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The Literary Exhibitionist
post-micturition syncope


I got quite a scare this morning.

It was roughly 4:25 a.m. when I was woken up by a loud thud, which actually slightly vibrated the room I was in -- and therefore our entire condo. For a split second I wondered if there were some kind of explosion outside or something, but when I opened my eyes, I saw that Shobhit was not in bed with me, and he had gone to use the guest bathroom -- the light from the bathroom was barely coming in through the entrance to our master bedroom's entry hallway.

So I called after Shobhit, no less than three times, and got no answer.

Immediately concerned, I grabbed my glasses and got out of bed, heading straight for the guest bathroom. Even though the master bathroom is closer, and occasionally he does use the toilet in there, more often than not he uses the guest bathroom. He had only gotten up to pee, but I think he still tends to use that bathroom even for peeing just out of habit, as he uses that bathroom to poop, as he has easier access to the sink in there, and, as an Indian, he still engages in the practice of using water to wash himself.

I know he had only gotten up to pee because the toilet had only pee in it. It hadn't been flushed, though, and Shobhit was no longer standing at the toilet. He was lying on his back in the tub, the shower curtain pinned (but not pulled off its rings) behind him.

I tried to take him up, and this took a minute or two. He opened his eyes, and clearly was confused as to how he ended up in the tub, although even that was only barely registering; he was definitely in a daze. Adding to my increasing concern and near-panic was the fact that his face was not only covered in sweat, but there were streaks down his cheeks from both eyes, as though he'd been crying.

It was taking him long enough to come to that I finally said, "Shobhit, you're scaring me!"

He kind of waved his hand and, though still in a bit of a stupor, said, "Calm down."

I asked if he'd fainted, and he said he thought so. It was finally becoming clear to me that this was the only explanation, given the thud that had woken me up. I helped him out of the tub and brought him back to bed.

In bed, though, he became restless, and immediately complained of a pain in his chest, just below his right breast. I was a little baffled by this considering he'd clearly fallen backward, but there was no doubt that he was having pains.

I was about to try and get back to sleep when something hit me: the memory of when I passed out at work back in 2003. The thing that hit me was the fact that, knowing I'd hit my head -- I had even been bleeding a little -- Jennifer insisted I go to the ER and get checked out. And so it occurred to me: what if Shobhit had a concussion? Was it unsafe to let him go right back to sleep? I had no idea, but I told him I was thinking maybe he should go see a doctor.

He agreed, so we got out of bed, dressed, and I drove him to Virginia Mason hospital, where his primary care provider is. I'm sure he could have just as easily gone to the ER at Swedish or Harborview or even Group Health (Group Health is closest to us, only about five blocks, but the other three are on First Hill maybe 3/4 of a mile away), but Virginia Mason is where we went.

I pulled up to the ER entrance and there was only one other car there; my car was over a dark red rectangle painted on the ground, making me think maybe I wasn't supposed to park there. Shobhit told me to find street parking, and he got out of the car. I kept wondering: what if he'd driven himself there? How the hell do you figure out what to do with your car?

It took me a while but I finally found street parking a block away on Madison, and walked back -- Shobhit was standing outside waiting for me, and hadn't even gone in to check in yet (the hell?). He'd tried to call me twice because I was taking so long, but I couldn't answer because I'd forgotten to charge my phone last night and I left it at home on its charger before we left.

Finally we went in together and he filled out a form. We picked a pretty good day to go to the ER: it was a slow day, at least at Virginia Mason -- the waiting room was nearly empty and there was only one other person in line in front of us. In fact, in spite of Shobhit having no less than four different people run through virtually the same list of questions, we were in and out of there in about an hour.

There was the first guy who called us back to a room next to the front desk, whose title I still don't know; then there was a nurse; then there was a first-year Resident; then there was a regular physician. This isn't even including the young black woman, the string of a gift bow tied around her pony tail and trailing down her back, who came in with a mobile machine to monitor his heart rate. This hospital certainly had enough people to make sure all bases were covered.

I think the first guy might have been gay. I could be wrong; maybe he was just super gay-friendly. But when he asked Shobhit his "series of weird questions," he noted that the form asked for "significant other" and then said, "One day we'll have gay marriage and it'll just say 'marriage'!" He was indeed very friendly, and absolutely took it for granted that I would be accompanying Shobhit wherever they might take him. It was really nice.

He then escorted us down a hallway and into a hospital room, where he was asked to take off his shirt and put on a hospital gown, then wait for the next person -- in this case, the nurse. And after her, the Resident, who happened to be a young South Asian woman (big surprise). After her, the doctor.

After many, many questions, the final doctor came to this conclusion: the likely explanation was that what happened to Shobhit was post-micturition syncope -- or rather, fainting after urination (duh), which means exactly the same thing except using regular everyday terms. The somewhat shocking part about it was that this is apparently a relatively common occurrence; neither of us had heard of it before, but clearly the doctor had.

The doctor checked Shobhit's head for any bumps, and not feeling any (and not getting any reports of head pain), ruled out an MRI scan. Shobhit asked if they would need to give him an X-ray, and since the doctor felt his rib and could tell nothing was broken, they ruled that out too. They said it is indeed possible that he bruised or even cracked a rib, but in either case having an X-ray would make no difference; they said that would only be necessary if something were broken.

In any event, Shobhit's chest pains had gradually subsided, except when he moved just right, and in the end they basically declared him fine and sent him home -- with the qualifier that if the pain persists more than a few days then he should see his doctor. Shobhit noted that this visit will likely cost him between $500 and $1000, but I still said it was worth it -- just for the peace of mind in knowing he didn't hurt himself. Because he really could have.

The most specific advice they gave him was that from now on when he gets up to pee in the middle of the night, he should sit down to do it. Yet another of a great many benefits to sitting while peeing, which I've been doing for years and years! Obviously I don't have much risk for post-micturition syncope.

So anyway, I drove him back home, and he went to bed, deciding he was going to take the day off. I had my bowl of cereal and took my shower, and still managed to get to work by 8:00. I have, however, been awake since 4:25 so I'm rather tired. I still got about five and a half hours of sleep, so I think I'll be fine. I'm just not used to getting up quite that early.

The only problem I have now is that I have an increasingly persistent tickle in my throat, which I actually noticed before we even left for the ER. Why do I always have to get sick at the worst times? Not that there's any particularly good time for it, mind you -- but this week at work is particularly bad for me to have to stay home, so I'm really hoping the naturopathic remedies I'm throwing at it will make whatever is going on short-lived.




I'm having leftovers for lunch, from the dinner Shobhit made last night, which I was afraid I wouldn't like because of the massive amount of yogurt he put in it but which is quite tasty. It's also spicy enough to be clearing my sinuses. They say spiciness is particularly good for you when you might be falling ill, right? Between that and the large volume of liquids I'm consuming (but sitting when I pee it back out, just to be safe!), I should be doing fairly well all things considered.

Furthermore, this is the best tasting meal that looks like puke that I've ever eaten.


I suppose I could give you further updates about my weekend now. On Saturday Barbara and I went to see the surprisingly good The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which we both enjoyed immensely. Barbara was particularly effusive in her praise; she'd probably say my B+ grade was not high enough. I found it definitively imperfect yet thoroughly enjoyable in spite of itself, and the way Terry Gilliam dealt with Heath Ledger's unfinished scenes was done remarkably well. If you like movies that are highly imaginative, then I definitely recommend this one.

As for yesterday, Shobhit and I took a walk downtown after going out for breakfast at Zeena's on Madison. It's interesting to me that the place has gotten mediocre reviews at Yelp, but both Shobhit and I thought our meals were fantastic. Now, the service was merely adequate, and the presentation leaved at least a slight bit to be desired -- not least of which because the atmosphere is almost, but not quite, like a cafeteria. Nothing fancy there. But the bottom line is the food, which alone was good enough to make me want to go back again.

(I had over-easy eggs served over potatoes and fried veggies. Although they kind of skimped on the veggies, I was still kind of amazed by how delicious it was.)

We then walked down to the waterfront, walked up the waterfront, and then took the Lenora Street elevator up to First Avenue, where we browsed around Cost Plus World Market for a bit, then walked back to Pike Place Market, where we bought a bunch of produce. I really like getting my produce there, especially with the local-focus of the place -- although I should try and find out where some of it comes from during the winter months. Local vendors are one thing, but I can't imagine the bananas we purchased were grown anywhere in Washington. I should do some more research about this.

The rest of the weekend, in addition to our Friday Night Date Night, was pretty much spent just hanging out with Shobhit. We watched several episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, these from the second season, and I am already convinced it is one of the best, if not the best sitcom in history. With a few exceptions (notably the separate beds), I'm astonished by how well most of the episode plots play even today, more than 45 years later. There are shows only ten years old that come across as far more dated. What makes the difference, of course, is excellent writing.


I think I'm moving closer to coming to terms with my mortality. I'm not there yet, but I'm closer. I don't know what caused the shift, really, but for some reason I finally realized that when and how I die doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact that I'm going to -- death is the only future every one of us has in common. In the end, it's the only future we all have!

Of course, I'd still rather die later than sooner, but ultimately, in the grant scheme of the universe, whether I die of a stroke at 52 or at the ripe old age of 125, the whole of time and space doesn't give a shit. I kind of need to learn not to give a shit either. After all, once my time comes, I'm not going to care anymore, because I won't be alive to care!

I've already told myself this or something similar many times before, but somehow it finally seems to be making an impact -- perhaps because of my putting it into the context of the history of time. In the history of the universe, not even the seemingly extraordinary experience of being me and only me and no one else really means anything at all.

I have no idea why, but for some reason this actually makes me feel better about the possible ramifications of Peak Oil, which many people are convinced (not necessarily with sound reason) will ultimately result in worldwide catastrophe so grand that billions will die. I'm not sure why we should think it will have to come to that, but even if it does -- when my time comes, at least I can say my life was good while it lasted.

Besides, there's always hope if you know where to look. (Frankly, I think most people who are convinced there is no hope are lazy and aren't bothering to see the obvious.) Consider this article I found, about the potential of fusion energy: It certainly offers no promises, but it does offer hope, and it counters the alarmists who insist we've gone far beyond the point of any technological advances saving our society. Whatever! The only people who never succeed are the ones who believe success is impossible. Duh!

I don't know why I get spooked so easily in recent years -- from the 2002 film Signs (easily the most pathetic example; it's not like there's much chance we'll actually get harvested by hungry aliens) to Cormack McCarthy's 2006 book The Road to Peak Oil. It bothers me that I seem so susceptible to this stuff, particularly when I generally consider myself to be a well-reasoned person. The Chicken Littles of the world never ushered in any eras of great progress, so I really need to stop walking that walk.


I just got some news from Laney about certain songs that Sensible Shoes will be performing in the spring Seattle Women's Chorus concert, and it's gotten me excited beyond all reason.

And I thought I was a well-reasoned person!

All I can say is, I know it's going to be awesome. AWESOME, I say! I am so there.





positive energy please