Saturday, December 26, 2009

Troubleshooting Illness

It seems that the mind becomes reluctant when the body loses its vigor. Thoughts seem as petered out as does the body after a short walk up and down the hallway. I've signed away my privacy as regards DNA testing for propensity for clotting, and vaguely wonder how this can and will be used against me. I wonder vaguely if concern for me as a class of human being will ever have any hope to overcome the lucid arguments made on my behalf by highly lucrative insurance, drug and medical technology interests which have my representatives' ears.

The troubleshooting seems solid, and on the side of being sick, I'm glad they know just what to do to maximize my odds for getting better. The signature also commits only to probabilities, that nothing's perfect, and that they might think I should when I shouldn't take various medications to thin my blood forever. I wonder which side the money's on. Yeah, well.

But I'm not all that cynical or even skeptical about the process. I've spent a long career troubleshooting computer problems, and the process strikes me as more similar than I might wish. You have a pretty good theory formed, of which a good chunk is always the aptitude and patience quotient of the person behind the keyboard. They look you in the eye for earnest answers to what might be wrong, and you try to mask your certainty that among the things wrong is that they think the computer is some strange and mysterious collection of complex systems beyond their understanding.

And you retain a kind of reluctance to let them know they're mostly right; that complexity when it multiplies goes right out of control very quickly. And least beyond the troubleshooting steps which isolating variables can uncover. The only choice is to control the variables on the way in, which makes you a kind of adversary of the "user."

I always want to form a picture in my head of how this sudden collapse of lung capacity might relate to the gradual but decisive reduction which occurred across the years of growing old and getting fat from too much work and driving; and from breaking a leg and tearing a calf muscle.

Where does the balance fall, I want to know, between the heart and the other parts, or is it all just a big continuum. I have this vague mental image of clots - just generalized clotting, a kind of restriction of the flow, maybe combined with loss of flexibility, so that after a while, if I'm doing something stressful, I get out of breath, but if I give my body time to catch up with aerobic ambitions, then I breath just fine.

I pictured my lungs contracting in the severe cold the other day, and that was just fine for an explanation of my more severe loss of breath; that and the fact that I was keeping up with my much better conditioned brother-in-law. Then the next day, after climbing a flight of stairs, I'm on the floor, and in the ambulance, but it feels like the same old same old, and it's just a little hard for me to credit a little clot. Punctuation to a process which had been going on for years and years.

But I guess with complex systems, any little thing can set the whole out of whack and into some sort of downward spiral. I just want to know what I should do now that isn't more slow waiting for some kind of ticking time bomb.

And I wonder where it all must end. So long as everyone's in on the game, house prices rising, insurance through the job, then the only ones who really get hurt are the ones who aren't in on it. I just don't have a whole lot of faith that things will keep getting better and better. That feels to me like a lot of justification to advertise new products and new hopes sold against your fears.

The problem I had is pretty high profile among the life threatening issues which land people in the hospital, and I hate to say it but it really doesn't seem like the high tech is a big part of my solution. I feel like I'm dealing with a basic ring job which doesn't have a whole lot to do with electronic sensors or feedback loops. I feel like I need to do more walking and less sitting, and maybe tweak my diet a little bit more.

Last time this happened on Christmas Eve, I could justify some vague sense that it was all my fault. That I had indulged too much stress trying to save an already bankrupt school, had internalized far too much rage and that quenching it with alcohol was really not a great idea. They yanked my appendix, and I was left with the poetic diagnosis; the one which still had the most credibility.

This time, who knows? It seems like the whole system is out of whack and I don't have any implication in it at all. It could have happened to anyone, despite what they might tell me about my genetic deficiencies.

It's the way I feel about everything, but I'll be the first to admit I'm in a compromised state of mind. We shouldn't be focused so much on the specific cause. We should be a little bit more focused on the systemic issues. The escalating state of getting more and mine. The evident fact which my roommate and I and every roommate I've ever had in the entire history of time, that the things which really count can't be counted.

I made several circuits of the hallway just now, and I feel only as though I've run half a marathon, so I must be getting better.

No comments: