M Thomas Apple Author Page

Science fiction, actual science, history, and personal ranting about life, the universe, and everything

The beating of my hideous heart!

February 11, 2018

So much for my New Year’s resolution of writing more regularly on my blog.

I can blame “writer’s block,” which is sometimes just a convenient excuse for general laziness and sometimes stems from a genuine fear of being entirely uncreative and uninnovative.

(My software program tells me that uninnovative is not a real word. Well, now it is. So there.)

But my most recent bout of writer’s block is at least partially related to work-related stress and insomnia. Whenever I start to feel that I have too much to do and too much to think about, I have trouble sleeping, which leads to an even greater sense that I have too much to do and too much to think about.

So as a result, I wind up doing not much on the whole. Which of course gets me stressed out because I’m not accomplishing any of my goals and tasks (of which I have too much, which is what made me insomniac and led to my not doing anything productive…).

But for the first time this past week I could hear my heart beating. Faster. Faster. Late at night. Echoing in my ears. Faster. Pounding against my ribs. Thud. Thud. Faster. Body shaking. Faster.

And so I would get out of bed, creep downstairs, and watch hours of old SF vids buried on a backup HD. Which of course gets me depressed, thinking, “It’s all been done before, none of my ideas are new, why am I wasting my time trying to write SF?”

And then stay up til 3 and head back to bed. To hear the thudding, pounding, hideous heart. Surely my wife next to me could hear it. Surely this was keeping her awake, too.

Of course not. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud.

Last week I even went to the hospital and sought medical advice, I was worried my heart rate had accelerated so much.

Feeling fine on the way there, just a short fifteen minute walk downtown. Getting a ticket, filling out forms, sitting for half an hour in a giant open waiting room, the 54″ flat screen perched high on the wall to my right. The morning insipid talk show.

I could feel my heart begin to tremble. Thud. Thud. Chest shaking. Faster. Faster. I tried to breathe deeply. Inhale. Hold. Exhale. Thud. Thud. Staggering to my feet when called, bringing my bag and coat under one arm.

The doctor calmly checked my blood pressure and pulse, then sent me to another room to have my heart rhythm tested using an electro-cardiogram machine. The kind where they stick tiny suction cups to your chest and put clamps on your ankles and wrists. Hooked up to a battery. Like jumpstarting your car.

I went back to the sneezing and hacking filled waiting room with the insipid TV. Thud. Thud. Thud.

The diagnosis?

It’s all in my head. No high blood pressure. Normal heart rate. No irregularities.

The advice?

“Get more sleep.”

Well, damn.

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