When God Talks, TLRC Listens

The Logging Road Cyclist once built a beautiful wooden drift boat. From a kit to be sure, but it was the first woodworking he had ever done, and it was, after all a boat, so it was a very big deal for him. It turned out well, and he used it for many years, on some difficult rivers too. The boat got holed (memorably one time on the Rogue when The Long Suffering Girlfriend was steering; the biggest hole the boat ever got and she cried), and fixed. It was, after all a whitewater boat, not a fishing boat.

But the depredations of age took hold, TLRC’s shoulder and back made rowing less fun, and indeed frantic river running in general began to lose its attractions (too much driving, mainly, and crowded rivers), and the boat spent a long time sitting it the garage, unused.

TLRC spent a year or so pondering selling the boat and decided it was time. Not an easy decision, this, since the boat was the last vestige of a 40+ year whitewater run that had pretty much literally ended when they dragged his paddle (oars) from his cold stiff fingers.  But garage space was at a premium, what can one say? He pulled the boat out, cleaned it up and took some pictures to use in the sale.

On Monday afternoon, TLRC was composing an email to a prospective buyer, or at least a prospective conduit to buyers. He got down the salutation and a couple of words in the first sentence to the point where the words “drift boat” were required. He typed “difr” and stopped, backspaced and typed “drf”, stopped and backspaced again, typed “d” and paused, unable to continue. Was “drift boat” one word or two, he wondered. TLRC looked helplessly at the page, unable to type.

His mind, clear, roamed back over the recent past. He had just come home from the dog park. In his truck, he had noticed his vision distorted over the upper 1/4 or so of its range, as if the windshield had a defect up top. This lasted for 10-15 minutes and eventually faded away. The previous Thursday something similar had occurred: just after getting up in the morning TLRC’s vision doubled. Each eye had clear vision by itself, and they appeared not to be crossed, but double vision it was. This lasted about 10 minutes. Had it not been the case that this double vision had also occurred sometime in the last 6 months or so, TLRC wouldn’t have given it much thought, as indeed he hadn’t the first time it happened. TLRC was learning that, at age 64, if one pays excess attention to every health anomaly, one will soon go mad.

So this third visual anomaly had TLRC on alert. Perhaps the fact that the Thursday-Monday time segment neatly overlapped the Sunday-Sunday time segment bounded by the two funerals TLRC had just attended made him a bit more acutely aware of his mortality, and thus of this sort-of-frightening series. He had in fact gone to the doctor on the day of the Thursday last event, and was awaiting test results and for an MRI to be scheduled.

This sudden inability to type, normally second nature to TLRC (from whom words usually flow gurgling like warm molasses from a wide-mouthed jug) was, to put it mildly, of concern. He got up and was fortunate enough to get an appointment with his physician later that day. TLRC sat down again, pulled laptop to lap and entered “aphasia” into the Google, for he seemed to be able to type again. The Mayo Clinic page was down not very far and they advised Emergency Room, which was good enough for TLRC. He cancelled his appointment and tried to reach TLSG, who was likely out of reach for a while. He resolved to wait half-an hour and then get his stalwart, RPM on the case. Once called into action RPM was at The Forest Estate in minutes, and with minor direction hauled TLRC to the ER.

It turns out that “64 year old male with visual anomalies and aphasia” is as good as “64 year old male with yellow jacket sting in esophagus” in terms of getting attention, and everyone went into “this guy is having a stroke” mode. They all especially perked up when TLRC stumbled over his address. That was kind of fun, in a twisted way.

TLSG showed up soon, and she and the doctor helped distract TLRC from the IV and blood draws (he faints if sitting and can barely tolerate it when lying down). TLSG wasn’t chortling this time (cf. TLRC Wasn’t Paranoid Until After the Attacks).

The ER doc was a straightforward, gruff kind of guy and TLRC liked him immediately. Doc: “You’re going to have an MRI over this anyway, so we might as well do it now. It will be a little while.” In not too long, the image guy came and wheeled TLRC into the tube, where, as usual, he asked for classical music on the headphones, and with his head firmly clamped side-to-side and covered with a hockey-mask like antenna array he fell asleep, his hands clasped below the second, neck-and-chest receiver. After a while they hauled him back to his ER room, where he lay intermittently napping while TLSG tapped away at work.

Not too long of a time later the doc came back and sounded the all clear. No clots, tumors, shedding from carotids, or anything else TIA or stroke-like: TLRC would die from something else it appeared. They pulled out the spike in his arm, and TLSG, who knows her man, asked where he wanted to go to eat. Both of them were a bit surprised (TLRC pleased) about how calmly he had taken all of this. He rather spoiled the effect by bingeing a Reuben and a pint of potato salad washed down by a Kambucha, all tamped firmly into place by a large box of plus-sized Halloween-themed sugar cookies.

Rather than needlessly terrifying himself with the internet, TLRC waits to talk to a physician about what all this might be, while failing to avoid obsessing over whether or not there are more than the usual amount of typos in his text (he thought there were, of course). Apparently, like YAWEH, the wooden boat he was once trying to sell is to be unamed and unsold, and has gone back home into the garage. TLRC gets the message.