Missing In Action

There was no free edition on Friday, August 22. There were definitely reasons for that, and at first I decided I wasn’t going to say all the reasons why. But after thinking about it, and recovering from the problem I’m about to tell you about, I decided I owed you an explanation.

I was in a pretty bad mood on Friday. I didn’t feel well, and there were no advertisers, who pay the freight to send out 109,000 emails. Usually when that happens, I just pay it myself, but last week there were few upgrades, so I was not feeling very flush. And because I wasn’t feeling well, I was grumpy. “No support? Then forget it!” I thought to myself.

Downhill from There

I went out to dinner with my wife. Even though I was grumpy, we had a nice time. She was quite surprised I had blown off the week’s issue; she had never seen me do that before …because I never have. She’s a good wife, though: she saw I was grumpy and didn’t push it.

But when we got home, I wanted to go to bed — about three hours earlier than usual. “What’s wrong?” she asked. She had asked that before, but her tone of voice communicated she wanted a real answer. I held out my arm and said, “feel my pulse.”

Like me, she’s a medic. She felt my pulse, and I saw her eyebrow go up.

Ain’t Got No Rhythm

I sometimes suffer from non-perfusing PVCs. In layman’s terms, a “pre-ventricular contraction” is a heart rhythm abnormality; when the heart muscle is irritated, often due to excessive stress, it can trigger a premature contraction of the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart.

The ventricle is definitely not where the normal heart pacemaker is. When it fires off way too early, that beat of the heart is ineffective; no blood is pumped, so it’s “non-perfusing.” You can definitely feel it in someone’s pulse; it’s a missed beat. It can be startling.

This is nothing new for me; I get PVCs all the time, including during a cardiac stress test I had a few years ago that confirmed I had a healthy heart. I typically have a few, then they go away. It’s nothing to be concerned about at all. Most people have them from time to time.

But this time, for me, they weren’t going away, and they were frequent.

Myocardial Irritation

Many people who have PVCs can feel them in their chest; they’re called “palpitations.” After hours of this, they were really starting to irritate me. They don’t actually hurt, but they’re …well… irritating after awhile.

Kit checked my blood oxygen level; it was fine. She checked my blood pressure; it was fine. She checked my pulse again; it was …concerning; I normally have a strong, regular pulse.

She begged me to let her call a paramedic. In our house, “calling paramedics” isn’t the same as “calling 911”; she didn’t summon an ambulance, she called my volunteer job boss, the county’s chief paramedic, on his cell. But he was out of state, speaking at a medical conference. So Kit called his deputy at home. By this time it was close to 10:00 p.m. Kit just wanted her to check me out to ensure I wasn’t dying. I knew that already, but a wife likes a second opinion on these things.

“Meet Me There”

So the assistant chief agreed to meet us at the ambulance station, which is 20 minutes away. By the time we arrived everything was set up; I lay down on the gurney and she did a 12-lead EKG on me. It showed what I expected: a fine, healthy heart rhythm — punctuated by frequent PVCs:

This tracing shows just 10 seconds, and there were three PVCs (shown by the arrows). That’s “frequent” to be sure.

“Lead 1” (upper left) gives you the idea that it really is a missed beat; there’s no spike there. The other “leads” show the electrical disturbance of the ectopic beats. When you see it on the heart monitor, there’s no wondering what it is!

By then, it was going on about six hours. The acute treatment: a beta blocker to calm my irritated heart, and a good night’s sleep. I already have those, and took an extra dose; it took a couple of hours for the drug to really take effect, and by the time I got home and settled into bed, I indeed got a good night’s sleep. I took it easy all day Saturday, too.

Not Serious

It wasn’t a “heart attack” or anything to really worry about. It’s a long-term and common problem that was apparently exacerbated by excessive stress, which certainly can be something to worry about. Long term, I need to de-stress and get more exercise.

What stress? Well, it was no picnic to deal with the recent Yahoo debacle and the threat to my business. (I didn’t mention that I got a bunch of mail accusing me of being a spammer — heck, if some yahoo said I was a spammer, then surely I must be! No matter that I’m actually a very vocal anti-spammer and have been for more than 10 years; no matter that spammers don’t list their names, addresses, and phone numbers on their web sites — I do. Etc. But I digress.)

I’ve also got my recently launched video series, my recently re-launched True Stella Awards newsletter, Jumbo Joke, Cranky Customer, Groxx and more — and I run most of it by myself. And there have been a lot of ambulance calls I’ve run on this summer, including last week being first-in for an unconscious 16-month-old near my house. Yep: I’ve been pushing pretty hard lately.

What this is not is an end to True — that’s what I do for a living. I’ve mostly already given up work on Cranky Customer. I’ve got some volunteers to help with Groxx (thanks, folks!), and others helping with the Bonzer Sites write-ups (thanks too!) My new format for the Stella Awards is pretty easy, and I’ve already said I won’t be doing it weekly. And the tourists will be heading home soon, so the ambulance calls will slow down. So mostly, not counting a little crisis with Yahoo here and there, I’m doing OK.

Heads Up for Readers

But, that said, I may cancel the free edition of True from time to time if there are no advertisers to pay for it — I’m going to stop paying for it out of my pocket unless there were a lot of Premium upgrades that week to ease the cash flow. “Free” I don’t mind; it’s the “at Randy’s sole expense” part that needs to stop. So there’s only one way to be sure you get True every week: get a Premium upgrade, since those will continue uninterrupted.

For those who can’t afford an upgrade, I understand, and I’m sorry. But if you can’t afford less than 50 cents/week for that, maybe you’ll understand that I can’t afford over $100 a week to send it to you. If there’s a sponsor or advertiser, I’ll be happy to send it out. But from here on out, the only way to be sure you get True every week is to upgrade.

Meanwhile, I’ll be figuring out what else I can have my assistant do. I’ll be taking more time off, answering less email (but I’ll still read it all). And I’ll be paying even more attention to my wife. Thanks for your support, sweetie!

Medical Update: All Worked Up

The PVCs suddenly went away — as abruptly as they had started. Weird.

Then a few months later, they started again. Then went away again after a few weeks.

After the third time, I went back to the doctor, and he got a local cardiologist to see me asap. The cardiologist did a full workup …and says the condition is benign (and “I have it too!”) It’s only a real concern if the PVCs are 10 percent or more of the heartbeats, which requires intervention.

Blood tests also showed hyperkalemia (hyper=too much, kalium=potassium). That was traced to a supposedly “pure” vitamin C powder I had switched to. I’m mighty irritated that something labeled as “pure” — and meant to be taken in high doses — has something else in it that can cause problems at high doses! I switched out that supplement.

A few weeks later they stopped again. Later, I had an 18-month stretch of them, and they were also getting pretty frequent. Right after my doctor ordered a 48-hour monitor to quantify them (more than 10 percent?) …they stopped again right after my birthday in 2016. Weird for sure, but glad they’ve stopped! A nice birthday present for sure.

Business Update: Long Term Change

Meanwhile, though, I’ve dropped out of non-core activities that have been putting too much on my plate: I’ve stopped Cranky Customer completely, and sold the site. My Stella Awards book said everything I had to say on the subject, so I’ve stopped publishing new cases. Groxx was dropped and I let the domain expire. I dropped the video series, resigned from one of the non-profit Boards I was on, and sold off Jumbo Joke.

All in all, I’m much more relaxed now, and enjoying being in business!

51 Comments on “Missing In Action

  1. Take it easy, Randy. We’re all pulling for you. Don’t let things overwhelm you – your health, your family, your life all come first!
    We’re all in this together, and I for one am looking forward to many, many more years of True.

    And to all of the rest of you – what are you waiting for? Subscribe! It’s so worth the few dollars Randy asks!

  2. Whoa, Randy! We forgive any missed publications. You’ve got to stick around so we know what is True!

    Take it REAL easy now, ya’ hear?

  3. Was there an edition on the 15th? I’m a longtime subscriber to the free edition, and I can’t see that I got one to my GMail account that week either. It could be user-error, but coming so soon after the Yahoo debacle I thought I’d check for sure.

    This page always has the most-recent issue, and this page always has the one before that, in case of failed email delivery. -rc

  4. Yikes! Gotta say I thought your tweet and that skipped issue seemed like a big deal, having been on both the free and premium for many years and not recalling ever there being a ‘non-issue’.

    Kit, stay after him to get some rest, but don’t let him run you ragged waiting on him hand and foot either 🙂

  5. Glad you’re ok Randy and delighted you’re going to figure out what else you can give to your assistant! (That is what assistants are for, but you knew that.)

  6. Usually when someone says “their heart’s just not in it” they mean it metaphorically. But with you…

    Take care of yourself. I’d rather get one email a month than none. 🙂

    It’ll continue weekly — yeah, I do put my heart into this! 🙂 -rc

  7. How apropos that PVC in both its current common usages have to do with plumbing — whether human or housing.

    Randy, please keep your pipes clear and working regularly. Had the father of a great kid die suddenly last week. It was a shock to everyone. And you’re right, $100 a week for the free edition is too much money. There are plenty of us Premium subscribers who have or will pony up for the free edition for those who are truly needy.

    You keep enjoying that free (but thin) CO air, and think of all the people who will never go to hell, thanks to your efforts! 🙂

  8. I understand that it’s difficult when you’re self-employed, but slowing down a little and trying to get the stress level down is a good idea. So is finding more for your assistant to do: more delegation, less aggravation.

    We want to see you continue for a long time, and to do it in good health.

    Me too! -rc

  9. Whilst it is easy to dismiss the ails and woes of someone half way around the world that I have never met, I really feel that you are a sizeable part of my life. I relish the premium and true editions that I get (do not take this as negative comment regarding not getting the free edtion this week) as well as stella, and reading the jokes that jumbo has to offer.

    However, with your training you should know that you are the most important person in your life, and if you don’t look after yourself, you can’t continue to be such a positive influence in the lives of others.

    My stomach does all sorts of bad things due to stresses, and I have to moderate my life to avoid them. It is hard, but we all have to make choices to reduce both good and bad stress from our lives.

    Randy take care of yourself, you owe it to yourself and your family.

  10. To be perfectly honest, I’m relieved to know that you decided to skip the free “True” this week. That means that a) AT&T didn’t just fail to deliver it (after the recent Yahoo! debacle, I was beginning to get worried that maybe a bunch of dimwits on that server had got it blocked), and b) you got a little bit of a break.

    People who have never tried running a newsletter, mailing list, or website don’t understand just how frustrating–and expensive!–it can be. And when you have to do all of it yourself, it’s even worse. Small wonder you were having problems.

    I’d upgrade to Premium if I could, but considering I don’t even know if I can afford to buy my textbooks, that’s probably going to have to wait until the spring. So as it is, I will willingly miss an issue if it means you don’t have to stop doing it for good because you’re either dead or lock-me-in-a-rubber-room nutso. Your health is DEFINITELY more important than reaffirming my lack of faith in humanity.

  11. PVCs and PACs sure do suck, don’t they? If you haven’t already, you might want to try backing off the caffeine for a while. My doc told me a lot of people are caffeine-sensitive and don’t know it til the stress hits. (I sure was. I had to go cold turkey. The trade-off for no coffee or soda is not having had palpitations for years, when for a while in grad school I was tossing ’em at the rate of 13 a minute. It was a good trade. I hate feeling like my heart is flopping around in my chest.) 🙂

    Be good to yourself, and keep True rolling!

    Caffeine is indeed insidious, and I went off of it years ago (as anyone who gets migraine headaches, such as myself, should!) -rc

  12. Whew, glad you’re OK, and glad it wasn’t an attack of bleeding hemorrhoids! THAT blog and pictures could have been a little tough to read!!!

    Ewwww! -rc

  13. Good God man, when it rains, it pours!

    A few years ago my father was “overdoing things a bit”. Had a bit of a chest “annoyance”, much like yourself.

    Went to the doctor, and just by walking from the waiting room to the chair in the doctor’s office, the doctor could tell. My father never even got to explain his condition. The doc just told him; “You need to get to a hospital, now.”

    As soon as he sent him on his way, the doctor realised it was insane to let him drive, so he set off after him in his own car.

    My father arrived at the hospital, and after the doc explained the situation he was put on a heart monitor for “observation”.

    He recounted the story himself later by saying that after he got to the hospital he had a short nap.

    The doc countered, “That was NOT a nap. You were lucky to wake up!”

    Considerable lifestyle changes followed.

    Seriously Randy, take a day off. More often. The GOOHF cards won’t work on this one.

    Go stare in wonder at those mountains outside your window. They have earned it. So have you.

    The rest of us will wait patiently, and blame the internet, yahoo, lyris, and the other usual suspects for any delays, as always.

    Your father was lucky. The doctor should have called an ambulance for him, since he could have died (or at least gone unconscious) behind the wheel. Glad everything turned out OK! -rc

  14. So you have a heart, uh? We knew that already, Randy. And you put it on many places, so make sure you don’t let it go stranded. It’s a beautiful heart, take care of it even if it only belongs partially to you, Kit will surely keep her side safe and as sound as you allow.

    Imagine PVC really stands for “Perfectly Valid Calls” and do (or do not do) what you think is best for your health. We’ll be here.

    I appreciate your very kind words, Rafael. The problem seems to have cleared up overnight — just as suddenly as it came on. Feeling good today! -rc

  15. Randy – please take care of yourself – for Kit’s sake, if nothing else. Altho I try to say it whenever I write, please know that this reader really appreciates your efforts on True/Stella/Groxx/Bonzer et al. I also appreciate that as a caring person, you do more than entertain – you save lives. Can’t get much more giving than that! Be well, stay well.

    It’s very satisfying, especially when readers express their appreciation so well. Thanks, Bill. -rc

  16. Having had my own recent medical issues, that were stress and life-style related I can only pass on the wise words of my family doctor – “Take Care of Your Body – Where Else Are You Going To Live?”

    I liked that so much I had a bunch of t-shirts made up – do you want one to remind yourself??

    Downtime is mandatory not optional!

    We (us Premium Subscribers at least!) all love what you do to keep our spirits high and we want you to keep doing it – so take care of yourself first!!

  17. (((Big Hugs)) to you and your sweetie. Never wait to call a paramedic if there’s any doubt at all. I know you know that, but sometimes we don’t take care of ourselves as well as we take care of others. I’m sooo glad it wasn’t something worse.

    My S.O. had a heart attack last year. I knew the symptoms, but couldn’t get him to call, or let me call. Oy! After a whole day, I finally convinced him to let me drive him to the hospital (Oy! We should have got an ambulance.) Sure enough, heart attack and then on to a double bypass. Fortunately he is doing well now. But if we had waited any longer, I don’t think he would still be here.

    Take it easy! And a big thank you to your wife for taking good care of you!

    Next time, just call anyway. It’s too important to fool around. -rc

  18. Hey!

    As is your wont, you make light of your situation — but we’d really miss you. So take it easy on yourself. I can live without the occasional free edition (but then I get the paid one!)

    Kit has every right to be concerned (my wife acts the same way, bless her!) As my son said (about 20 years ago) cut her “a piece of slack!”

    I wasn’t making light, I just have enough experience and training to know what was going on. But it’s possible to be wrong, so I had it checked. Sounds entirely rational to me! -rc

  19. I have been a subscriber since rocketmail times, (even a premium for a full year *sigh*.

    On my end, and adding up the yahoo spam trouble from last week and the blackout of the current equaled to true’s doom.

    I’m glad that you keep going, and worried because of the reasons you have explained in the Blog.

    I don’t even dare to ask what else is in our hands to help, since you have been quite explicit.

    Please keep going!

    One of your fans.

  20. “Atrial Fibrillation” – that is what I got told a year ago when I could not get my heart to slow down or beat steadily. Medication and slowing down have worked wonders as well as a product called Emergen-C Heart. I have used Emergen-C after exercise for years, but the “Heart” version is new. Might want to look into it.

    Take care of yourself and I hope everyone puts on their thinking caps about who would be a sponsor for the Free version – Emergen-C???

    I have a buddy with a-fib. It’s awfully interesting to feel his pulse! -rc

  21. Please take care of yourself. I think it’s entirely reasonable to cancel the freebie now and then, so don’t sweat it.

    Loved the all-Southern This is True for 8/24/08!

    Wow: someone noticed that all the stories were based in the South! You’re the first to say anything about it. 🙂 -rc

  22. I am glad that you decided to explain why the free edition did not go out. It gave me a much better understanding of what you do to get the edition out along with everything else. I greatly enjoy This Is True and look forward to the next edition, whenever it arrives.

    Take care of yourself.

  23. I appreciate the free edition, although I noticed this one was all southern I wasn’t too thrilled (we get a bad enough rap already).

    I’d like to finally subscribe. So for the next year please accept my $100.00 to ensure that the next “bad week” still get a free edition.

    It’s the least I can do since I’ve been freeloading for years.

    Thanks so much, Phillip. -rc

  24. I’m quite glad to hear that your doctor found excess Potassium so quickly. You’re very fortunate to have her.

    Please take care of yourself. All of the newsletters you write are nowhere near as important as your health.

  25. i would just like to clarify one mistake here. as a long-time cardiac nurse, i can’t let it pass. the EKG tracing you show is only about a 3 second look at your electrical activity (i don’t see any rhythm strip at the bottom). and while i don’t dismiss that you may have been having “frequent pvc’s”, this tracing only records ONE pvc as seen by 12 different “leads” or views (leads I, II, III, V1, V2 etc). both high and low potassium levels can give a person pvcs, so it is important to keep your salt and caffeine levels down and keep well-hydrated!

    hope you are feeling better now….

    I guess you don’t look at Lifepack 12 tracings too much. It’s 10 seconds. Each horizontal tracing is parallel in time, not each of the 12 leads. It shows 3 PVCs in that 10 seconds, which is why the auto-analyzer notes frequent PVCs, which it wouldn’t say if there were only one. -rc

  26. Randy, I’ve been a subscriber for well over 10 years, since long before there even was a premium edition. When the premium edition first came out, I subscribed to that until I got to the point that my little pension just wouldn’t pay for my needs anymore. You’ve been one of my main heroes for years, and I point other people to your publications whenever I can.

    Keep up the good work to the extent that you can, but take care of yourself first. We need more people like you.

    Thanks for your kind comments and support, Bill. Spreading the word is just as important to me as the financial support, so I really mean it when I say thanks for your ongoing support! -rc

  27. Glad to hear you’re doing better, i can definitely relate to the palps you were experiencing….i will definitely miss ‘True” if you decide to discontinue the free edition and i can sympathize with you having to pay out of pocket and i can also agree that while 24.00 bucks a year ain’t much to pay for so much enjoyment, there are still some single parents out there like me who just can’t find any extra cash for basic necessities, let alone luxury items! (and i do consider True to be luxurious) anyhoo, if a week is skipped, so be it, but please please, let us all know if True (free ed) is going to be cancelled for good. Best of luck….

    We’ll definitely send notice if TRUE will be discontinued for good — even if I’m killed in a wreck, a message will go out to let people know. I have no plans to discontinue the newsletter or my life, though: I plan to keep both going for quite some time! -rc

  28. Keep on pumping! Glad to hear how quickly this passed. I had nasty a-fib many years ago, after taking an outdated AND recalled drug, and my doc kept me on meds for six months and on frequent monitoring for another six months. When my a-fib started, in the middle of the night, I thought my neighborhood was having an earthquake! 🙂

  29. I think that all of us who are able can pay for some of those who are not. I wouldn’t mind paying $40 for the year. I so look forward to your editions of all three “publications”.
    Maybe a $24 minimum “Contribution” would help remind some that it needs to remain ‘free’ for many, so everyone can be reminded every week that there is intelligent life and hope out there.

  30. I can sympathize with you. I have been having a similar problem recently, also seeming to be stress-related.

    I had noticed palpitations occasionally before, but one day a month or so ago, I was having them constantly. My pulse was also doing weird things (I would feel like two normal beats, and then a pause, and then two more beats, etc.). I went to the doctor (walk-in clinic) and they put me through the wringer. The doctor told me mine was some kind of Atrial arrhythmia (supposedly less serious than PVCs according to the doctor), and my Potassium was low.

    I also had a stress test, and was told my heart was normal. I was told it was not that unusual a condition for someone who has had undiagnosed sleep apnea for many years, as I did.

    At any rate. I understand completely what you are going through. It scared me, too, and I am trying to “change my ways”. I have been a Premium Subscriber for some time now, and fully intend to keep renewing. Hang in there! Best wishes!

  31. After quadruple bypass, I had a pacemaker/defibrillator implant. It once “overcorrected” an a-fib. It wasn’t pleasant. However, a few months later, I had full-up “treatments’ (shocks) (even less pleasant!), corrected by moving the sensor lead?! Anyhow, I’m curious as to what supplement you were taking. Beta blockers interact with the darnedest things. Also, do you have the always cold side effect from beta blockers?

    No, I haven’t noticed any long-term physical effects from the beta blocker. (The main side effect is a minor reduction in blood pressure, which is a nice problem for a guy to have!)
    I’m not going to name the supplement, though, since it’s a very proprietary formula, and I don’t want to defame it by implication. But if I prove it has a lot of undocumented potassium in it, then I may blast them…. -rc

  32. It very well may be that the supplement does NOT have any potassium in it, but that one or more of the ingredients it contains may react with your body’s chemistry, with other supplements or with other medications you’re taking to *create* potassium. Sometimes supplements – or medications, for that matter – have ingredients that can combine with foods and drinks to create something like potassium or other side effects. It’s one reason why taking supplements is often seen as kind of risky, because they’re not vetted like drugs are, and can be put on the market without any warning about potential side effects (and, in many cases, I suspect, without the company even being aware of the risk… though they certainly *should* be).

    Yep. The other possibility is that it’s suppressing my body’s ability to dump potassium, which would then lead to a build-up. If nothing else, it shows how little we know about our bodies, eh?! -rc

  33. I just wanted to tell you that I’m glad you’re feeling better and that the answer to the problem was so simple and effective.

    Here’s wishing you continued good health!

    I also hope you get a slew of upgrades, and that they don’t let off after a week or two. I’ve been a premium subscriber for a several years now, and while I never canceled my free edition, I usually don’t have time to read it. Still, it would be a shame to have to end it. I fully understand your reasons, however. Unfortunately, the cost of doing business only ever goes up.

    Anyway, I love what you do and look forward to my weekly sanity check! I hope you get to do it for many, many years to come.
    Best regards, and kudos to Kit for her insistence and persistence!

  34. Just wanted to say I’m glad your condition has been easy to resolve, and let’s pray it doesn’t recur for you.

    I had a heart attack 2 years ago, which resulted in my having 2 stents inserted. Unfortunately, one of the stents got blocked this year, and I recently had to have a single coronary bypass at very short notice.

    This Is True was one of the few things I looked forward to receiving in my In Box to keep my spirits up while recovering, even though the old adage about “only when I laugh” was literally true!!

    Long may This Is True continue.

  35. Glad to see you are “up and at ’em” once again. Sometimes us “he-male” types need a push to get checked out. Nice Kit was there to push you. I surely missed getting “my birthday” edition of TRUE (August 22). I guess the only way to ensure that doesn’t happen again is to upgrade. After several “free” years for me, but “stressful” years for you, it’s only fair I give us this present. I am going to do my part to end PVCs now. Who is with me?

  36. hmmm, is there something about the dietary supplement. there must be other people using it.

    my cardiologist says the heart will do what it wants to, but a dietary supplement shouldn’t have such a side effect.

    and, thanks for keeping me entertained, even when my jaw drops out of disbelief.

  37. Way interesting. Hyperkalemia + stress = not good.

    I’m looking into this myself (similar symptoms), and APPRECIATE the sharing of info. Then again, I might keel over tomorrow…

    Will see what the doc says.

  38. I realize that this is an obvious suggestion but sometimes it’s that kind of thing that slips by unnoticed. Do you use a salt substitute? As I’m sure you are aware it is potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride thereby building up potassium in your system. Just a thought. Good luck on tracking it down.

    No, no salt substitutes or other rich source of potassium. -rc

  39. Randy, we can all wait, and we will wait indefinitely, for your amazing contribution to our mental health; your stories and humor make a phenomenal difference in our lives. Please just rest, relax, and take care of yourself. We will be here when you come back to us. I am one of those who thoroughly enjoyed your wit and information long before I could afford to help defray the costs. Now, at least, I can pay the tiny amount that pays for a subscription, but I wish I could do more. In the meantime, believe me when I say that you have a loyal following, even though many of us may be silent, who support you in spirit if not financially, and when we can possibly manage it, we will do so with the dollars, also. Randy, we NEED people like you in our lives. Please make yourself a priority.

  40. First off I want to tell you how much I love “This is True”! Have for a good long time now. Man, I wish I could send you a couple million to keep it going! It is one of the best newsletters I get. Heck… Who am I kidding… It is the Best! Thank You and Miss Kit too!

    Second I know what you mean about something sneeking up on you. I am very health aware myself. I am also an EMR and I try to eat right and take Herbs and Vitamins too. Right? So just the other day a Rheumatologist tells me that my problem is VERY LOW Vitamin “D”. Puts me on Mega~Dose D (50,000 units) and Nuerontin for nerve damage. All I can say is Woahhh MAN! I’m Still Weighing the advantages of finally getting a little sleep and the disadvantages of waking up in a cold sweat because of some Freaky Dream! And I do mean SCARRY FREAKY!

    So I will be praying for you and Miss Kit… and “This is True”. Man… just know that you are fighting the “Good Fight”!

    Thank You so Very Much

  41. I’m going to repeat what’s already been said by many already: thanks a million for all you do. I got way behind in reading everything, including “This Is True,” during a 7-week visit to the States (late June-mid-August) and am just now catching up. I’m glad you and your doctor are working on the situation, and hope it works out for you.

    And that it doesn’t stress your *wife* out too much.

    And as has also already been noted . . . we’ll wait.

  42. This is True and HeroicStories are the best newsletters.

    Has the water in your area got a high level of potassium? My son had an interesting observation – if a person cooks their own food, they tend to instinctively avoid the foods that are problematic without actually identifying them, eg instead of thinking “I don’t feel like bananas” they will incorporate apples in a meal, but if the person is sitting down to a meal of ready-cooked food the instinct does not work as well. Best wishes for your Good Health!

  43. I have had the exact symptoms more than once, even at present, including the PVC’s. (I thought the docs were ridiculing my plumbing the first time I heard that term.) One of my medications at one time was “water pills” for HBP, which caused my potassium to disappear, and I had a heart attack. Now I use Spironolactone, which regulates my potassium. Occasionally, I do indulge in a banana just for old times sake. Thanks for reminding me. In a lot of ways, This Is True is very much a part of my life!

    Lucky you to have a very caring wife! Thanks to her too.

  44. Glad you’re feeling better! It’s always a scary thing when one’s heart is involved. Maybe another trip to Hawaii is required. 🙂

    I’ll be there as soon as I can! -rc

  45. You said: Pure vitamin C . . . going to see if I can get a chemical analysis to see if it’s contaminated with something.

    HEY! I know where you can find a tank full of sharks to take that case: True Stella Awards. Ever hear of it? 😉

    Medic since 1968 (South side Chicago). Wife thinks I minimize stuff. Not a doctor, but I understand the difference between trouble and serious trouble. Then again, sometimes I need a shove, too.

    Thanks, Kit!

  46. I’m really glad you got that sorted out Randy.

    I’ve seen people take the supplements and claim all kinds of things for them. From good looks (Sorry, not working for you!) to perfect health (Gesundheit! Do you need a kleenex?).

    You’ll probably be amazed at what is in that ‘pure’ vit. C.

    If you have any friends in the local college/university you might want to give them a call and see if they could run a GC/MS for you. They could probably get it done by the analytical students. That would probably give you the quickest breakdown of what you were ingesting.

  47. Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. In too high of a dose and depending your body’s sensitivity, it can cause acidosis which causes a shift of potassium from the cells of your body into your blood. I suspect this is what happened to you rather than the supplement being contaminated.

  48. I was working in the ICU of a large metro hospital, when I started getting more and more pvc’s. I hooked myself up to a monitor to verify, and yes… IT WAS TRUE [pardon the pun] I did note, they were all unifocal, and looked alike. Sometimes on a busy day there would be more than 10 a min… I had patients on lidocaine drips that were having less pvc’s than me [they were however multifocal]

    I made an appointment with a Cardiologist, who was the favorite with our nurses…. he had a southern accent, and reminded me of an oldtime gun slinging Sheriff. “I have so many at nite, in bed, sometime I’m afraid I will go into V-tach.” …. Him, in a slow drawl.. “ok, tell you what to do…hold a 10 lb sandbag over your chest, and, if this happens … when you lose consciousness,that sandbag will hit your chest, and cardiovert.” That put me at ease, after a big lol.

    He put me on a beta-blocker, which slowed my heart, and did not accomadate running around doing what I needed to be doing in the unit….so, I dc’d the beta-blocker, and ignored the whole situation. Guess what? all went away, and never came back. that episode lasted almost 6 mos. in the 70’s. I was in my early 30’s then, and am a fine little ole lady now. May this be the case with you too!

  49. I’m glad you are feeling better. I would highly recommend the book Natural Causes: Death, Lies and Politics in America’s Vitamin and Herbal Supplement Industry, by Dan Hurley. It’s a real eye-opener.

  50. Sure am glad you are feeling better. As a non-paying freeloader, I missed you column but understand why, and I agree with your logic. Sure, you shouldn’t go in the hole, for no good reason.

    I’m one of those folks struggling just to get by. Heck my mortgage is near forclosure, so taking a moment out to read your column or the news, gives me something to take away the pain of reality.

    Anyhow you’re good people, and I hope the future brings you continued success.

    As for me, I hope to one day lay claim to those GOOHF cards, and buy a subscription.

    Best of luck with your mortgage, Brian. Take care! -rc


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