C.J. poked me today.
Mr Cann, just checking in to see if you’re fine? Feel I’m going to worry that something random and terrible has happened any time there isn’t a blog post often enough!
No kidding. She’s not the only one. Last Wednesday, I went to a spin class at the Y. As I wiped the sweat from my bike after class, the fire alarm rang. We spinners filed out the back door and trudged around the building to the parking lot. Saying our goodbyes, two fire trucks and an ambulance rolled in. We talked for a few more minutes. I worried about getting trapped in the lot if more emergency vehicles arrived, so I headed home.
When I arrived, Susan was on the phone with Eli. “Oh, never mind, he just walked in.” After hearing the sirens, Eli saw online that there was an emergency at the Y. Susan sent him over to see if it was me. It’s always me. I decided to write a post before others started checking in.
I planned to write a humor piece today called Uzgreenlandistan. An update to my 2018 post about my efforts to conquer the blogging world, my goal to fill up the map of all the countries that have visited my blog. But then I realized I’ve made almost no progress over the past four years. My map now looks almost identical to the map I copied when I wrote that post.
Still no visits from Greenland and Svalbard, ditto for Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Does any of this surprise you? I can’t imagine anything I might have in common with people living in those countries. Like I doubt they’re interested in lawn care or the Adams County Composite Mountain Bike Team (is anyone?). I did learn a few interesting facts though. Svalbard has a population of 2,642 people. They last counted in 2012—ten years ago. It occurs to me that someone could probably knock out a census on a Saturday afternoon, so I’m not sure why it’s been so long since the last one.
One country I gained since my 2018 post is called the U.S. Outlying Islands. They officially register only three hundred residents, although that was last tallied in 2009. Give me a break, with such a small population, I think they could just keep a running total on a sign at the dock. Every time someone arrives or leaves for good, the president could line out the number and write a new one.
The real reason I wanted to write this post is to give an update on my allergic reaction from a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday, after a full week of waiting, I received the results of my Alpha-Gal Syndrome test. I’m negative, no allergy to red meat. Surprisingly, this news sent me into a minor depression. After the fact, I realized I liked the simplicity of the Alpha-Gal diagnosis. Don’t eat beef, don’t face a life-threatening episode.
Instead, I have nothing but questions. Since I left the hospital, during every run I’ve taken, I stop and break out my phone to survey my face. I’m convinced my eyes and lips are swelling again. The grass is still blooming, I can smell the pollen on the air. I think about the wooded hikes I’ll take on my upcoming vacation, and the mountain bike trail-riding practices that start in two weeks and I wonder how safe I am.
It’s four-thirty right now. I’ve been up and writing for an hour and a half. My sleep patterns took a huge hit over the past two weeks. At first, I chalked it up to the steroids I took for the first five days out of the hospital. But that stopped ten days ago. Last night I woke up countless times, a few times on the hour, and sometimes fifteen minutes apart. I finally packed it in because drinking coffee seemed more pleasant than tossing and turning in bed.
I seem to be a bit traumatized. Yes, this surprises me. My stay in the hospital was brief, and my interactions with medical staff were upbeat and lighthearted. But something now weighs on me and gnaws at my brain. I feel the need to chastise myself for the fragility I’m displaying, but I know that does me no good. Better in the long run to dig in and analyze what’s going on.
I scheduled allergy testing for mid-July, the earliest I could find in a sixty mile-radius. Maybe then I’ll get a few answers and some guidelines on how to stay safe.