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Basketball is my addiction.  Playing the game, not watching it.

Basketball may kill me.

As Monk would say, “Here is what happened.”

My blog entry for April 23, 2014 described how “mushy” the walls of the gymnasium could get during a basketball game.  At times, I can’t remember which way my team is running, or even who is on my team.

My primary care physician (Dr. R.) ordered a CT scan of my brain so he could decide if he would refer me to a neurologist.  The test came back negative except for “age-related atrophy.”

SwollenAnklesSmall8May14Since then, my doctor and I have been bantering via email about why my ankles have swollen up to the size of tree branches.  On my own, I started changing my medications around to see which one was causing the edema.  My research on the Internet found that “Metformin may cause swelling in your body, including your legs, according to the Mayo Clinic.”

Only problem, I have controlled my diabetes for a long time, so my doctor allowed me to stop Metformin.

So what now.

This last week changed everything.  Dr. R. wrote, “(Edema) can be caused by a medication or other causes like high sodium in the diet, incompetent valves in your veins (venous stassi), or other items like your heart or kidneys. The cure is finding the cause and then removing it. We haven’t determined the cause for you yet.”

The phrase “incompetent valves” hit me head-on.  In my excitement, I read it, “leaky heart valve.”  As soon as I could gather my wits about me, I headed for the E.R. – early Thursday morning (May 8.)

I have now graduated from bradycardia, tachycardia, and atrial fibrillation to Congestive Heart Failure – CHF.

My ER release papers indicate. “CHF occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently, leading to fluid build up in the veins and lungs.  Typical symptoms are swelling of the legs, shortness of breath on minor exertion, and fatigue.”

The weird thing was, during my exam, the ER physician (Dr. Torres) didn’t even look at my swollen ankles.  He told me, “Your eyelids are swollen.”

I was given a huge shot of something or another which aided urination, and in a few hours I lost 5 pounds.

Echocardiogram_4chambersThis morning, I head back to the hospital for an echocardiogram, which I assume will only confirm the diagnosis.

Meanwhile, I’ve been told to “decrease your activity until excess fluid has been eliminated.”

Only problem – I have a basketball game tomorrow (Saturday).

Now, here is the thing – I am a body donor, and the lab I have contacted will pick up my body within a 50 mile radius.  My experience with living in senior apartments, however, tells me that old people (like me) tend to NOT be discovered when they die.  In my previous complex, not finding bodies for three days or more was common.  I doubt my research lab will want my body if it is that messy.  It will be much cleaner all around if I do NOT die in bed.

What better place than the basketball court!

A few days ago, I was morose about my health, figuring I was going to die soon.  This was even before my visit to the ER.  Knowing there is a good chance I will be in a research lab instead of a coffin, I decided I want to have a memorial service BEFORE I die.  I even planned out how all 22 members of our family would gather for a reunion.  As part of our get-together, we would use one of the private rooms at Golden Corral and have a high old time remembering the good times.  I’d talk a lot the first night, then the family would talk a lot the second night.  Make it a four-day weekend surrounding Father’s Day.  Great fun!

Slight hitch to my reunion scenario – those 22 people are spread out all over the United States, from Utah to Virginia, from Minnesota and Indiana to Texas. Much easier for me to fly to a common destination, than for 21 others to come to me.  I wonder, with CHF, can I even get on an airplane?

If this blog should go inactive for a long time, you will know that I have played my last basketball game.

Until then . . . . . .

Basketball-player-02

GROUP HUG GROUP HUG GROUP HUG GROUP HUG GROUP HUG GROUP HUG

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