October was a strange month here at Frump Central. Since I know you’re all wondering, here’s what I’ve been doing:
- Trying not to become homicidal in response to political ads on TV;
- Working to get back into prime running shape (and doing quite well, until recently);
- Teaching, grading, and trying to get my semester under control before Seasonal Affective Dysfunction saps my motivation in early November, and;
- Having what I will euphemistically call a cardiac “event” that landed me in the hospital for two days.
As they used to say back in the days of newspapers, I buried the lead, didn’t I?
I don’t need to relay all the details, but suffice it to say that I am fine, and I should continue to be fine. My heart has been looked at from every possible angle, and aside from the one tiny, little spot that rebelled, it looks great. An entire fleet of fairly badass doctors assures me that I should be running again in no time, that my prognosis is excellent, and that, as surprising as my “event” was to all of us, these things do happen.
True, there are some new medications in my life. And the support staff here at Team Frump now includes a cardiologist. But since I already require a hefty crew of professionals to keep me going (hair stylist, personal trainer, and bartender among them), along with a dedicated group of volunteers (friends, parents, brothers, Mr. Frump), what’s one more?
The only problem is that I am — of course — far too young to be relegated to the waiting room in a cardiologists’ office. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. On my first trip there, I did get some curious looks from the other folks waiting. They had been there for quite a while, it appeared, but the mood was surprisingly festive. They all knew each other by first name. Most have already spent quite a few years as patients of this particular cardiologist, whose name — hilariously — suggests incompetence. (Let’s call him “Dr. Quack”).
The woman next to me nudged me shortly after I sat down in the one unoccupied chair. “It’s busy today,” she said. As if I needed further confirmation, she pointed to a gentleman sleeping in the corner. “He’s been here since I arrived.”
I’d been warned that Dr. Q has a reputation for running late because he spends so much time with his patients. But I liked him when he saw me in my local hospital’s emergency room. His early predictions wound up being right on target. And when the time came to transport me to the big city for more sophisticated testing, he made the arrangements to get me into a pretty great hospital. One of the first doctors I saw there said, “I know Dr. Quack. He’s the only guy out there I would trust.”
“Out there” meaning, of course, the barely tamed wilderness in which I live, fifty minutes outside Boston, accessible by three major highways. But we expect a little bit of dismissive hubris from our big city doctors. So if Dr. Q is good enough for him, he’s good enough for me.
But I knew I was in trouble when I read the first of many forms that I was to fill out in Dr. Q’s office — the one I was to bring in to the doctor, outlining the reason for my visit (“Um, because you told me I have to come here?”). About halfway down, it asked this simple question, “What time was your appointment supposed to be?”
Ha ha! Gotta love a specialist with a sense of humor.
And his patients aren’t so shabby, either. When Mr. Sleeping Man’s name was finally called, he raised both arms over his head in a gesture of victory, and then began the slow clap. No, really; he did. Isn’t that awesome? I’ve only met them once, but I kind of love my new cardiac compadres.
“The doctor is so wonderful, we’re all willing to wait,” said the woman next to me, adding, “I just hope I get out of here before dark! I hate to drive in the dark. Do you know what time it gets dark?”
It was barely past three o’clock. This did not bode well. I realized that I might be quite some time in the antechamber of Dr. Q. Helpfully, the waiting room TV blared with an endless stream of infuriating political ads, half of which would have turned me into a cardiac patient by this point if I hadn’t been one already.
But I made it in, eventually, and I was told that everything looked really good, and that some healing was already visible on my ultrasound.
Next week, I go back for a stress test, so that I can begin exercising again. Whoot-whoot! (Fortunately, I’m back at work now, so I can bring plenty of grading to the waiting room with me). If everything looks good, I can start a cardiac rehab program at the hospital. And truth be told, I could probably skip that and just exercise on my own. But since I’m not one for heroics — “chickenshit” is the word that comes to mind — I am happy to be supervised in my exercise. “You’ll definitely be the youngest, best-looking one there,” added Dr. Q.
Well, alrighty then! How many places do I go where that is the case?
And hey — if I’m worried about my long-term security during retirement, what better place to meet a rich, old guy with a bad heart? Mr. Frump will back me up on this, I’m certain.
What I haven’t been doing in these past few weeks is clothes shopping, wardrobe planning, or fashion blogging. I didn’t forget you all, though, especially when I was trying to wrestle myself in and out of various ill-fitting hospital garments. There’s a story to be written there; I’m just not sure what it is.
But don’t worry; things are looking up. Just last week, I attended a political rally (I won’t disclose for whom). In a moment of civic fervor, I put a sticker for this candidate on the lapel of my jacket. My favorite, very best, suede jacket.
Oh, yeah. You know where this is going, don’t you? If you don’t, then you’ve never applied an adhesive to suede. After almost thirty minutes of struggle, I got the sticker off, but a dark, gummy substance remains. A trip to the cleaner is in my future, and if they are not able to repair this, I will be forced to produce a long, rambling, incoherent and extremely spoiled rant about the loss of my best, most valuable item of clothing.
Which is to say: back to normal. Because cardiac events are one thing. But this is suede, people. Let’s put things in perspective.