“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.