I never fail to marvel at the complexities of the human body; especially my own.
Over the past two or three months, I have been suffering. A nagging tightness in the chest that began to radiate. This eventually caused headaches and dizziness, but it was not too long before pain and discomfort spread to my left arm.
I have rudimentary medical training. It comes with what I do. I suspected cardiovascular issues, but in a ridiculous act of fear induced denial, I did no more than wait, for far too long. Eventually just before Christmas I finally sought medical help.
The NHS wasted no time. I was plugged in, X-rayed, stethoscoped and generally very closely inspected by anyone who had served time at medical school. My GP even went to the extent of phoning me twice, in the evening.
I quickly received a letter from the Rapid Access Acute Chest Pain Clinic in my local hospital. They wanted to see me on the 21st. The letter stressed the importance of attending the clinic, but also attempted to reassure that an appointment was in no way indicative of a heart condition.
I could not ignore the pain; it was now a constant.
Sitting in the waiting room I held the company of many. Noticeably all much my senior and in varying degrees of failing health, I could not feel anything other than incongruous.
A nurse called my name.
It was ECG time again. I was asked to strip to the waist and lie down. For the ease of parking I’d travelled on the bike so my attire was a little of a hindrance as the nurse needed access to my feet for the sensors. It took longer to hook me up than it did to get a reading. Rather than getting dressed fully, I put my teeshirt back on.
Returned to the waiting room, I looked even more out of place.
I was eventually summoned by a more mature lady in scrubs, with a stethoscope around her neck. I duly followed.
She sat me down and asked me to remove my teeshirt again, so she could listen to my chest and back. I breathed in and out as requested as she moved her pre-warmed device to various locations on my torso.
She then prodded and poked.
“Does this hurt here?”
Not so much
My chest spasmed and contracted away from her touch.
The Clinical Practitioner sat down. “Tell me when it hurts; for example, how do you feel on exertion?”
The pain usually subsides or is non-existent.
“Ok” she said, as she took off her glasses.
“It is my opinion that you have nothing wrong with your heart. Your ECG is fine; your blood pressure is fantastic and your bloods, although you show slightly elevated levels of cholesterol show nothing else”
I tilted my head in curiosity.
“You’ve torn a pectoral muscle working out”
So, basically, I thought I was dying, but I’ve just…ripped a tit?
She smiled. “Yes”
I laughed. Very, very loudly and slightly hysterically. She began to laugh too. This continued for some time, to the point where her colleagues came in to see what was happening.
I apologised to her [and the entire NHS] for wasting her time.
“Better to be safe than sorry” she reassured.
Sitting astride my bike I reflected on how my mindset had changed at the impact of such a serious illness. I’d rescued my diet, taking Omega3 oils and eating a clove of garlic a day, as well as ensuring that I got my 5 a day.
I’d also considered creating video diaries for the cubs, should the eventual prognosis be, not so good.
I’m lucky. I already have a healthy regard for life and I try to remain grateful for everything I have, not less my gorgeous cubs. More importantly, it was the reality of my mortality while they are so young that weighed heavily upon me. Selfishly, I didn’t want to be without them. Watch this space…
For now, I’ve dodged a bullet but it served as a good reminder to maintain a healthy lifestyle; sleeping, eating and exercising well.
I might give the kettlebell swings a miss for now though.