By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
On Turning 49 & My Right Eye: Part II
It’s not much of a landmark, 49.
But it has been an interesting year and I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while.
Back in June, I wrote about my right eye getting punched by my son and messing with my vision. Eventually, this led to an ophthalmologist wanting to put yellow dye in my veins so he could see the detail of blood flow in my eye. And when his assistant took my blood pressure in a routine, pre-precedure way, we all got a surprise to find that I was feeling fine and my blood pressure was at 250/150.
A quick trip to the Cedar-Sinai emergency room led to a series of tests, a new addition to my life (a daily pill), and a period of anxiety as my wife and I investigated all the particulars on our own. (Note: Doctors prefer you don’t self-diagnose on the internet.)
Now I have a cardiologist, who thankfully found a fully operational, unthreatened heart beating in my chest. (I know… some of you are amazed that there was one.) It’s a very interesting moment to watch your own heart beating in an ultrasound.
I also have healthy kidneys, liver, and lungs… no diabetes issues… slightly high cholesterol… a bit too much meat on these 49-year-old bones… and my eyes are working pretty much back as they were before this all started. And the best news is that my couple-times-a-week headaches have completely vanished since we started treating the high blood pressure.
And here is the real reason for telling you this story. If you are anything like me, going years on end without seeing a doctor, even with health insurance, you should go for a basic check-up, at least. They call high blood pressure “the silent killer.” And mine, with no apparent symptoms aside from the ongoing but mostly improved eye issues that started with a punch to the eye, was crazy high… dangerously, heart attack-y, stroke-y high. In my case, it probably would have been a stroke, as my heart had adjusted to the additional pressure without any damage being done.
I don’t like going to doctors because I feel like they are often upsellers. If they see any reason, all of a sudden you’re taking pills and getting procedures. I know I am not alone in that feeling. But if my son hadn’t punched me in the eye and a series of doctors hadn’t given me good care, I might well have had a stroke this summer. At 48.
The alternative… the reality… is that I feel better, I know what the condition of my organs is, and I can worry a little less about being a burden on my wife and child at a relatively young age (or just dying, for that matter). The only thing that is really left on the Turning 50 list is a colonoscopy and while I am in no rush, I do know now that I will feel better when I know that the mechanics have been under the hood.
So I urge any of you reading this who are putting off that trip to the doctor to get the check-up… even if you are young like I was just a year ago. I wasn’t feeling ill. I wasn’t uncomfortable. I did have those occasional headaches, which I thought were sinus-related (not so much). But aside from knowing that I was carrying around at least 10% more weight than I should have been on this frame, my health was a non-issue. But I was wrong about that. And now, all those healthy parts that kept me from suffering in any noticeable way while I had seriously high blood pressure are still healthy and the blood pressure is under control.
Health threats and birthdays tend to focus people. And it has done so for me. DP/30, as you know all too well, is the thing I hold dearest in terms of work these days. And I am pretty sure we will be attempting a modest Kickstarter campaign in the next short while to make improvements to the show. After a lot of consideration, I still love a lot about how the show works, but I want better images, better sound, and better lighting. Over these last 5 years or so, I’ve evolved from stumbling onto something cool and new, to getting pretty good at doing both the interviews and the rapid set-ups, to being professional about it, to now feeling a responsibility to both myself, the talent, and the show itself, to make it of a production quality that can stand with any taped interviews on or off the web.
I also want to get back to writing more, though I have to say, in the current era of movie/tv media, it’s hard to get past The Bubble. I don’t want to spend a lot of time reflecting on the reflections of others. But it gets more difficult every day. As the quality and depth of content continues to degrade (with exceptions, obviously), the social event of a movie or TV show becomes more an more gladiatorial. I don’t mind fighting, but I don’t have any urge to fight about personalities… mine or anyone else’s. Over the years, I have had more than my share of presuming what someone thinks because they wrote this or that. And I do think there are moments of groupthink and trends that eat real thought.
No group is more hypersensitive than journalists… and especially critics. But I am interested in the ideas that are being spread in our world. I could not care any less about who is spreading them… though those with more clout have the potential to do more damage with misleading, lazy ideas. And not coincidentally, those who see themselves as having more clout also tend to be those who often see their impulsive, under-reported ideas as being above reproach.
Anyway… the stakes are getting lower and lower and the loudness required to be heard is getting higher and higher and, while I am a sucker for these fights sometime, they usually leave me heartsick. I am not shy about saying what I think and speaking your mind publicly is not a game for wimps. But the list of people I really disrespect is short… even if the list of people who think I don’t respect them enough seems rather long. The vast majority of time, when I disagree with someone else’s perspective, I just disagree. It’s not personal. And I love a good fight about issues… not about personalities. I am not even that hard to persuade to change my perspective… if there are facts and ideas that carry the day. Just because I find one thing in an article offensively misleading doesn’t mean I hate the author nor the other 90% of an article. But, you know… people…
Twitter has become my 1st outlet, really, as I find the issues worth discussing smaller and smaller… small enough for 140 or 280 characters. This is conscious on my part. Just because I can write 800 words on something doesn’t mean that I need to write 800 words. And as the importance of so much of this seems to shrink in a sea of opinions from EVERYONE, my tolerance for reading myself drone on about some of my pet issues has diminished as well.
I am unrested, tan, and ready. And every day, I am happy to see what’s next.