Thursday, February 01, 2007

Oh. That explains a lot.

Seems we've found the root cause of things. Apparently, severely restricting the blood flow to ones brain can cause mood swings, memory loss, confusion and all kinds of other Alzheimer's-like symptoms. Who'd'a thunk it?

I knew my cholesterol was high. I wouldn't be allowed to attend any family functions if I weren't able to prove that I was at an extreme risk for sudden, catastrophic cardiovascular collapse. It's the closest thing to a heritage that we Rogerses have, you know. What I didn't know was quite how bad things had gotten in the last year.

For someone in my risk group, a total cholesterol level of 4 mmol/L is considered borderline (that translates to about 140 mg/dL for the Americans in the audience, quite a bit lower than the 200 or so that "normies" would be scared of). I knew I was high-risk, given my family history, so I'd been doing the good diet and exercise things. And I was getting regular checks. Somehow, though, my total cholesterol managed to drift a bit higher than I'd planned. To a point somewhere northward of 25 (that's around 900 on the American scale). My HDL level is normal, which means that my LDL (boo, hiss) is sitting at the "why are you still alive" level. And that's just the serum level — the metric tonne is probably a better unit of measure for the deposits on my artery walls.

If I hadn't been ignoring the chest pains, thinking them simply a consequence of the damage I did to my heart in my wild years, I'd probably have caught it sooner. As it was, it wasn't until my vision started to go and my hands and feet kept falling numb that I figured out that something was wronger (that should be a word) than usual. An optometrist was able to see rich deposits and stake a claim on my retinas — if there's a market for this stuff, he's going to be a rich man.

Needless to say, the pipes are being treated with Drano now (er, Lipitor, and rather a lot of it — thank God and the government of Ontario that I don't have to pay for it). It's a race to see if the clogs can be cleared before anything major fails permanently. But at least I know what's wrong. I wasn't going crazy. I was just dying quietly.