Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Heart Attack Update: Riding the Iron Rooster
I was great yesterday--I walked around the house 3 times for about 6 minutes each time, did these breathing exercises on the hour like I was supposed to, took it easy all day watching the food channel and poker on TV, but the night was terrible.
I couldn't sleep and there was a lots of pain. I gave up around 3 am and took some oxycodone and started reading Paul Theroux's Riding the Iron Rooster, a book about traveling through China by train in the 1980s.
Theroux is always wonderful. Especially after open heart surgery. There's something about his prose rhythms and the rhythm of the train trips he's describing that inscribes itself on your heart rhythms, no matter how wild and vacillicious they are. And there's wisdom there too.
Here's what he says about traveling to China by railroad:
"Sometimes it seemed like real travel, full of those peculiar discoveries and satisfactions. But more often it was as if I had lost my footing in London and had fallen down a long flight of stairs, perhaps one of those endless staircases designed by a surrealist painter, and down I went, bump-bump-bump, and across the landing, and down again, bump-bump-bump, until I had fallen halfway around the world."
Theroux could be talking about the heart attack I had or didn't have on the ship and the world it opened me up to.
I read Riding the Iron Rooster till about 7 when it was time for my first 10 pills of the day. They almost knocked me out. I started sweating and couldn't stop. Linda helped me to the couch. I lay there for an hour till I stopped sweating finally.