The Phantom Beep

It Was Driving Me Nuts

It Was Driving Me Nuts

It happened yesterday morning at work. Every 30 seconds, like clockwork, I would hear a beep. At first I thought it was the microwave in our office kitchen, but it continued to happen. Then I thought it was our HP 9050 copier. In fact, I identified the sound as coming from the rear left of the sorter. At that point, I called LaserCare to send out a rep to shut off the beep. He came out and checked out the machine, but he couldn’t figure out the source.

Around this time, I went to the other side of the office and heard it coming from around there. First I suspected the secretary’s laser printer, but it continued after I unplugged out. Then my attention was drawn to the smoke alarms overhead. I called the Office of the Building, and they sound out a technician to check it out. After he informed me that the alarms were not battery operated, I had an awful suspicion.

The beeps were coming from me!

After I had a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) a couple of weeks ago, the UCLA Cardiology Department fitted me with an event monitor “just in case.” While I was wearing the unit on my belt, the cable connection from the unit to the contact points on my chest had worked loose. Partly, it was because the plastic tab connecting the unit to my belt had gotten stretched.

So now I wear the unit in a small digital camera case. The only problem is that there is a visible wire that emerges from the case and disappears into my shirt. When people notice it, I warn them to be careful of what they say because I’m wearing a wire….

(Almost) Never at a Loss for Words

Ho I Wound Up in the Emergency  Room This Weekend

How I Wound Up in the Emergency Room This Weekend

It all started at work 45 minutes before quitting time. Our deranged boss had left, and I was chatting with one of the accountants about accommodations and food service at Death Valley National Park.

All of a sudden, although I knew very well what I wanted to say, it all came out as inarticulate babbling of the village idiot variety. For about three minutes, I could not translate my thoughts into words. That frankly freaked me out. The accountant suggested I call 9-1-1, which is exactly what I did. Within twenty minutes, I was hauled out of my workplace in a gurney and taken by ambulance to UCLA Medical Center, which is only about five blocks away.

No sooner was I wheeled into the emergency room than I was surrounded by doctors questioning me and testing my reactions. I thought I had suffered a mild stroke, but there was no drooping of one side of my face or difference how I felt being touched on my right or my left. I was asked to touch my nose, touch the doctor’s finger. (Fortunately he did not ask me to pull it.) The tests kept on for several hours and were even resumed this morning. UCLA is a teaching hospital, and my case appeared to be a good instructional vehicle.

I was given an MRI scan, X-Rayed, electrocardiogramed, and marinated. in olive oil The upshot was that I had not in fact suffered a stroke, but merely a temporary clot that had deprived me of the ability to speak and be understood. The whole thing lasted only about three minutes. By the time the Fire Department paramedics came, I was able to pronounce terms like panhypopituitarism and chromophobe adenoma without batting an eyelash.

The way I see it, I was once again nicked ever so slightly by the Grim Reaper’s scythe as it whooshed by me and hit someone else. What I had was called a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). I know  now that I have to watch my step carefully. The next whoosh of the scythe could wind up removing my head from my shoulders.