Since the rumors are already rampant, allow me to, in my usual blunt fashion, let everyone know that:

  • Yes, I was admitted Thursday evening with a mild heart condition.
  • Quite obviously so, I am still very much alive. Whoever has a problem with that ought to call their bookie and ask for their money back.
  • Although I appreciate your attention, I am not particularly interested in having more mail to go through right now (the spam that .Mac lets through without any sort of filtering whatsoever is aggravation enough, thank you).

To cut a long story short, I have been feeling extremely tired and stressed of late, even more than what has been usual for the past, oh, two years or so. After arriving home on Thursday I noticed a very quick and irregular heart beat, kept my wits together, called my wife and waited a few minutes until she could drive me to the clinic.

I walked in, went through triage, caused a few eyebrows to be raised, and spent the night in the OR with a mildly unnerving heart monitor that bleeped whenever my heart skipped a beat (which was, in retrospect, not the cleverest piece of medical UI design I have come across).

I also made friends with a couple of tubes piping amiodarone and whatnot into my veins, imbibed an amount of potassium deemed suitable enough for the jackass that I have been, and tottered out the next morning after a very poor night's sleep carrying two electrodes (they let me take them off myself, but I was sleepy and it seems there was enough concern to justify dabbing two extra in the first place), a prescription for three different pills and three likely causes:

  • Too much accumulated stress ("surely, sire, you jest?").
  • My not having had a proper lunch on Thursday (at least).
  • A moderate chemical imbalance (i.e., lack of potassium) due to both of the above.

4AM is an excellent time for mulling whatever troubles happen to be ailing you (including scratchy electrodes and dosimeters that keep getting entangled in the bed covering), and so in between catnaps and bouts of beeping I have made a number of resolutions that range from grinding my Blackberry to a pulp (in a casual, relaxed way, of course) to becoming a turnip farmer.

I also had time to appreciate the irony of several aspects of my predicament:

  • Despite having a company-issued car, I don't drive. I can drive, but the main reason I haven't driven for years is that I never wanted to cope with the added stress of both driving and having to put up with something I never wanted in the first place on top of the rest I get from just doing my job. Fat lot of good that did me.
  • In any corporate event, I am usually the guy making a beeline for the salad buffet, combining the vegetarian menu with a proper, omnivorous-sized dose of meat or daintily picking off the best pineapple slices. I guess I'll have to switch to kiwis.
  • There was one of those (usually rather pointless) workshops on "stress in the workplace" in my company auditorium - that very same Thursday afternoon.

In the meantime, after spending the day dozing on and off on my couch surrounded by books, I have independently confirmed that even turnip farmers have mobile phones, that tenure at an university entails going through the trouble of writing at least one PhD thesis on a more sparse (and probably riskier) diet at a mangy college cafeteria, and that there is no sensible reason for me to suddenly go off on a cruise around the world.

I have, nevertheless, decided to stick to a couple of the other resolutions, one of which is to continue being my insufferable self for as long as modern medicine can sustain me, even if this turns out to be a one-off and they do not have to work particularly hard at doing so.

I must say that watching Dr. House has lost a bit of its usual shine, though.

Oh, and did I mention I redirected all site comments to /dev/null?