Sunday, February 25, 2007

Betrayal of the Body

I felt as if my body had deeply betrayed me by having a heart attack. I didn't want to get out of bed.

When President Eisenhower had his first heart attack in 1955, the standard procedure was to commit people to bed rest for six months. (Eisenhower was playing golf and thought he was experiencing indigestion. His doctor misdiagnosed him as having a gastrointestinal disorder, give him morphine, and waited ten hours before sending him to the hospital.)

Hospitals now keep you only four or five days before sending you home after a heart attack. I would have preferred to stay in the hospital for several months, since it felt like the safest place to be and they could do something if my heart was attacked again. Another heart attack seemed imminent.

I felt as if my body were made of stone. If I didn’t feel my body, my body couldn’t hurt me. At home, I was most content watching DVDs of television shows, such as “24”, “Lost”, and “Desperate Housewives.” Each one of these complete seasons took occupied me for about twenty hours. Passing the time in a trance, without thinking about what had happened to me or what could happen to me, was a relief. It was good medicine.

After about three weeks of spending most of my time in bed and watching television, I started to feel as if I had some slight chance of living a little longer.

My Zimbio
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