Concerning my heart

Today I’m not at work, but I was out of the house by just after 9am. I had a couple of medical appointments, first stop at the dermatologist to get the stitches removed from my calf. On the way there Donna called, and we spoke on the handsfree as I drove catching up on the news and updating her on the day ahead.

I was at the dermatologist for about 20 minutes. My other appointment was in Camberwell, but I was way early. I sent a message to a friend hoping to catch up for coffee, then began driving in the general direction of my appointment. With no response from my friend, I stopped in Malvern and went to a coffee shop I knew from when I had the shop. The woman who owns it is an acclaimed pastrycook, and we got friendly when she would come to the shop for a massage after a long day of cooking.

By now it was a beautiful winter’s day. It was sunny and the sky a washed blue, the colour of my jeans. It was not warm, but the sunlight took the edge off the cold. It seemed to me a classic Melbourne winter’s day, the very best sort.

I read the newspaper and had a flat white and a chocolate brownie, and then I was off again. I drove down roads I drove down every day when I had the shop, and I remembered it all. I’ve hardly been through that way since. Years on it feels as if that was a pocket of time that was all-consuming then but is now far distant from me. I never quite understand how things can change so much though it makes perfect sense. How is it that something can be all one thing, and then none of it at all? That’s what lives are.

The doctor I’ve been seeing the last couple of years is about a five minute walk from home, bulk bills, and is good to get my prescriptions renewed. He’s a nice guy, but a bit of a duffer. As a doctor he’s tentative, asking me what I think we should do. I’m no dummy, but I don’t have a medical degree, and I go to the doctor wanting them to tell me what we should do next.

As it happens, he’s away from a month on a European holiday, and so I called up to make an appointment with my old doctor. If she were not so far from home, I’d see her still. She’s very capable and conscientious. She doesn’t dither. She’s a lovely woman as well, and the half dozen years in which she was my regular doctor, we became friendly. She’s a good person who also happens to be very attractive.

I told her why I was there, and she told me she was concerned. I had explained to her the little episode the week before last when I woke up in the middle of the night short of breath and with pains in my chest. Next time, she said, call an ambulance.

She organised an ECG while I was there, as well as a blood test, and I had to give a urine sample. She referred me to a specialist to get a stress test on my heart and organised for a monitoring halter. That happens next Monday. In the meantime, the ECG was normal, and in actual fact, I feel fine. I’ve had no recurrences since and my morning heart-rate has slowly come down since, though it’s not entirely back to normal. My blood pressure is the best it’s been in over a year.

These are things I need to do just to be sure. I’d rather be early than late. On the balance of probabilities, I reckon the test next week will come back fine. I’ll be told to take better care of myself, and that’ll be it, though I’ll be considerably lighter in the pocket.

 

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