Pardon me while I gasp for air

“For, with a ship’s gear, as well as a sailor’s wardrobe, fine weather must be improved to get ready for the bad to come.”
Richard Henry Dana Jr., Two Years Before the Mast: A Sailor’s Life at Sea

Call me “somewhat concerned” with my deterioration during and after naval service.  Thirty years ago, I was prescribed steroids for some medical issues.  Twenty years ago, my appendix ruptured at the start of the Labor Day weekend holiday.  I was recuperating for a month.  I started to put on weight (happily-married weight) ten years ago.   And three  years ago, after getting too obsessed with cycling exercise, using clipless pedals  I fell and broke my wrist  in three places.  A year ago, I self-diagnosed that an annual or semi-annual trip to the ER  ( for ten years) was due to a food allergy to capsaicin.  Now that I have sworn off the spicy food or food containing bell peppers I ate for more than 30 years I am not poisoning myself.

This year I seem to have been crushed by flu and colds.  First year in three that I didn’t get a flu vaccine.   Congestion and nasal drip that chokes me at night will persist for a month, then off for a month or two and then come back just to be annoying.   With some of the crazy medical issues I’ve encountered over my life,  I don’t understand how I don’t have anemia like my late mother ( and low blood pressure)  Nor do I have high blood pressure or a  brain tumor like my late father (in his twenties).  Instead,  I find myself obsessed with breathing.

I always associated breathing problems with asthma, chain-smokers, or the people who live in horribly polluted environments.   I visited Samsun, Turkey one winter while in the Navy, and the coal smoke was literally down to waist-level height by the port . (And they were chain smokers as well.)    I only in the last couple years started smoking the occasional cigar figuring that after age 50,  would take twenty or thirty years to harm me. I probably now have only smoked a half dozen cigars in six months. In the next six months I will quit entirely.    I am very aware that my more sedentary life outside of the Navy renders me more susceptible to ills.   An article I read online tells me a healthier diet and exercise will counter the phlegm that is making breathing at night a chore.

Of course, I may have to cough up a lung or two exercising in my deteriorated state, to get healthier.

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