Phew ...welcome to 2018.
I write this piece sitting at my laptop with a nice cup of tea in front of me enjoying the very fact that I am still around to actually write my first "view" of the New Year. That's very sombre I hear you say ....well as Max Bygraves used to say "let me tell you a story".
Late November and I have risen from bed looking forward to the day ahead ...strangely as I went into the kitchen to "put the kettle on" I felt strange ...not unwell just strange ...difficult to describe my feelings ...but suffice to say my body felt like it was working out of sync with my brain. At times like these I did what I always do ....half an aspirin later I thought I would get on with my day. Down to the garage to get my car out ...still feeling somehow "out of it" I just stood still for a couple of minutes in an attempt to get my bearings so to speak. 'Er indoors appeared and said "you do not look right"..."I do not feel right" I reply and unusually for me my next comment was "I am going to the Doctor".
Next stop ...my local health centre (Benijófar). I enter and speak to the receptionist ...I have a pain in my chest (yo tengo dolor en me pecho) is what I actually said ...it worked. Without any second thoughts the receptionist sent me to the nurse, the nurse saw me immediately and wired me up to an ECG machine ....the test started and the Doctor entered the room and started to examine me ...remember, it was middle morning and she (the Doctor) had a surgery full of people to see.
The machine showed that all was OK ...however after some discussion between Doctor and nurse, the Doctor stated that she was not satisfied with the ECG machine result. She said "things did not add up" and I needed to go to the hospital straight away for more involved tests.
'Er indoors driving, we go to Torrevieja hospital emergency department. I am seen fairly quickly and a wonderful Doctor explains that blood tests are needed ...an immediate test ...then a four hour wait in recovery and another test. It's all about the "enzimes" the Doctor explains. I have one blood sample taken and a little while later I am sent to recovery to rest and wait for the next test, all the while Doctor and assorted nurses are asking "do you have any chest pain?"...thus far my reply was always no, no chest pain.
I am wheeled up to recovery, given a bed in which to rest and suddenly my chest starts to tighten and the pain and sweating begins. A nurse is called and within a minute the emergency Doctor from down stairs is by my side asking me questions while I am wheeled to emergency surrounded by a variety of medical staff. Imagine my thoughts!
After a short while medication is used and my condition improves. Another Doctor arrives and I am informed that I am being admitted to "intensive care" for tests. I am taken to intensive care and placed in a room where I am surrounded by medical staff who proceed to wire me up to a variety of monitors and drip type equipment. It's now about 3pm ...all this excitement has gone on over the past four hours from first going to the medical centre.
Later that evening the on duty intensive care Doctor examines me using a scan type of machine ...he determines that I am able to have a Cardio Vascular examination first thing the next morning.
At about 7am the next morning ...nurses surround my bed ...I am washed and shaved in all the necessary areas and taken down to an operating /examination room. Three members of the Cardio Vascular team introduce themselves and explain as best they can what they are about to do. I lay listening as the two medics carry out the procedure. As they proceed they talk to each other all the time about what they are doing ...every move as they insert a tube into my heart via my arm is discussed and confirmed between them. After a while I hear a combined assertion between them that they have found the source of my problem. Fifteen or so minutes later the Surgeon tells me that they have found and repaired two damaged sections of an artery.
I lay on the table as they remove the monitors and tubes wondering at the miracle of medical science that I have just undergone, and wondering at the skill and professional manner of everyone who has cared for me at Torrevieja Hospital. I spend the rest of the Friday and Saturday in intensive care where the care is everything that can be encompassed in the term "intensive care". The nursing staff are simply wonderful ...as are all the ancillary staff - porters, cleaners etc who work in Torrevieja Hospital. Sunday I am moved to a ward room and on Monday ...the fifth day of my illness I am discharged from the Hospital.
I have been told to take things easy for several weeks after which I will be called back for some follow up tests. I rattle due to the amount of pills I have to take on a daily basis ...and I now have a follow up date in January for a treadmill test to measure my progress thus far.
My thoughts in respect of my near miss are difficult to actualise ...imagine my feelings when my extended family start to arrive to be at my bedside. Hopefully I will be on the up and up and further appreciate what life is and the importance of family.
My thanks of course must go to the common humanity of the medical staff from the start of my illness in Benijófar, to my discharge from Torrevieja Hospital for the care shown to me as an individual. I was a name and not just a number, my humanity was recognised and for that I thank them. Family also ...what would we do without our families.
Love and good health to all for 2018.