Above the fresh ruffles of the surf — a selection from Ben Stein’s monthly Diary.
I am getting pretty worried. For about six months now, I have had maddening shortness of breath. It comes and goes. Sometimes I don’t have it for weeks, and then it comes back. Sometimes it responds to antibiotics and sometimes it doesn’t. It rarely keeps me from swimming; in fact, never. But it gets me winded walking up hills or stairs and we have a lot of stairs at our home in Beverly Hills.
It does not keep me from riding my bike here in Sandpoint, world’s most beautiful place. But it does keep me from talking while I am riding, except to myself.
I have had many doctors look at me about this. One said it was from heartburn. He advised literally months of tests and also that I sleep on an inclined mattress. Another said it might be heart disease, but he could not cite any clear reason for that hypothesis. My regular doctor, whom I love, love, love, Bill Skinner, MD, no relation to anyone else I know named Skinner, says it’s re-current pneumonia, but like every other doctor, is puzzled by how anyone could have so much pneumonia and live.
Could it be pulmonary edema? But then why do I wake up some mornings with no breathing problem at all? Besides, shouldn’t I be dead by now if it’s pulmonary edema?
I have a theory. When I was a child, I had really terrible asthma. Really, really bad. Life threateningly bad. Maybe it’s returned in a somewhat more attenuated form…I notice I have it much less in Beverly Hills than in Malibu and a lot more in Sandpoint, which has a ton of dust in the air from the cursed highway bypass, than in Bottle Bay, maybe 10 miles or less across the lake.
Oh, and then there’s another thing. I have on occasion taken Singulair, a pill that helps breathing in asthma victims, and it works fantastically well. Would it work that well if I had pulmonary edema?
Please, if you are a neo-Darwinist who wants me to die, don’t bother writing in. Or if you advocate traditional Chinese medicines, also don’t bother writing in. Ooops. No, maybe I am wrong there because Tazo Refresh Tea, the mint variety, from Starbucks, works fantastically well also to help with my condition. (“I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in,” as the song goes.)
Well, shortness of breath and all, I had a great day anyway.
I got up at about 5 a.m., prayed my usual prayers, took some photos of the sunrise, went back to sleep until about 10:30, shaved, got dressed, and made breakfast for my houseguest, Dr. Phil DeMuth. As far as I can tell, he rarely gets to eat a breakfast as hearty as what I make, and he eats it happily.
The menu: Fresh orange juice (fresh from Tropicana), English muffins with butter and marmalade, and Oscar Mayer bacon, five or six slices each.
Now, you might think all bacon is the same. NOT TRUE. For some reason, Oscar Mayer is by far the best. Likewise, no other English muffin is even close to as tasty as Thomas’s. Not even close.
And then we have tea, Tazo Refresh, of course. Tazo Refresh is just one of the many incredibly great suggestions from my sister. It is a miracle tea.
(None of these people has paid me a penny.)
Then, onto the bikes for a quick ride around the beach to see how many beautiful women are there in bikinis. I know this shows I am a sexist, lookist, “beauty discrimination” pig. I don’t care. I’m not running for anything.
Then usually up to the local bookstore, Vanderford’s, to buy the Wall Street Journal. The news of the stock market has been breathtakingly good this summer. Yeah. After the horror of the Crash, it’s a relief. That’s putting it mildly. I am waaay too addicted to the stock market. Wow, I have a lot of flaws.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?