Mixed day, I think. Where to start.

Still extremely depressed. Much said about that elsewhere; shall not revisit here. Cue relieved sighs.

Received my U.S. Federal income tax refund. Banked a big chunk of it into the 'rainy day fund' which has been depressingly flat since moving to NYC 18 months ago. Paid off the last of my debt from the moving process. And, finally, after two years, spent some money on toys for myself. Bought a television (but still didn't order cable; plan on using it for DVDs, computer playback, living room computing, and Xbox 360 use), bought an Xbox 360 and a few games. Now avidly awaiting delivery. Perhaps this will give me a reason to use my living room, a large space I have been paying lots of rent for which contains sofas, a coffee table, a bookshelf, a Stairmaster and a bunch of boxes, and has seen almost zero use since I moved in.

Saw an otolaryngologist about my breathing issues, fully steeling myself to hear the dreaded "You're fine, you just have a little rhinitis!" answer that has been my wont for the past several years. Didn't get that answer. Said ENT guy stuffed a transnasal flexible laryngoscope up my nose, had me lean forward, and said "Ohhhh yeah." Then slid it back out and said matter-of-factly "Your airway is compromised. It looks like a textbook case of acid reflux."


I said "But I don't have any heartburn, or any stomach ache, or..."

He shook his head. "No. You're quite heavy, and the weight on your stomach at night from your abdomen 'squeezes' the stomach and forces small amounts of reflux back up into your throat. They're not acidic enough or plentiful enough to eat through the mucusoidal sheathing, but they're more than enough to cause edema just below your vocal cords. You have fairly severe swelling of the airway below the larynx, and it's more than enough to cause you breathing problems at night. Coupled with a rhinitis-aggravated post-nasal drip-" (Aha, I KNEW he'd get rhinitis into it somewhere) "-that's enough to cause you your continuous throat-clearing attempts and general breathing issues during the day."

I thought about that for a second. "Would this have an impact on my trying to exercise?"

"Oh, yeah. You're not going to get enough oxygen, and you're going to get tired and experience aching and perhaps feelings of dread very very quickly due to inadequate airflow."

(Feelings of dread?) "Oh. Because, yeah, that's what happens when I try to exercise. After maybe thirty seconds."

"Yep. We're going to put you on a massive course of antacids. We can't stop the reflux, but we can lower its acidity to lower the swelling. Hopefully that will be enough to allow you to actually exercise and start reducing your weight. Then that, in turn, will lower and maybe stop the reflux entirely, which should produce more improvement."

I sat there for a second. "I've been feeling like a useless failure because I can't work out, and thought I was just a fat shit."

"Well, you are fat." (At least he didn't say shit.) "But your weight gain past a certain point, the point where you really would normally have started working out, is quite possibly due to this vicious circle - your airway becomes constricted, and even before it would start causing you daytime discomfort, it starts interrupting your sleep via your sleep apnea getting worse. So you're not getting restful sleep. And one of the primary consequences of that, long-term, is weight gain. Which makes everything worse."

"So should I try to exercise again with the pills?"

"No! Not yet. Your blood oxygen is probably low at this point. Not enough to cause overt symptoms, but enough to screw you up and cause cardio stress if you try to work out. Take the pills for a month, then come back and we'll see if your airway has opened. If it has, I'm guessing you'll already have more energy, and we'll clear you for exercise."

Holy shit. Maybe this isn't just because I'm a fat shit and there's no way to break the cycle. Tomorrow, I retrieve some horse-choker time-release antacid pills, and in 4 weeks...maybe...maybe.

Here's hoping.

A day spent in Rundle Mall reminds me I am out of form for retail marathons. Our feet slow like spent clockwork. We head to Gouger Street for relief. Shiny wet paving and bright-eyed restaurants, the sounds of massed cutlery wash through a back lane, a tangy hum like a highhat cymbal.

Family around a table reconnecting. BBC, BBQ Pork and Rice, Pork and Bitter Melon, salty-sweet flavours etched clean with Chinese Tea. Then a walk to the Queen's Arms. Nathan is playing Alto Saxophone in a Big Band, Corner Pocket. Rich sounds, chill evening, deep lounge chairs, Shiraz. The Blues call us homewards.

A good event rattled through twitter today; Kate Lundy organising feedback about potential Australian Broadband Network upgrade. Was lovely to see fellow Linux Australia folk participating. #publicsphere
Meanwhile, copyright conversations are ever at cross purposes.

Sleepless again, but closer to peaceful. Hope to plant in the park tomorrow.

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