Random Things that Fall Out of My Head

Frank Michels

Frank Michels
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
March 29
Frank Michels is a songwriter, musician, and producer in Nashville, Tennessee. He likes to dig in the dirt and plant flowers, cook tasty things, walk his dog, and play really fast riffs on a telecaster guitar.


APRIL 20, 2012 8:00AM

What? No More Coffee or Chocolate?!!

Rate: 7 Flag

                                coffee and chocolate 

I just drank my last cup of real coffee. I’m not sure I can continue writing this blog, since life is not worth living anymore.



OK, I’m back. But extremely disgruntled. 

I’ve been having a problem for about a year with atrial fibrillation in my heart. That’s a situation where the upper chambers of the heart, instead of pumping blood into the lower chamber in a steady manner, start fluttering and beating off rhythm. I’m taking several medications to cut down the risk of stroke and to smooth out my heart beat. Just another inconvenient aspect of getting older.


old age truck   

So I was at the cardiologist’s office yesterday, and I asked him if I needed to do anything else to help keep my heart from fibrillating, and he said, “You need to cut out drinking coffee, or eating or drinking anything with caffeine in it, including chocolate.” All right, doc, stop joking around…What? You’re serious? OMG!! How am I going to do that?  

For years I have started my day with a big mug of thick coffee to get my brain jump-started, and then while I’m working at my desk I always browse on a bowl of dark chocolate. But apparently, no more.



dark chocolate   

I’ve given up things before. In my twenties I was a frequent marijuana smoker, but I stopped that when it started interfering with my life. And I dearly love the taste of Irish and Scotch whiskeys, but I’ve had to cut back to temperate amounts of beer and wine lately, and just dream of the good old days of aromatic liquor hitting the ice cubes in a heavy leaded glass tumbler.


But coffee was something I already drank in moderation, and thought I would be able to continue to do into old age. And what about chocolate? What am I going to do when the chocolate receptors in my brain start screaming about 3 o’clock this afternoon?


I know you’re probably thinking, “Frank, why are you making such a big deal about this? There are many people with much worse problems than you!” Well, it’s because I’m a terrible whiner. In the old days, I would be grumpy, stomping around and complaining for weeks, but I only annoyed my friends and made my wife tear her hair out. But now that I’ve got this blog, my bitching can fly around the world at the touch of a button, aggravating countless complete strangers with my petty concerns. Ain’t the internet great? 

My doctor told me, “Oh, I know that seems rough, giving up coffee, but if you buy a good quality decaf, you can hardly tell the difference!” So I’ll be going to the store today to get some pitiful, weak, no-octane excuse for a cup of coffee to drink tomorrow morning. I guess it will help me live longer.  

Or it might just make it seem longer.


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Like David Letterman once said "Decaf is just useless, warm, brown, water". They told me the same thing but after a few days it was just cut it back some. The stress of quitting is as bad for your heart as the things they want you to quit. So, I cut it with half and half or go with small pieces of milk chocolate.
Yogi Tea.

I always thought tea was for miemelaars but Yogi tea is alright. Don't know if all flavors are caffeine free, but it'll tell you on the box. I was going to suggest Celestial Seasonings Morning Thunder but that's got caffeine.
Oh this is sad news indeed! I would say you deserved a much needed bitchfest and I'm sure your wife was happy you put it on paper/screen to give her a break for a moment. When I start in about my mother or ex, my husband will say, "oh you should write about it", but then I make him read it, so what does it matter? I hope you are feeling better and find a lovely low caf coffee, but give up the chocolate....never!
So sorry to hear about your health issues. They are not insignificant.

But I do hope you'll be able to find healthy, doctor-approved stimulation and sweetness elsewhere. Best of success to you.
As Oscar Wild said, "I can resist anything but temptation." I'd like to add, "Or a good cup of coffee." I feel your pain.
Try red grapes. They have the same chemical in them that (obviously) is found in red wine that relieves that fluttering. I drink wine at night but, for some reason, my wife says it's not a good idea to keep a bottle at my desk during the day.
I got a headache just reading this. You have my sympathy.
Start with some half caff, then work your way down. I found a super decaf (from Fresh and Easy, sorry, don't think you guys have those) and ALSO, Starbucks will brew a fresh POUR OVER decaf in the afternoon to order. Much much tastier than the big pot that sits there. I am sure small amounts of fine chocolate are good for you- full of super antioxidants that are great for heart function. Sodas and energy drinks are so much worse for you.
All Best to you, Friend.

I think you're entitled to bitch!! Bummer!
I think you're right to complain - but this could be a great opportunity to discover new things. Maybe you'll find a decaf coffee so delicious, you won't care it's decaf. Maybe not being able to indulge in chocolate will help you discover some great new snack. I look forward to reading about your findings!
This is my first time reading your posts. You have my sympathy. I just thought I'd relate my own experience with afib. It may or may not relate. I probably had afib a lot of my life, but not recognizing what it was until I broke my wrist one day and the afib got so serious that in the ER they wanted to restart my heart electronically. I decided on some drugs instead and temporarily corrected the rapid irregular heartbeat with those drugs.
All this happened without me drinking coffee, though I get my fair share of caffeine, eating a lot of chocolate,drinking tea and coke. Anyway , to get to the point. I'm 63 and I had afib around 12 years ago. After seeing a cardiologist, I began an aerobic exercise campaign which included playing small court basketball at my gym 2 or 3 times a week. I go for a short swim afterwards. Occasionally I ride a bicycle. It doesn't matter what you do. Just getting a regular amount of aerobic exercise killed the afib. I've had barely a pinch of it since I began doing aerobic exercise regularly. If your cardiologist says its okay, of course, I recommend giving it a try.
good luck