I’ve been watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee as of late. Why now? Because it recently became available on Netflix, of course. Netflix is to me like Fox News is to our president. If you want to get something planted into my consciousness, put it on Netflix, and I’ll probably have moderately coherent talking points formulated by the next business day. The trick is making sure my consciousness is, well, conscious.
Not surprisingly, the show has been everything I’d hoped it would be. I love Seinfeld, I love comedians, cars are fine, and I now sorta like coffee (as this story can attest to). I just never watched it before because…wait, no, it wasn’t on HBO, was it? Wasn’t it already free online? Why didn’t I watch it then? Or did I already? I’m having a hard time regulating my train of thought…I hope I didn’t hit my head last time I blacked out.
Why do I like coffee now? Not totally sure. I’ve always loved the smell of it, but the taste never matched my expectations. I mean, when I smell a good pot roast cooking in the kitchen, I know that it’s going to taste similarly and probably just as good as it smells. Likewise, bacon on the griddle…that’s going to rock my world. But coffee? Are you sure this is the thing that was making that smell I liked? I’m not convinced.
So why do I like it? Maybe Seinfeld’s show subliminally activates the caffeine receptors in the brain. If anyone else was suddenly stricken with a coffee craving for the first time in their life after watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, please PM me…I have so many questions.
I’ve been getting rides from people lately, mostly to work but also sometimes to grocery stores, barber shops, sporting goods stores, stuff like that. You know, on account of me not driving and whatnot. Since I’m not driving, other people have been carting me around like an alcoholic who got caught operating while doing what they do best, being under the influence. Or like a double leg amputee for whom driving would clearly be a huge logistical nightmare. Or like a person who has recently been losing consciousness and has been told by doctors it would be unsafe to drive when they might suddenly pass out and run into oncoming traffic. That’s fair.
I think I got ahead of myself. I should have explained why I like coffee now. So I was in the ER about a month ago, and they’re like “You’re really full,” and I’m like “full of what?” and they’re like “you know, full of…” and I’m like “shit?” and they’re like “yeah, literally.” Probably the antibiotics…I’d been on them for almost six weeks at the time, and they weren’t kind. I’m not normally a fan of antibiotics, but in this case I didn’t have much of a choice (story for another day).
So the next morning I said to my brother, “Teach me how to make a coffee.”
And so we went through the process, water in the thing, three scoops of the good-smelling, ground-up bean stuff, and then an “on” switch, I think. Percolating … percolating … percolating. Then it was time to try to fix that flavor problem…scoop of butter melted in, some MCT oil, a little vanilla, almond milk (I told you I don’t really like coffee). Finally, into the blender it went, and out came this awesome, frothy, warm, wonderful smelling stuff that would probably taste like dirt. But it was okay.
Speaking of my brother, after I passed out the first time, I woke up and could tell he was standing behind me, holding my head up. My mom and stepdad were walking around talking on phones. My neck hurt a lot. What the hell was going on? It was pretty obvious brother was trying to ask me questions to keep me “online.” I felt like a silly science experiment, but sure, I’ll play along (as I laughed in my head). What day is it? Duh, it’s…um…huh. I don’t know. I mean, I know the question, but I’m not…I don’t know…I don’t really feel good.
After drinking my third ever cup of coffee, the one that kind of tasted okay, I was compelled to buy my own. I didn’t really know what I was looking for. There were bags and cans. I wondered if there was liquid coffee in them or just the good-smelling, ground-up stuff. Some of the bags felt lumpier than the others. I couldn’t feel anything through the cans, but I shook them. The labels talked about different kinds of “roasts.” Odd…I didn’t remember ovens being involved when my brother taught me.
I got an Italian one. That seemed to make sense. Smelled like coffee. I made it twice one day, and that was a bad idea. Every ambient sound in my house convinced me that I was about to be the victim of some horribly violent burglary and/or murder. After about four hours, though, the caffeine began to wear off, and I started to relax a bit. After another two hours, I walked out from behind my front door and put the golf club away. Two more hours later I went to bed. Ninety minutes later I fell asleep.
When I stuck to just drinking coffee in the morning, just one time, I liked it.
I wound up in the ER a second time, not quite two weeks ago. That time I passed out at a friend’s place after playing guitar and singing. I was told if it happened again I was supposed to go in, so I did, but at the time I was more worried I was freaking out my friend, so I just kept apologizing a lot. I really had thought that the first incident was just a fluke, so it was weird waking up on the floor and realizing it had happened again. Evidently this was a “thing” now. I got to stay overnight in the hospital that time. Also, I knew what day it was when they asked me. Progress.
So I’m riding to work with this friend of mine, and it suddenly dawns on me that this is much like the show I’ve been watching lately. It’s me with a different person in a different car every day driving to work for about twenty minutes, just the length of an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. And it was kind of cool, you know, getting these sort of diverse commuting experiences at slightly different times each day with slightly different topics of conversation and different company with different personalities.
The thing is, I kind of thought it was going to be a pain, you know, trying to schedule a ride to and from work every day, relying on everyone else despite being the independent person that I am, but it’s added this new excitement to my mornings and late afternoons, a chance to connect a little bit with people I like for one “episode” each day. And it goes well with a cup of coffee (for the morning ride only, not the afternoon).
On the second night in the hospital, they encouraged me to get up and walk around the floor a bit, which was nice because I don’t know how long it takes to get bedsores, but they don’t sound any more appealing than bedbugs. I had to have a nurse assistant walk around with me, however, since I was on “seizure watch.” She was pretty cool, though…she helped get me a sweet pair of scrub pants and wrap my IV so I could shower and clean up my smelly ass. I’d much rather sleep in my own bed, but this was a lot less stressful than the previous night.
Did I explain why I’m not driving yet? Cripes! You must be so confused. Don’t worry, I am too. I’m not driving because the doctors told me not to. I mean, the doctors don’t want me to drive because it’s potentially dangerous. I mean, if I black out while behind the wheel, I could hurt myself, maybe even other people (which would honestly be much, much worse).
My first appointment after leaving the hospital was with a cardiologist, and it was mostly a whirlwind of confusion. It lasted all of maybe five minutes and basically went like this:
Cardiologist: I don’t think it’s your heart, your heart is fine, but you can’t drive for six months, it’s the law, and I’m sending you to see another heart doctor, but I don’t think it’s your heart.
Me: (Silent Brett)
Oh! Now I remember…I was going to mention that I’d been passing out lately. Or did I say that? Probably…I think I said it, but maybe I didn’t explain it. Possibly because I can’t explain it to myself entirely, nor can the medical folk yet, but it seems as though we’re getting close. It may also begin to explain a lot of the things I’ve written about and struggled with here for the last few years, the physical ones anyway. That’s been my hope, but now it’s starting to seem more like a probability rather than a possibility.
Whatever it is, potassium, heart rate, and blood flow appear to be playing a role. And coconut water seems to help. I got that much for you. I feel a little more stable now. Not too many days ago I wasn’t really sure if and when “it” might happen again. I got close during breakfast with my friends; I was looking for the softest place to fall until I drank some water and then, thankfully, got my plate of food. And later that day, after playing a guitar for maybe ten minutes…and the day before while carrying a box in Walmart…a few other times after walking up stairs.
My mom (and acting Uber driver) was actually able to clear up the confusion on the “heart doctor” thing. This second “heart doctor” is actually an electrophysiologist, which is a totally different kind of “heart doctor.” So it’s not my heart, but it could be my heart. The heart as a muscle is fine, it’s not clogged or anything, but it might not always be running the right software program, going off the proper schedule, following the right marching orders. Evidently all that comes down to balances in sodium and potassium, the 1’s and 0s’ of heart programming. If this new “heart doctor” doesn’t have answers, I might call Bill Gates; I hear he’s very charitable these days.
It’s been a solid week now that the coconut water “EpiPen” has been quelling my consciousness allergy; it’s not quite the required six months, but it’s a start. Although it’s a little exhausting right now, I made it through a full work week, which normally isn’t exciting, but “normal” becomes exciting when you haven’t seen its once-familiar face for a while.
Hopefully the worst part of all this is just the anxiety. Perhaps that’s why I’ve woken up in the middle of the night (pre-coconut water days) with my heart punching my ribs and my body shaking like I’m about to go on stage in front of ten thousand people. Nevertheless, I seem to have an engaged audience in the medical community now, which really is the silver lining in the story. And the more people I talk to the more it seems that I’m on the right track, electrophysiologically speaking, that my next stop might be the finish line, or at least the last lap of this medical marathon.
After years of spinning my wheels, now that I’m riding in someone else’s car, I feel as though I’m finally going somewhere, like work with a friend, or maybe coffee with comedians. That sounds pretty good right now.