and weight control. Fortunately, most of these aren't an issue for me. I've always tended to eat, exercise, maintain a good weight, and so on, but there's always something new you can learn.

I hope none of you will need to face your "Great Reset",  but statistically you will.  Each year, over 850,000 Americans have a heart attack, the highest of any industrialized nation. That's one every 40 seconds.  I strongly urge you not to ignore any signs your body gives you no matter how subtle. Get annual physicals, including a stress test.  Regularly check your blood pressure. Try to eat as healthy as possible. It's not always easy or convenient, but try to work something healthy into you daily diet. Keep your weight under control.  

Be sure to exercise, even if it's only going for a daily walk around the block. You can easily buy used gym equipment online cheap so you can work out whenever you're really. Lastly, consider getting healthcare DNA test done. I've done a couple and found them both very useful and entertaining. Family Tree DNA looks at 30 factors affecting your overall health. Armed with this data, it gives you a chance to anticipate  some future health issue and do something about it now.

Another terrific testing company is Ancestry which looks a various traits you've inherited. Both of these sites, FTDNA and Ancestry, give you a starting place to build your health line of defense. As an aside, there is another company, 23&Me, which offers a health and trait tests. While I did one of their tests, I was thoroughly disappointed. The information was inaccurate to the point of being unusable so I can't recommend them. 

To be forewarned is to be forearmed Take charge of your personal "Great Reset". Don't leave it to chance. 


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Widowmaker Heart Attack


The Widow Maker: Each Passing Moment Is Taking Away

Dangers of a Silent Heart Attack

Coronary bypass surgery

U.S. Ranks Last Among Seven Countries Healthcare SystemPerformance Measures

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