Big Fat Queer

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.

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August 29, 2010

Surf’s Up!

Montauk Surger Triptych

I went to Montauk yesterday as I mentioned I might in my last post. It was a beautiful day, mid to high 70s, clear sky and I was there at the peak of afternoon surfing. Ditch Plains beach, which is one of the main surf areas of Montauk, was crowded with surfers and sunbathers. I shot video until my battery died. There were a lot of good, long rides and at times the surf was rough. But as far as I could tell nobody got hurt. I only took a few still shots. The the shots in the triptych above were about a second or two apart.

One of the reasons I like to watch surfing, live or on film, is that it is something I cannot do. Similar for dancing. I haven’t been in years, but for about a decade of my life I was at the ballet frequently, often multiple times in a week. I don’t have physical grace or courage, or coordination for that matter. I am a klutz. Often watching entertainment or commentary or such things I think to myself, “I can do that.” While I might admire it, I don’t stand in awe of it. Things like surfing or dancing I do stand (or sit, or fall) in awe of. One great thing about Montauk surfing, and it may be universal for all I know, is that all kinds of people surf. There are young, in-shape guys like the one pictured above. There are also guys my age with beer bellies, and some of them, due to their experience, can out surf the younger dudes. And there are women. There were several women on the waves yesterday and some young girls. It was a great day.

After I finished shooting I decided to walk to the main town area of Montauk, which is only a few blocks of shops and motels. It is about two miles from Ditch Plains beach. It was a cheap day trip and I wanted to keep it that way. I get vouchers called Transit Checks every month. In addition to my monthly Metro Card that gets me around on city buses and subways, I get enough Transit Checks to cover my twice monthly commute to Long Island. These come out of pre-tax income so I save about 40% over retail when you figure the tax savings. However, I don’t always go to LI twice a month so over a period of time I have extra vouchers. So round trip only cost me $3 out of pocket, and I spent about $20 in cab fare round-trip to and from the train station. And one of the secondary points to the trip was to get in some good scenic walking. So off I went.

I have walked most of these beaches before, but never continuously from Ditch Plains to town. About two thirds of the way the beach turns really rocky. For a while there is enough space between the rocks that you can walk on sand, though the steps become somewhat serpentine. Then the rocks become very dense and very challenging. One of my favorite things about Montauk is that much of it is the way nature leaves it, and some of it is not hospitable to human traffic. This stretch of beach is that way, and once I got past the crowds of Ditch Plains, I probably only saw a dozen or so people spread out before I got to the town beach where all the motels are. I could have turned and walked back a mile or so and called a cab, but that would have eaten up time and the chance to have a nice meal before the three and a half hour train ride back.

I wasn’t panicky, but I thought I might have made a mistake. This was obviously going to be a challenge and a bit of a physical obstacle. I usually make sure that I do my walking in areas that, should I have a problem, there are people around who can help or get help quickly. Here, if I fell or injured myself in some way, I might lie there for a while before I could get help. Also going on required a lot of physical effort, more than I usually expend, and for a sustained time. What the hell. I saw that above the rocks just below the bluffs was a sand shelf that I could walk for a while. I climbed up there, which wasn’t easy since the sand kept falling away under my feet, but I got there. I was tired already. As you probably well know, walking barefoot in sand is not as easy as walking on a sidewalk in shoes. After a while I got to a staircase going up the bluffs. I looked up and the top landing was separated from the bluffs by about ten feet from erosion. It might be a nice view, but right now I wasn’t interesed in view. I sat on the lower step and put my shoes on because it was rock for the next 50 yards. Smaller rocks than the ones I had avoided for the last 100 yards or so. I maneuvered gingerly, using my cane and I finally got past the rocky area to sand beach. From there it was about a half mile to my destination, the cheap place to eat. I felt good that I had faced what, for me, was a big physical challenge and got through it. The amount of work spent on that two mile walk probably equaled the equivalent of five miles of city walking. I did wake up in the middle of the night with a cramp in my leg. I applied some heat, took Advil and went back to sleep for eight more hours. Today I am doing as little as possible.

The cheap place to eat is a little stand that sells burgers, dogs and fried seafood. I had the fried seafood dinner, shrimp, scallops, clams, flounder. The flounder was a little sub par, but the shellfish was great. And it was less than $15. In the morning before I left I had steak and eggs and rye toast. On my long walk on the beach, I felt like my blood sugar was lowering, and this was definitely not the place to have a crash, so I ate my emergency Pay Day candy bar. Snickers is not a good idea on a day out in the sun because the chocolate gets runny. There is a nice fudge shop in the town area of Montauk and I brought home a small square of Amaretto Chocolate fudge. I ate that for a midnight snack. This morning my blood sugar was good, so whatever carbs I ate yesterday, I burned. I did not have any insulin all day.

Here are a couple of other shots from yesterday, and no that is not my foot. My foot is stubby and gnarly. This is a perfectly shaped foot with a high arch. The guy is not badly shaped either.

Footprint

Pink Shorts

June 3, 2010

Another Day, Another Lake

I walked along the lake behind my Mother’s house today. You can’t walk all the way around because two thirds of the way down is the property boundary of the subdivision and there is a fence. It is also off the public road system so it’s hard to gauge the distance by google maps. So, I bought a pedometer app for my iPhone which measures based on gps location. According to that I walked a mile and a quarter today.

For lunch I had some ham (lunch meat variety) and American cheese on rye bread, some nuts and an apple. For dinner this evening I went with my sister-in-law Elaine to The Cafe And Then Some, a comedy theater and restaurant run by old friends of mine. We split a seared scallop appetizer with bacon and spinach and I had blackened catfish with grilled vegetables and sauteed spinach. I had three vodka and cranberry juice. I am at about 1500 calories for the day. I resisted ice cream tonight. I had a momentary craving.I al

I got to spend some time having a drink and conversation with some great long-time friends after the show, Susan, Joe and Jeter. I’ve known Susan since college – which is longer ago than I can remember. It was really great to spend time with them.

I think my glucose meter is on the fritz. It’s about 8 years old. I had a high reading before bed last night. It didn’t make sense considering my food and movement for the day, but I accepted it as true and injected insulin accordingly. At 6:30 this morning I woke up with a serious hypoglycemic crash. I had my emergency Snickers bar, half a powdered donut and a glass of skim milk, then went back to sleep. I am not counting it in my calories today. I am not sure how food to recover from a crash is metabolized, so I’m keeping it off the books. I need to get a new meter. In the meantime, I will listen to my common sense and not just a piece of aging technology, which was obviously wrong.

Here is a picture of the lake behind my Mother’s house/

May 19, 2010

Yo-Yo No Mo’

I have lost the five pound yo-yo of the last two and a half weeks and I’m back to where I was before Montauk and illness. Now it’s onward and downward. I am going on vacation in about a week and a half, but I am committed to staying healthy during that week. I will be in South Carolina, staying mostly at my Mother’s house, which is filled with temptation. But there is a refrigerator and a kitchen and I’ll have a car and access to Whole Foods and Fresh Market within an easy drive. So I have no excuse not to stay healthy. Hold me to it. I will do my best to blog during my vacation too. I find it keeps me honest.

I did do something today to add to things to occupy my walking time. I often take my camera and shoot pictures during walks (mostly on weekends). Often I just think. I find walking to be conducive to thinking. It is like the opposite of meditation where I try to empty my head of thoughts. Rather, while walking, I engage in conversations with myself, silent – usually, but very wordy. Often I argue with myself. More often I argue with others, you know, those people who live inside my head and are often made of straw. I find if I argue with straw men in my head then I argue with them less on the internet. I usually win.

But the other option I have added for those times I don’t wish to shoot pictures or shoot the breeze with phantoms is radio. I subscribed to Sirius online which has an iPhone app that works very nicely. I know there are free options for music like Pandora, but there are so many options aggregated at Sirius it is convenient. Also, when I pay attention to television news it is usually MSNBC (damn commie I am!) and they feed their audio in real-time to Sirius. I got off the bus three quarters of a mile early tonight and as I walked I listened to Hard Ball. In the mornings I watch Morning Joe (I don’t agree with much of Scarborough or Buchanan, but they have a good assortment of points of view and it’s usually civil, except when Joe and Lawrence O’Donnell tangle). Now, if I want to leave a little earlier and walk a bit more in my morning commute, I won’t miss anything. When a show consists of talking heads it’s amazing how little you need the picture. Also, Bloomberg streams on Sirius and I can listen to Charlie Rose. If I start listening to Oprah, shoot me.

Lunch was tuna salad and shrimp salad (about 3 oz of each) and raw veggies. I had my emergency candy bar in the afternoon. My blood sugar starting dipping, but I caught it before I crashed. For dinner I am going to have a steak and a salad, no potato.

April 8, 2010

Quick Summary

I worked much later than planned, so I took a cab home. My walking for the day was limited to the mile walked earlier.

My blood sugar was low (but not a crash) around 7 pm and all I had available was my emergency Snickers, 280 calories. That put me at almost 700 for the day. I should keep an apple at the office for such occasions.

For dinner I had some more homemade peanut butter on Finn Crisps with banana and vegetables, altogether about 700 calories. That’s it for the day.

Tomorrow is the Beer Summit, which will present challenges since the Old Town Bar menu is not very healthy. They do have salads, and they do have light beer. I’ll do my best.

April 6, 2010

Call Any Vegetable, And The Chances Are Good

the vegetable will respond to you:

Inspired by Jimmy Hook’s embedded Brian Wilson video comment on the last post, I am leading this post with one of my favorite Frank Zappa songs interpreted by his son Dweezil.

In addition to the mile earlier, I walked another half mile today rather briskly with no back pain and I climbed a few flights of stairs without getting too winded. The massage last night helped and I rearranged my pillows (eliminating a few) so that I was lying more flat.

For dinner I had some roast chicken with raw broccoli, cauliflower, fresh organic cherry tomatoes and pickled peppadew peppers, about 420 calories. Late afternoon at work I felt my blood sugar creeping down so I had a small package of peanut M&Ms. I didn’t want to have them, but it was the only sugar I had available. But since I needed sugar, they were delicious, but about 240 empty calories.

For my evening snack I will have a soy milk and frozen peaches smoothie. I will be on target for the day.

March 25, 2010

Danger Will Robinson! Crash! Crash! Crash!

Filed under: Eat Less; Move More — bigfatqueer @ 9:01 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I felt really great yesterday. It was a good day… until 4 o’clock this morning when I had a pretty severe hypoglycemic crash. Even asleep in dreams I could tell something was wrong. I woke up in a cold sweat, shaking. I grabbed my emergency Snickers and my glucose meter. I tested at 60. I don’t know if it was on the way down or back up, but the response was pretty severe. My endocrinologist explained to me that one component of the feelings of a crash is the flood of adrenaline. Adrenaline raises blood glucose levels, so when levels drop too low, the body releases adrenaline to compensate. This is only the second time since my diagnosis 14 years ago that I have had a crash in my sleep, which is especially scary because if I don’t wake up and eat sugar quickly, I could lapse into a coma. A crash also makes me ravenously hungry. I chased the Snickers with a Coke (I keep a couple in the fridge for this purpose) and an apple. I was up for about an hour and tested at 148 before I went to bed. I got up at the normal time, but I was so wiped out and wobbly that I took the day off. I am still not fully over it, but a good night’s sleep should help. I had dinner a little early to that my insulin would have plenty of time to run its full course before bed. In addition to compensating for less food and more activity, I think because of those factors my insulin resistance may have declined. I will be more careful, especially at night. Better to have a higher blood glucose level than to crash like that, or worse.

For lunch I had a grilled Swiss cheese on rye and some roasted vegetables. I bought a package of peeled garlic cloves at the greengrocer earlier this week. I would not normally use all of that before it goes bad, so I decided to roast a bunch of cloves. While I was at it I took all of the leftover veggies I had in the fridge and roasted them too after tossing them in a pinch of kosher salt and two teaspoons of olive oil. Delicious. The garlic added a wonderful savory flavor. Lunch was about 500 calories.

Dinner was four shrimp dumplings and five pieces of sesame shrimp with two slices of rye toast, about 600-700 calories. I will have a smoothie shortly. I will test my glucose at least a couple of times before bed. No exercise today.

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