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Life: The Rest Of Our Lives

Posted in 104, awesomeness, blame society, life, work on March 6th, 2014 by Hannibal Tabu

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Recently I left my job of five and a half years as a web drone for a major integrated managed care organization (MIMCO). I’d been miserable for more than a year and a half, thanks to being “reorganized” under the command of someone who (in retrospect it seems) didn’t like me from the moment we met. Aside from the financial stability for my family, I tried to stay in position due to the health insurance that was provided (also, ironically, serviced by MIMCO), which I felt was necessary for a nagging cardiac issue I developed (coincidentally) in the last year.

Under doctor’s orders, I was taking “beta blockers” to regulate the beating of my heart, and the cardiologists hoped that given time my heart would simply heal itself. My lifestyle choices and diet were not at fault (“You didn’t do this to yourself,” one doctor told me point blank), as I have crystal clear arteries, decent cholesterol and all other indicators of sturdy health. I have up fried foods some years ago, I try to exercise, I even got a horrifying prostate exam. I’m playing by the rules. One teensy wall of my cardiac organ was not performing as it should, so care had to be taken.

As my health insurance coverage was about to expire, my cardiologist believed that I may be ready to stop taking the medicine. The cynic in me wondered if losing coverage had anything to do with this, as an untimely demise would work in the best interests for everybody at MIMCO. Nonetheless, an echocardiogram showed that my heart was operating as it should and therefore I was no longer required to relentlessly follow the rather laissez-faire course of treatment prescribed for me.

So, in either a wonderful display of serendipity or a cynical attempt at murder (I’m choosing to believe the former), I now have a clean bill of health and am drug free once again. Sure, I suppose I now have a “pre-existing condition,” but that won’t be an issue in getting future coverage (thanks, Obama!) and for the foreseeable future, I am “okay.”

In a word, “yay!”

For this to happen as I am seeing the release of my debut comic book, announcing my new project and enjoying some favorable media scrutiny, I consider an enormous blessing. I also do connect my liberation from a frankly oppressive situation connected with my improved health. I am happy to (finally) share this news with you (as honestly it happened on Monday and i was too busy to get to telling you all until today).

I’m still keeping the last of the pills, though.

Just in case …

Playing (Music): “Happy” by Pharrell

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Life: My Heart Will Go On … Really!

Posted in bad ideas, life, randomness, shameless pandering, wife, work, writing on June 10th, 2013 by Hannibal Tabu
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wait, the marvel character cardiac is black? really?

Okay.

So, a few weeks ago, there was a little bit of a scare regarding my cardiac health. I’ve been busier than a dude with one leg who’s the MVP of a kickball team, so let me do an organized update …

  • I’m fine: Under medical advice, I’ve begun a very conservative regime of pharmaceutical treatments and have been responding well to something called “beta blockers.” Honestly, they use a lot of words I don’t understand, but they keep reiterating that I am, as of now, okay.
  • What happened? I had a tachycardiac arrhythmia (although, with the dips, it actually seemed like bradycardia too, but whatever), which basically means my heart didn’t beat in the regular kick drum fashion it should, instead adopting more of a drum & bass attitude about its operation. I did not have a heart attack, although it could have become one, apparently.
  • Ooh … what happened next? This led to some other interesting discoveries and riveting discussions, all the way up to me getting an angiogram (which a cardiologist scoffed at as “not even really surgery, but it was the closest I’ve ever been). As noted, I responded to beta blockers but — honestly — they don’t know why it happened.
  • Am I okay? Physically, I’m technically okay, and they’re doing more tests and research to see what’s up. I’m almost back to normal around my kids and wife. I’m back at work.
  • For real, am I okay? Not really. I’ve been healthy pretty much my whole life. My arteries are crystal clear. Blood pressure, cholesterol, all basic tests they could take show me as wholly “normal,” which makes this freak me out even more. The idea that all the curation and careful taking care of myself (aside from the scary amount of stress I’ve been under since maybe September) could be for naught and I could just fall over regardless, leaving a widow and bereaved kids, is the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered and I’m honestly not dealing with it so well. I’m here, and that has to count for something, but I’m pretty much completely wigged out.
  • What will I do? Try to calm down. Try to say “no” sometimes even though I’m getting some amazing opportunities. Take my medicine. Hug my family. Keep writing — all my projects are pretty much in track, being Waso: Will To Power in July from Stranger Comics, an issue of Watson & Holmes with 2 Guns and Punisher writer Steven Grant from New Paradigm Studios in October or so, plus of course my issue of Artifacts from Top Cow (an imprint of Image Comics) in December or January. Learn how to slow down, somehow.

That’s that, pretty much. My wife has been outlandishly supportive, taking on the daunting task of most of our move and establishing our new home. Some really amazing friends have stepped up and helped make a way out of no way. I’m moving forward, you know? Even with trepidation, it’s still forward.

I don’t want to talk about it, though, since that freaks me out even more. I’ve done research, I’ve had research and options presented to me, I just … I just want to live, I guess. To keep going. Accomplish. That’s what feels right. I turned forty in January, it maps out that I couldn’t remain physically flawless forever, right?

Anyhoo, here’s hoping this update answers enough of the questions floating around.

Playing (Music): “Heart Attack” by Demi Lovato (my wife and nine-year-old love that song, ironically enough)

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Life: The Shape Of My Heart

Posted in bad ideas, blame society, family, fatherhood, randomness, shameless pandering, torch-passing on May 20th, 2013 by Hannibal Tabu
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As of this writing, I am at a medical facility, torso covered with electricity-enabled adhesives. I am told that I have a “ventricular arrythmia,” an irregular heartbeat based in the rough neighborhoods of my cardiac city.

WHAT? Yeah, it freaks me out too. I was among the healthiest people I know. No booze, no cigarettes, no red meat. Fairly regular walks and what have you. Fairly low sodium intake. Weird.

On Sunday, I got out of bed to get my youngest some almond milk. I felt my heart beating like it did when the regional spelling bee was on the line, but I had no immediate reason to be nervous. Ignoring it, I went about my day — lugging things down from the attic, packing, parenting, et cetera. Even saw a great Eccleston Doctor Who episode (I’m late to the party). At 11 PM, lying down to sleep, my heart jumped and jagged like a car engine that’s threatening to stall. I asked my wife to put her hand on it, causing her to run for the girls’ stethoscope. “You need to go to the hospital.”

Getting rushed past the waiting crowd was weird, but in I went for chest x-rays, EKGs and more to discover something, somthing that may have been there for years, was awry in the core of me. Something new, past the regular misanthropy and madness.

An overnight stay on atavan gave scant slivers of sleep. An afternoon angiogram is on the agenda, while my non-stop job will have to churn on without me, maybe for a month, if one cardiologist is to be believed.

SERIOUSLY, WHAT????? The bottom line is I’ll be okay. It’s very early detection, it’s “wholly fixable” and everybody here is treating it like a simple instance. I’ll be home with my ladies this weekend.

What’s funniest is that 90 percent of the things they thought would be the cause — smoking, fried foods, drinking, et cetera — were not relevant. My cholesterol and blood pressure are fine. Ditto blood sugar, and there are no signs of infections or foreign biohazards. Only worry — which I absorb through waves of second hand stress from half the people I know — stood as a red flag. I will have to try more exercise to offset the toxic energies floating around me.

Mostly it’s just a random accident of chance, the spin of some cosmic roulette wheel. Funny old life.

JUST IN CASE: There is a mathematically insignificant chance that something untoward might happen to me. If that’s the case, I want all my intellectual property turned over to Chinedum Ofoegbu (my wife has the passwords), and for his work on my work to be overseen by Vince Moore, Geoffrey Thorne and Brandon Easton. Any and all gross profits are to be divided evenly between my daughters, returning 45 percent of said profits to Ofoegbu, Thorne and Easton.

Not that any of us expect this to happen ..

DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! Since 1 AM, a loud chime from a Phillips Intellivibe heart monitr has relentlessly sounded whenever my heart does something unusual, or I think about …

  • my numerous writing deadlines, as I am poised on the precipice of greatness but with little time to achieve it
  • my day job
  • moving
  • money
  • making sure my daughters will be okay
  • making sure my overworked wife will be okay
  • why the end of the modern Battlestar Galactica sucked SO MUCH!

… as it does now. A head-splitting reminder of my inability to relax. 20 percent charge on my iPad, heading for traffic and dye in my arteries, I’m just trying to breathe easily and become still waters, so I can flow to refresh my wife and daughters — and hopefully you — for many decades to come.

… BUT IF ONE WERE SO INCLINED … If you have a jones to do something to help me, you could use the Gumroad link and buy copies of my novels, The Crown: Ascension or Faraway, as most of that money goes right to me (well, right into feeding my kids anyway). If you own it, buy a copy for a friend. All good.

Now, to try to get Netflix going on my phone …

Playing (Music): “I’m Ready” by Tracy Chapman

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