Big Fat Queer

September 24, 2010

The Isotopes Have It!

I heard from my doctor’s office this afternoon and the results of my stress test show a normal, healthy heart and coronary arteries. The last test I had showed what might have been early ischemia (restriction of blood supply) in one artery, or it might have been a flaw in the test result. I went on imdur, a nitrate, for a while, but it gave me a severe headache so I stopped. My doctor has been after me for a year to have another test and this past Monday and Tuesday I finally had a very thorough nuclear stress test at Columbia University Hospital with state of the art procedures and equipment. The image above shows the type of scan results they get and I don’t have a damn idea whether this shows a healthy heart or not. I’m going to see if I can get a copy of mine.

Because of the last results and my doctor’s concern I was a anxious for the last week or so, but now I can heave a great sigh of relief. The last couple of days I have taken it easy, though my food intake has not been too bad. I did have a couple of Pinkberrys (love that stuff), but meals have been fairly healthy. I think for the first couple of days I overdid the activity considering the stress of testing and the various things injected in my bloodstream. Sometimes I deal with anxiety by being very active (or eating). By Wednesday I was exhausted.

Tonight I am going to celebrate by eating some good animal fat. Tomorrow back to healthy food and I plan to get out and walk. It should be a nice weekend.

Oh, and I want to thank my parents for giving me good genes. For a fat guy I have really low cholesterol (113 about a month ago). That’s probably the main reason the results were good.

September 20, 2010

The Anxiety Chronicles: Take Two

I had my nuclear stress test today. My attitude had gone from fear of having to be “cracked open” on the spot to the cocky idea that I had perfect arteries with no problems whatsoever. Intellectually I think I am a moderate; emotionally obviously I’m an extremist. I should pay more attention to my head and not my heart (pardon the pun).

I arrived on time, having had about 18 hours of sleep in the preceeding 36. I had no caffeine for 48 hours, so I was sleepy alot. I had some anxiety, of course, but I kept it together and tried to be funny and charming. Since I am neither rich or good looking that’s all I have. The supervising physician was Dr. Einstein, which was reassuring. I forgot the name of the resident who did the actual test, but he was young, handsome, funny and charming. He probably will eventually be rich, so he has it all.

By the way, the view from the testing room was lovely, the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge. Columbia Presbyterian Hospital is way up on the west side of Manhattan near the bridge. There were two testing bays side by side with a half wall between. The staff from both bays were making jokes back and forth as co-workers will do. They were all excited about a patient earlier this morning who collapsed on the treadmill. They kept talking about “cabbage”, and Dr. Einstein said the patient would be in the O.R. within the hour. My Doctor kidded with them to stop scaring his patient (me). Then he told me they only have about one of these patients a year and since they had met their quota, I was safe. During lunch I looked up cabbage in a cardiology context and it is slang for Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (cabg). So the preceding patient did have to be “cracked open” immediately. I hope his surgery went well.

The handsome, funny, charming and soon to be rich Doctor decided that because of my weight it would be better to do a pharmacological stress test rather than on the treadmill. I was injected with adenosine, which increases the heart rate and blood flow and puts stress on the heart similar to exercise. I felt like I was being inflated and it created some tightness and pain in the chest. I was also very flush and my heart was racing. All along, though, the Doctor kept telling me that my electrocardiogram was perfectly normal. So the stress portion of the test was fine. Before I got off the table I was injected with some radiotracer so that my artery walls would show up on a gamma camera.

I then had a 90 minute break to get some lunch, take my meds and get coffee. The restaurant choices near the hospital are not so great. I went to a diner and the food others were having didn’t look so good, so I had eggs and toast. It’s hard to screw up eggs and toast. The coffee was swill, but I was grateful for caffeine so I didn’t complain.

I went back and had the gamma scan. Actually it was a combination CAT scan and gamma camera scan. Afterwards I waited 15 minutes to see if I needed to come back. I had been told by my Doctor’s office that I might have to go back the next day for another scan, depending on what Dr. Einstein saw in the first one. I was hoping not to have to go back for two reasons: one, it’s inconvenient. Two: If I had to have a second scan, then everything must not have been perfect in the first. That is an assumption I am making. In reading material on the web, it is not unusual to have two scans, and I recall in the past having a scan at rest before the stress portion. But still I am thinking in the back of my mind there was some anomaly that needs to be checked out.

The thought of going back and not knowing for what made me suddenly depressed. I hate not knowing anything and nobody will tell you anything. I have to wait to hear from my doctor. I didn’t want to sit and brood and build up anxiety, so I did what I usually do to take my mind off things. I took a camera and went downtown. I shot some more footage for my river project. Also, on Saturday while I was shooting I got some good footage of helicopters taking off and landing across the river from Brooklyn. I decided that I would do an ancillary project about helicopters, so today I went to the helipad and shot some close up action. The heliport is very busy and I’m surprised they don’t have more accidents.

I also got some great river shots. I’m including a rough cut of some raw footage I took. No color correction or sound editing, just raw clips. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I have hours of stuff, but I thought I’d give you a taste. Anyway, after shooting I feel better. I still have qualms and want to get all of the information, but in due time. Wish me luck. In addition to my stress test, I walked between 3.5 and 4 miles today. Something must be working right.

On the way home I had a tuna salad sandwich on rye. I bought some Pinkberry yogurt that I’ll have after I post this.

September 18, 2010

Pre-Stress Test



NY Harbor, originally uploaded by FantasticBabblings.

Monday I finally have my stress test at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, who claims to have a scanner that will accommodate a 430 pound body. Since mine is considerably less than that, I should fit – and still be in Manhattan, but just barely. I do wonder though how they come up with a number like 430, when the circumference of a 430 pound human can vary depending on height. In any event, I should fit.

When the test was first scheduled, or at last re-scheduled, I had a nightmare that I would be told after the test that they must crack open my chest immediately and do dastardly things to my innards. I really don’t have time for that foolishness. But it did feed some anxiety about the test. But by the week’s end I was feeling cocky that everything would be fine. At least good enough not to require any immediate surgery. I am a bit scalpel-phobic.

So today I put my heart to a little bit of stress to reassure myself. I walked four miles, most of it at a fairly brisk pace, a good mile or so uphill, and I had no chest pains, no shortness of breath and I do not feel fatigued, but rather invigorated. My poor ankle joints are a bit strained, but if you had to carry that weight you would too.

I did errands this morning and walked about a mile in the neighborhood. During my errands I ate at a diner, having eggs and sausage. I also had potatoes, which I usually eschew, because I knew I was going to be doing a lot of walking. I injected insulin, but I thought I compensated for the exercise. Then I took a subway to Brooklyn Heights to go to the promenade to shoot footage for my river project. I’m including the Harbor as well.

After Brooklyn Heights I intended to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan. You get a much better view walking towards Manhattan rather than from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I got about a quarter mile up the ramp to the bridge and started feeling a little wobbly. I tested my blood sugar and it was 110. I ate my emergency Snickers and walked a bit more, but still didn’t feel too strong. I tested my blood sugar again and it was 98, still going down despite the candy bar. I didn’t think it wise to continue as on the bridge there is no place to get anything sweet to eat or drink and I was also feeling a little dehydrated. So I re-traced my steps back to the entrance to the ramp where there is a diner and I sat for a while and had a grilled cheese sandwich with a Pepsi (a rather flat Pepsi, but it had sugar). After resting and getting some carbs I felt fine to continue on. So I did and completed the trip across with no problems. I got some really good footage and a few still shots as well, including the one in this post taken from the bridge looking toward the harbor with the Verazzano Narrows Bridge in the background.

After I post this I am going to have some Greek yogurt with peach slices and fresh raspberries.

After my transgression earlier in the week, I have been pretty responsible with eating and moving. Thursday I worked in another office from my usual office and ate some Vietnamese spring rolls and salad at a restaurant nearby. When I got home I made a gumbo from the breasts of the rotistterie chicken I had eaten part of (the dark meat) the night before. It was tasty, but later in the night I had stomach cramps and cold sweat. Everything cleared up by Friday, so I don’t know what it was, but I threw the gumbo away just in case. I didn’t want to eat anything I had eaten the day before.

Friday I had lunch with a colleague at a tavern near Madison Square Park. We split an appetizer plate with wings, chicken fingers and sliders (I had one slider). The small bun on the slider and the breading on the chicken finger (not all that much) were the only carbs. My entree was a grilled shrimp salad with avocado and hearts of palm. For dinner last night I had shrimp and walnuts with no rice from a Chinese restaurant.

I have had a lot of salty animal fat today, so I may eat only vegetables tomorrow. I can’t have any caffeine until later Monday and I don’t tolerate caffeine well late in the day, so probably Tuesday. I may have to get up early Tuesday just for a caffeine fix.

I will let you know how the stress test turns out.

September 15, 2010

I’ve Been Good. I’ve Been Bad. I’ve Been Good Again.



Met Life, originally uploaded by FantasticBabblings.

Two of the last three days I have eaten well and moved a lot. Sandwiched in between – not so good. Speaking of sandwich…

Yesterday I worked in our Long Island office. On the train out I had a Kashi GoLean cruncy bar. Not terrible, but I usually don’t eat breakfast and when I do, I usually eat more during the day. Sometimes for lunch I walk to the next building, about half a mile away, and they have a nice cafeteria there with tasty healthy choices. The deli in the basement of our building has some healthy choices, but none are tasty. Instead of walking over, which I could have done since it was a gorgeous day, I ate in the basement. I had a cheeseburger with fries. Tasty, but loaded with carbs, so I was hungry all day. I had some pretzels on the train back, and when I got back in the city, I went to La Caridad, an old favorite Cuban/Chinese dive with good food. I had fried pork chops (the menu says two, but for some reason they gave me three), yellow rice and red beans. Damn good. And when I got home I had ice cream. When I’m bad, I’m bad. The one bright spot is that I did walk a mile and a half.

Monday I did well. I had a salad with chicken and vegetables for lunch, no snacks and some turkey meatballs in broth when I got home. That was it all day, and I walked two miles.

Today I had ginger chicken for lunch, no rice, and for dinner I had half a rotisserie chicken and some steamed veggies quickly sauteed in coconut oil. That’s it for today. I walked over two miles, most of it after work. I went to the Hudson River park to shoot some video of the river for my long term project.

The picture here is the old Metropolitan Life building on Madison Square Park and 23rd Street. I took it on the trip home from the waterfront.

September 11, 2010

A Very Active Day



Chrysler Empire, originally uploaded by FantasticBabblings.

I walked over three miles today, and some of it uphill. I mentioned in other posts that I am collecting footage for a video about Manhattan’s rivers. My fall projects will be to shoot from various bridges and from other boroughs and New Jersey. Today I walked across the footpath on the Queensboro Bridge (aka the 59th Street Bridge, made famous by Simon and Garfunkel as the title of a song also known as “Feelin’ Groovy”.) Lots of aka’s there. On the other side, I caught the Number 7 train to Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City, Queens. It is a waterfront park on the East River. The picture here is from about two-thirds of the way from Manhattan to Queens looking south. It was a beautiful day. I got lots of still shots and even more video. By the time I finish shooting, I will have several hours of footage for a 5-10 minute project.

If you want to see some of the other still from today, they are the first several on my Flickr feed http://www.flickr.com/photos/eastsidephil/.

Before leaving on my trip I had an onion omelet with a salad. Between the bridge and the park I had a bottle of orange juice. I needed to hydrate and my blood sugar needed a boost from all that walking.

When I got home I was too tired to cook, so I ordered Indian food, lamb korma. I did have a couple of tablespoons of rice with it.

I got a call yesterday from my doctor’s office. Finally, after three months of mis-communication and, in my opinion, incompetence on the part of his staff, I finally have a schedule for a nuclear stress test at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Turns out I’m not too fat for Manhattan after all, but I do have to travel all the way uptown. It is next Monday, the 22nd. I will let you know how it goes.

September 8, 2010

Say Cheese!

I made Mac and Cheese with Dreamfields low carb pasta for dinner. This is in the southern casserole style. I boiled the elbows last night and layered them with white and yellow extra sharp cheddar. After building the layers I poured over milk and eggs to make a custard and hold it together. Then tonight I baked for about 30-35 minutes. I like the top to be a little caramelized and crunchy and the inside to be creamy. It came out perfect and tasted great. Oh, and I added some onion to the layers which added a nice flavor.

Also, I made a stew of okra, tomatoes, onions, and squash.

Today I walked two and a half miles. It was a good day for food and activity. Lunch was from Maoz vegetarian, the salad box with falafel and veggies.

September 5, 2010

A Breakthrough in Fried Vegetable Technology

This afternoon I felt a little peckish and wanted a snack. Yesterday I went to the neighborhood farmer’s market, which is just a few tables at a weekly flea market a few blocks away. I bought tomatoes and squash. There are many ways to prepare squash, but growing up one of my favorites was fried. Lately I try to avoid breading things with wheat flour so I tried to think of some alternative. A few days ago I made some falafel from a mix and had some of the mix left. So I dusted the slices of squash with falafel mix and fried them quickly in very hot peanut oil. They were very tasty. Crisp on the outside with a strong cumin flavor. I can’t believe the spell check on this blog software does not recognize the word falafel.

The first day of my vacation I had an onion and tomato omelet (one of my favorites) and started doing housework at about 1:30 in the afternoon. I worked until after 10 pm, with a few breaks. It was good exercise. Things got cleaned that hadn’t been cleaned in a long time and I threw away a lot of crap. I also found a few things I could sell. I sold some stackable storage bins and a sewing machine today. I still have an old laptop computer and a brand new never used heavy duty (supports 800 lbs) folding chair. Come on craiglist, help me out. I had some chicken wings (delivered) and cole slaw (home made) for dinner. I rewarded my hard work with a cachaca collada for a night cap, which is basically a pina collada with cachaca instead of rum.

Yesterday I watched movies, took pictures of my items for sale, and had a nice long walk – two miles. It was a gorgeous day. I passed by Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital on my walk. Outside stood a guy with an IV running to his arm from the bag on a pole, and he was smoking a cigarette. I’m so glad I quit in 1986 and never started back. It’s hard to shake. Even cancer won’t scare some people enough to quit. During the day I had the rest of the chicken wings, a tomato sandwich and a burger. Both sandwiches on light wheat bread (40 cals a slice). Friends came over last night to hang out and I had two beers.

Today I had some granola around noon with a golden delicious apple cut up in it and non-fat organic milk. Later I think I will make Eggs in Purgatory again. I still have sauce from the last time. It is thawing now. I am cataloging scenes from my surfing shoot last week and I hope to get it edited soon. I have a couple of other projects I am working on today.

Tomorrow I will probably take it easy, maybe go for a walk and take a camera along. Maybe I’ll catch the guy at Sloan Kettering on break again.

September 2, 2010

Falafel (Not the Bill O’Reilly kind)

I made falafel tonight from a mix. I added some pumpkin seeds, onions and garlic for a little extra flavor. It was tasty. On the side I had some organic corn mixed with pigeon peas, which is similar to what we called crowder peas in the south. They are nutty flavored legumes and mix well with corn.

For lunch yesterday and today I had some chicken and roast pork with assorted vegetables. Last night I roasted chicken thighs and made a slaw of cabbage, cucumber and red pepper dressed with the juice from some bread and butter pickles, a little olive oil and sriracha. Crisp and spicy.

Tonight begins a four day weekend for me, and I am celebrating with a cocktail I call a cachaca collada. I mix cachaca (Brazilian distilled beverage made from sugar cane), pineapple and coconut milk, blended with some crushed ice.

Both yesterday and today I walked about a mile and a half. It was quite hot, so most of it was on the way home so I could shower as soon as I got here. The video below looks like a great natural workout, and something I could never do. But these British boys are amazingly agile, strong and not afraid to take risks.

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