Testing Times – The Birth of Tinman, Part 5

The heart monitor showed nothing.

This was a pity, since it sent us off in the wrong direction for a few months. With my own GP now back from holiday I had blood tests, an MRI scan, a (shudder) prostate test, all of which were negative. Meanwhile I was still blacking out every now and again (though I did have one glorious 57-day stretch without one), but had got better at recognising the onset signs, and usually managed to sit or lie somewhere before the actual collapse, so I wasn’t injuring myself anymore.

bar-stoolIn my local I used to prop myself in a corner of the bar, with my back to the wall, the counter on my right side, and the back of my stool on my left, and actually blacked out briefly there one night without falling, and with only one person of the three I was sitting with noticing what had happened. It’s a sign of how adaptive I was becoming to living with this permanently that I stayed on in the pub after the blackout, instead of rushing home as I did the first time.

Though I was slowly becoming resigned to a life without driving, without swimming, without walking anywhere alone, my wonderful GP certainly wasn’t, and her next step was to send me to a Neurologist – the brother of a well-known TV personality. It was he who started the whole cycle that led to me getting better.

neurologist1Dr Niall Tubridy – feck it, let’s name him, he was great – looks like, is as thin as, and has the same voice as his brother (really spookily, when I arrived into his Reception his brother’s show was on the radio). He listened to my story from the beginning and then said “so, what have you got?”

I stared at him. “Come on,” he said, “we all know the Internet’s out there, what have you looked up?”

I named a few things. “And what do you think you have?” he asked again.

“Er, all of them,” I muttered.

“Look, I’m going to give you all the brain tests now,” he said, “but I’m telling you before I start that this is a heart problem.”

“I’ve had a heart monitor, ” I said. “I don’t care,” he replied, “From what you’ve told me there’s something wrong with your heart. I’m going to write to your GP and tell her to organise an appointment with a cardiologist here.”

I was impressed by the fact that he said this before he gave me the neurological tests, as he wouldn’t have looked too clever if he’d then given me the tests and said “shit, no, I was wrong, there is something wrong with your brain”.

He was as good as his word, and a couple of weeks later I found myself in front of Dr Colm Keane, a cardiologist who decided that I should have a loop monitor fitted inside my chest which would record every time my heartbeat went above or below a certain level. An appointment was made, and on December 15th I turned up to have this fitted.


But the first monitor showed nothing. Will this be any different? Read on in Part 6 – “The Gift of Timing”.

5 thoughts on “Testing Times – The Birth of Tinman, Part 5

  1. laughykate

    I’m really hoping you’re writing the next post as I write Tinman (even though it’s half-past-far-too-early-in-the-morning) , the suspsense is killing me.

    At least I know how this story ends.


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