You'll notice in the About Me column off to the right that I had a mild stroke this year, forcing me to take several months off. No, the fact that I'm lactose intolerant had nothing to do with it. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I'm saying that very, very loudly because some of you out there would be writing in tomorrow telling me that their strokes really were caused by LI. No. They weren't. Nobody can possibly be that ignorant of LI, you say. That's only because you don't read my mail. You wouldn't believe what people already think that LI can cause. Oy.
Then again, "cause" is a loose term. To my stun and amaze, this very week I stumbled across an article by Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune, reprinted in about a million smaller papers. It concerns the medical travails of Alexei Sultanov, a concert pianist with a long history of medical problems. And the stroke he had. In the thalamus, same as mine. "Caused" by lactose intolerance. Well, in a really, really, really loose sense of the word "cause." Let me excerpt just the few relevant sentences.
On a February evening in 2001, Sultanov walked into the bathroom in the Fort Worth home he shared with his wife, leaned over the toilet and purged his dinner.
A few minutes earlier, he had eaten a crock of French onion soup that he had cooked, promising himself he would not eat the cheese because he was lactose intolerant.
But he couldn't resist its aroma and taste. After he devoured the food, his stomach began to ache, causing waves of nausea.
He decided to do what he had done since childhood - retreat to the bathroom to empty himself of his meal. But while doing so he became dizzy, lost his balance and struck the left side of his head against the porcelain sink.
Cranial scans showed the disaster looming inside his head. So much blood was amassing, with nowhere to go, that it began pushing his brain from left to right.
As increasing amounts of blood pummeled the organ, blood vessels to his brain stem and other areas were severed or crushed, denying vital oxygen and glucose to vulnerable tissue.
Not one but five strokes racked Sultanov's brain as he lay in the hospital.
Well. Man. Not good. Though spoilsport me does need to point out that nausea isn't a symptom of LI. Whatever.
Bathroom safety. Our resolution for the New Year.