Like the trains in Tokyo and the trams in Holland, I'm on time. Regular. Steady as she goes.
When I was fifteen, my heart galloped away from its normal rhythms when my junior varsity teammates and I were taking layups before the big game. THE big game. The stands were full because the Oostburg/Cedar Grove game was a family feud. We were the Flying Dutchmen; that they were the Rockets didn't change the DNA. They were just as Dutch. It was almost brother against brother, an uncivil war.
I'm nervous, and boom, my heart goes off. I tell the coach that something's wrong and he points me to the locker room. Not amazingly, our family doctor was in the crowd. He comes in, checks me out, says I'll be okay once it stops. It's no big deal, he says. Sometime later, I went into his office, and he told me it wasn't a dangerous condition. "You're heart just takes off on you once in a while," he said. "It'll keep you from getting drafted."
It did. But the condition stayed, and I've had all of my life. Not long ago, an EKG's mad patterns told my own doctor that my ticker had become "irregularly irregular." I didn't love the condition, but the description was wonderful. Made me feel like Thoreau, a different drummer or whatever.
"You've got a chaotic heart," he told me. I thought that description was precious too.
But the madness was enough for him to send me to a specialist, who seconded all the improper motions and put me on some drugs, told me to get weekly EKGs, and sent me off. I'd likely have to have a procedure called an ablation, he said, something shocking to get the heart back on time.
But, lo and behold, somehow the drugs did the trick. Like I said, I'm on time now again, my hearts about as regular as my kidneys. No shocking ablation required.
And for that, this morning--and for health itself--I'm thankful. No sweat coming up with the goods this a.m., the good news is my heart's steaming along right on time.
So anyway, the cardiologist asks if I've got any problems. I tell him no. The only thing is, I say, if I skip a pill or two--if I forget--I can feel a flutter, enough to remind me I've forgotten.
"Okay, then," he said, with a slight roll of the eyes, "just don't forget."
Last night, a half dozen hours after the free pass already, I forgot.
I wonder if there's a pill for that.