Slice of Chaotic Life

The daily life of a celibate middle-aged man.

Archive for the ‘Slice of life’ Category


Posted by Itlandm on October 5, 2014

Lately I have seen a bunch of small insect bites again, and the other day there were a number of blood smears on my bed sheet. I changed it, but yesterday morning I woke up from something in my ear. I scratched it and caught a flattish insect which matched the Wikipedia picture of a bedbug. I put it in a pill bottle for later study, if necessary. Turning on bright light, I saw another of them scurrying away, and followed its direction to the nest. There was a small hole in the ceiling in one corner, and about two dozen bedbugs were hiding nearby.  I killed those I could find. I moved my bed to the other end of the room and changed my bedclothes again.

This morning there was one adult and one juvenile bedbug in my bed. I am not sure whether they managed to hitch a ride with the bed or crossed the room. Well, it is better than having dozens of them feasting on me.

The normal response would be to throw away most of my stuff and live in a hotel while the place got disinfected. But that would be a monumental waste of money as long as I share an old, leaky house with a bunch of people from a low-hygiene culture. I shall have to throw away my stuff if I live to move to a house without asylum seekers one day. Not buying any new bedroom furniture in the meantime, let’s say.

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Disturbing dream

Posted by Itlandm on September 6, 2014

This morning I woke from one of my weirdest dreams. I have had stranger dreams, of flying and teleporting and time traveling and various other unlikely things. But this was … disturbing. And not in a sexy way.

In my dream, I was with friends in the Faith. I am not sure what faith it was, and I can’t remember my friends there after I woke up; they may have been local to the dream. We were by the seashore. From where the dream started there was a short walk down to the actual shore, where there was a small beach in a narrow bay. I was at two minds about going there. The thing was, there was a pretty solid rumor that from there you could go directly to Heaven.

Well, more exactly, you would get a light-body. That is to say, your body would be transformed into a body of pure light and pass on to the other world. While no one had come back from there, many had seen others of the Faith transform into light-bodies and then fade out of this world.

I rather liked living in this world and would prefer to do so for some decades yet. On the other hand, I was not entirely sure of my afterlife if I died, and sooner or later that was going to happen anyway. If I got a light-body, then it was pretty obvious what direction I was headed. And if my friends got one and I did not, well, then it was obviously time for some serious repentance. So I reasoned that overall it was probably best to go with them, but not be the first in line.

And indeed, a while after we arrived at the shore, the first who waded into the water began to glow. We all watched their bodies changing into pure transparent light, rising from the sea and fading from this world. The rest of us began to follow them, and one by one became changed.

But before it was quite my turn, I found it difficult to breathe, and woke up. I cleared my throat and turned over on the side, but immediately returned to the same dream. Except … for a brief heartbeat or two as I descended back into the dreamworld, I saw something else than I had seen while I was there. I saw bodies in the water. The bodies of my friends who had gone first, the ones I had seen changing into a new form while still alive. For a moment I saw them lifeless in the sea. And it occurred to me that what I was seeing was not what was really happening, but what I expected and believed and hoped. Trapped in a narrative we were dying in an illusion, and we did not know any more than we ever had done what would happen after our death.

Then I was back in the dream fully, seeing my friend being transformed into light. I waded deeper into the water. How deep was it really? It was getting harder to breathe again. And once again I woke up, gasping for breath, and once again I returned to the dream. But by now I was aware that I was dreaming, that I was trapped in an illusion, and it occurred to me that if I passed over in the dream, I would also do so in real life. Being in no hurry to test the afterlife for real, I withdrew from the sea, and once that decision was made I woke up.  I stayed half awake until the portal to that particular dream closed, then went back to sleep for a while.


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Slow and steadily slower

Posted by Itlandm on July 12, 2014

I have experimented with the dosage of the beta blocker I received after I was briefly hospitalized earlier this summer with a fairly severe arrhythmia. I was asked to start with 1 tablet of 25 mg metoprolol (depot) per day, which is well below the usual therapeutic dosage of 4 up to 8 tablets. Then again almost everything in my life is a counter-indicator for betablockers, except only for the occasional arrhythmia (imagine the skip-a-beat part of drinking ungodly amounts of coffee, then multiply the chaos with 20)  and also occasional tachycardia (racing heart). Blood pressure is nice, blood vessels are wide open and relaxed, and resting heart rate is … slow. Slooooow.

I started reacting three years ago when I found resting heart rate was below 60, which is considered abnormal if you are not exercising. Not necessarily dangerous, but definitely weird. And I have not been exercising since I was in grade school, and finally got into my thick head that I was born with exercise asthma and running or jumping caused me to gasp for breath for a long time.  Unsurprisingly, most of the asthmatics I know tend to be on the chubby side (and up) and are prone to high blood pressure and high heart rates. After all, even people who don’t exercise will have spent their younger years horsing around, but people like me could never do that.  So if my heart rate had been above 80, I would have reluctantly accepted it. This was just weird.

Over the next year, it continued to slide to 55, where it stayed for a good while. Then further down to 50. Which was creepy, but I survived. Now?  Just over 40. I am not sure if my body is ridiculously slow in flushing metoprolol out of my system (I reduced the dose to half and then waited 24 hours, no difference) or whether this is my new permanent resting heart rate after the arrhythmia episode. In fact, I am not even sure if it came after that episode or before it (and maybe even caused it).  What I know is that it is patently absurd that I should have the resting pulse of a national level athlete when all I do is walk. (Admittedly I do walk typically 2-3 hours a day during work days, a little less on weekends, but it is still walking.)

So if I keep living, will my pulse be 35? 30? 25? I am pretty sure there are limits to how slowly a heart can beat and still do its job. But for now, it works fine when I don’t get one of my rare attacks. Weeks go by and I am not weak or dizzy or easily tired. It seems perfectly natural. But it is not. I am not 100% sure something is wrong, but I am 100% sure something is weird.

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Heart rate gears

Posted by Itlandm on June 29, 2014

In today’s exciting (physical) heart adventures: Took a walk and as usual lately, my pulse was about 15 beats lower than it used to be. So I decided to give it a boost by walking up the stairs to Uranienborg, the vantage point atop a cliff in the middle of town. The climb is about 60 meters up, with stairs and plenty of platforms, and I walked slowly. By my calculations a pulse of 120 would be safe – 135 is what I used to get to without getting winded. I may have miscalculated, because at 117 it started to climb on its own, even if I stopped and started walking slowly downward again. My pulse continued up to 175 and stuck there a little while.

I am at home now (at 18:00), and heart rate is close to 90 while sitting, a bit of a change from just above 50 the last few days. It certainly justifies my claim that my heart has only two gears: Too Slow, and Too Fast.

I m feeling weak and drained, as if I have been working hard and long. But my heartbeat is quite regular, as far as I can sense, and I can to some degree influence it by meditation-like mind states. For the time being, I am letting it run its course. Yesterday after walking till my legs were tired, my heart returned to resting rate as soon as my skinny butt hit the chair. At least the way it is now, there should be plenty of blood flowing through my body, which my muscles and other tissues can use to recharge.

Edit to add: At 23 (11 in the night) my heart rate is below 60 again. It seems to have slowed down most quickly at first and then more and more gradually. Well, that is to be expected. It is as if my heart rate broke through some barrier that kept it down, and then gradually returned.

I wonder if the “long tail” of the event was partly because the episode still had some power to scare me. I know my heart rate is high for several hours after a credible threat to my health, like the time that guy threatened to break my kneecaps. Mind and body are not really separate, at least not while we are alive. That is also why I could calm my heart once it came within a range where I recognize the feeling of its speed. I could not do that when it was racing full speed, and not during the fairly long episode of random flapping on the 11th. I actually tried repeatedly to control my body using the normal techniques, but could not get a grasp of it.

If there was a safe environment for me to trigger the faster ranges of heart level, I might become able to yoke them to my mind and control them. But as it is now, once the heart range passes beyond my level of normal experience, it goes off on its own, like a half-tame bird fleeing its cage and not returning until it feels like it.

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Insect bites and Cola Zero

Posted by Itlandm on June 20, 2014

7:15 PM: I probably have some body-wide infection: I am feeling weak as if I have worked too hard for too long (I haven’t at all) and my heart rate is 90-100 instead of 50-60 when sitting. Temperature is only slightly elevated though, 37.6 instead of 37.

This is not at all a similar feeling to the racing heart episodes, which are local to the heart and more sudden and intense.

There are no respiratory symptoms and no extraordinary digestive disturbances. I have what seems to be a few infected insect bites on my lower right leg though. But I have those often, insects like to bite through my socks.

I also drank perhaps half a glass of Cola Zero today, something I have not done before. That was around 4 PM, the non-local symptoms started around 5 and peaked around 7. So if I believed in the fantasies about aspartame, I would totally blame that. But science. Well, I suppose if I get better, I can do my own science by drinking it again and see if I get sick again. Infections are a lot less controllable.

Come to think of it, I also drank a cup of warm broth around the same time as the Cola Zero. But it is not years since I’ve been drinking that, just months.

10:30 PM: Heart rate down to around 80, and each beat is much more quiet. So it seems the acute response is waning.

00:30 : Heart rate under 70, so not far from normal. Taking another half tablet of Metoprolol, took one half when I came home from work and my heart was beating hard and fast. Did not really notice much difference then. Temperature is also down to normal. So my body seems to have gone back to normal, except for a slight headache and the tickling feeling on my leg in the general vicinity of the insect bites (some inches around them).

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Ingress journal: Feet and portals

Posted by Itlandm on November 3, 2013

After I got a “smartwatch”, it keeps me informed of how much I walk each day, among other things. It turns out that I need to walk upward of 15 kilometers a day from portal to portal in order to keep my green empire from decaying. The lowest amount of walking is when I am in Kristiansand, where there are a lot of portals in the Wergeland park, around the cathedral and the town plaza. If I traverse this cluster systematically, I get a truckload of XM, enough to recharge a good number of resonators. Unfortunately there are no other clusters nearby, although there is one in another part of downtown, so the optimal harvesting route includes visiting these two alternately. However, I must usually visit a number of other portals to redeploy, since I simply don’t have enough XM to recharge more than the highest level resonators. Otherwise I would have to walk something like 25 kilometers a day.

I did in fact walk 25 kilometers one day. The next day one of my toes was hurting. I don’t think that is a coincidence. It kept getting worse for a couple days. The first day I walked 10 km, the next 5, and then 15 as it started to improve. Today I’ve walked 18 km, and started feeling the pain after around 15. So I can probably not keep walking 25 km a day, fun as that might be. I am simply not that young anymore.

Make no mistake, the reason I preside over dozens and dozens of portals is not that I am high level – it actually gets harder to maintain portals the higher level they are, because higher level resonators take more XM to recharge – but rather, I can do this because of my dedication. You can get to some portals by car, sure, but most aren’t in a place where you can conveniently stop. So unless you’re dedicated enough to walk the distance, you’ll always be short on XM, and there’s not much you can do about it.

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Unexpected weight loss

Posted by Itlandm on October 20, 2013

Already early in the past week I found that my morning weight was down to 82 kg. That is not sensational – it amounts to a BMI of 23, which is near the middle of the recommended or “normal” range. (Normal in the 1970, when the average person was smoking.) Of course, now that I am there, Real Life has been patched so the lowest mortality is actually in the overweight range, from 25 to 30. But I am sure my doctor would be enthusiastic if he learned of this. I was 89 kg when he started worrying about me and diabetes (seeing how I had two diabetes 2 parents) and I was diagnosed with “pre-diabetes”, an asymptomatic diagnosis. (One may wonder whether the word diagnosis even applies to a condition that does not harm, but only has a potential for developing into a harmful condition later. But unlike some of these “pre” diagnoses, this one at least is not currently peddling some pharmacological product, but is treated with exercise and moderation in eating. This gives it some more credibility, I’d say.

My doctor was happy when I was down to 84 (or was it 85?) kg, I think he was mostly worried that I would gain weight, as humans tend to do at my age. Well, at almost any age lately. I was also quite happy to stop there, because I was down to 82 kg at the end of 2005, after the great illness of that year, and I did not like it. I was hungry all the time. I would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to sleep until I had eaten something. After stuffing my stomach full, my brain was still hungry. But this time it is the other way around. My brain is sated even as my stomach gnaws and knots itself with hunger. I assume the brain’s contentedness comes from the blood sugar, while some other mechanism based on the fat reserves is steering my stomach. There are at least two separate mechanisms in the brain, but I am still not sure why they have reversed effects since 2005.

At the end of the week, I was down to 81.7, which is the lowest I have seen since I bought the bathroom scales back in the 1980es. And the thing is, I didn’t mean to do this. I meant to stop at 84, but somehow I am still losing weight. I eat as much as I want (and enough that I am bothered by acid reflux when I go to bed unless I take care) but I still have to tighten my belt now and again. I don’t really think this is a sign of some horrible hidden disease, although you never know. I more suspect excessive Ingress playing. My new mobile phone counts my steps, and on a normal weekday that’s about 16000. Given that I have an office job, that’s rather a lot, isn’t it? And most of it is spent Ingressing. So until I see anything else, I suspect that’s where my fat is evaporating.

And of course, having big sores in my mouth does not encourage eating just for fun. But I am hungry enough often enough that I stuff myself with something liquid instead, like yogurt or Pepsi. I have not heard that Pepsi (with cane sugar) is a weight loss drug, exactly. So probably Ingress.

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Health: My flame is burning lower

Posted by Itlandm on August 22, 2013

I was staying up longer tonight, my guts being more active than they should be at this time of the night. Eventually I was feeling unpleasantly cold, so went to bed. As I laid down, I could feel my heartbeat. It was slow. Very slow. Curious and slightly worried, I grabbed the smartphone by my bedside and ran the heart rate checker. It showed 46 beats per minute. The shock of seeing the number so low made my heart speed up to over 50. Light knows what it was before I noticed. But it was really slow.

A low resting pulse is usually a sign of very good health, but in my case it is entirely out of proportion.  To have a resting pulse like this – and it was even slower when I first noticed – I would have to be a national-level athlete. But I have never even run the 60-meter, because of my exercise asthma. It is like my heart lives its own life (and not in a romantic sense). It beats slower and slower for each passing year, if not month. If it continues this way, there will be a point where it stops entirely.

Of course, there have been those other times when it sped up, sometimes to above what should be its maximum. As we said about the horse back on my childhood’s farm: It had only two gears, too slow and too fast. I thought that was funny, but not so much when it is my heart which my life depends on.

That said, it’s been a good time. I just don’t want it to stop for no good reason.

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Health challenge: Migraine, I hope

Posted by Itlandm on August 10, 2013

I have never before had migraine in the night – the only trigger has ever been reading in intense light, either direct sunlight or lightly cloudy. But tonight I started to get bright shining colors in my field of vision at 1 AM, just before I was supposed to go to bed. This worried me a bit since it did not follow the usual pattern, and I briefly wondered if it was something else, like a stroke or a tumor. But acting on the most likely explanation, I put on 1Hz brainwave entrainment. The aura soon stopped growing, then faded, and I fell asleep in my chair.

I am not sure what would have happened had not my Ingress alert woken me up 45 minutes or so later. But it did. At first I had only a slight headache, but it has grown stronger since, and I am not also queasy. At least in this regard it follows the pattern of a migraine, so that is good.

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A day without blues

Posted by Itlandm on July 25, 2013

No blue portals today! I am glad. I have Ingressed rather moderately, hacked a few portals on my way to work and from work, and a couple times after I came home to recharge the portals here in Mandal.

I am stiff and sore in so many places, and I can’t seem to get enough sleep to regenerate my body as fast as it is worn down. Since there’s no way to go to sleep early (noisy neighbors), I’ll just have to limit the Ingressing. I still have more interests than I have time, so it’s OK.


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