The Crone

Stayin' Alive

To be cliche, everything changes in the blink of an eye, or rather the flutter of a heartbeat.

Last weekend my plan was to go to CONvergence in Minneapolis, MN, and wear my Queen Hippolyta suit with another good friend, crone-in-training Lisa. We were going to take photos, post one of them here, post a gallery for those who wanted to subscribe, and measure the reaction among fans of two older women being powerful.

INSTEAD…

I spent my time in Minneapolis in the hospital, getting tested. Good news: my heart and circulatory systems were so clean and well maintained I got a rainbow sticker and got booted off precautionary low dose aspirin. When your system is this good, said the doctor, don’t do anything that might mess it up at all.

Bad news: while I was working out last Monday, I had a heart flutter. When I went for a stress test Wednesday, there was an irregularity. I was cleared to go on the trip, but had issues while there. Long and short, I have a heart arrhythmia. Sometime soon, I am going to get an Electrophysiology Study. They are going to try unplugging me and then plugging me back in. Until then, I am wearing a Zoll Life Vest (salute to the nice people at Zoll), taking some new meds, and am exiled from weight lifting and walking.

So it goes. This is NOT an old person problem. This is an electrical short which can happen to anyone. A friend of mine once drank a really cold drink too quickly and sent himself into arrhythmia when he was in his 30s. That little stunt cost him two years of cardiology appointments.

What happened? Well, this can be totally random, but I suspect (and so do the doctors) that it is stress-related. It has been a horrible summer. You already know about the death of my mother-in-law Phyllis. We moved our much-needed Disney vacation into July. Then my wonderful friend Chris Cornell died. He was one quarter of the Unreliable Narrators, a podcast I have been part of for the last two and a half years. As hard as it was to lose Phyllis, it was harder to lose Chris, who was part of my life almost constantly, although he lived in California. Hers was the life well-lived, ended by the lingering death of Alzheimer’s. His was the life cut short, by a possible heat stroke or heart attack on a 100 degree California day. Both of those deaths meant June was a lost time of grief. I took a lot of trips to the gym. A lot of trips. And I cried, a lot.

I thought I had it under control, expressing my emotions, releasing my stress, and trying to carry on. However, it looks like maybe not. Sometimes times of extreme stress can result in this kind of thing. We’ll never know, but people like stories, don’t they? Doctors have a real similarity to us authors.

I’m still going to write the Crone, and comment on crone life (like thug life, only with more gray hair). I can see some reality show sized hospital bills in my future, so I’m not as likely to model as much new fashion and costumes as I want, inasmuch as it involves purchases. As soon as I am able, Lisa and I are still going to take some Hippolyta and Antiope pictures. I also intend to raid my closet and see what’s in there, and I may go back to active thrifting.

The summer of 2019 is officially the worst summer I have ever had. Its competitor was 1993, but that had one death and job loss. It’s official: two deaths, my own mortality, one canceled trip to Brazil, and most likely two canceled trips to Disney World. Don’t feel sorry for me. I am still alive, I have beautiful, wonderful friends, and so far, this has been exactly the life I wanted. I just want some more, is all. Life changes all the time. We change with it.

Harumph. Headshake. In a couple of weeks, I’m going to talk about taking care of your body as you age. Because hey, I got an A on my heart report card, and you might want to hear about some hot tips in that regard from a woman who is 54. We might begin a nutrition journey, as I can no longer exercise and need to make sure I maintain my not too outrageously low weight.

In the meanwhile, YOU stay out of the hospital, take good care of yourself, hug your loved ones, and find ways to be age inappropriate. I need to live vicariously through and with you.