There are disadvantages to having a pacemaker and a history of a dropping heartbeat.
I do realise that as “well, duh” sentences go it’s pretty hard to beat the one above. It’s right up there with “if you stand in the rain you will get wet”, “the Pope is a Catholic”, and, of course, “Homo locum frustra ponitur in oratione Latina capito proiecto sit amet” (A man who puts a sentence in Latin into a post for no reason is just a big-headed twit).
It’s just that when you have a pacemaker, like I have, sometimes you’re not allowed to just be sick.
Suppose you’re at work on a Monday morning and you start to feel this strange catching sensation in your breath. You go home early but the sensation wears off. On Tuesday morning it’s back, so you don’t go to work at all, and on Tuesday night you suddenly, for no obvious reason and for the first time in about fifteen years, throw up.
On Wednesday you feel fine, and you decide that it was some sort of bug, and that the sickness of the night before was its last hurrah (actually, a pretty accurate description of the sound you made). You have, however, already made an appointment to see your doctor at ten. You tell him your story, he listens with his stethoscope, puts that strange wooden stick on your tongue, gives you a lollipop and a note to take the following day off, and sends you home.
That’s because you’re you. Because I’m me, and because of my heart, he gives me an ECG, which he says looks perfect. He calls in his colleague, she studies the printout and agrees that it looks perfect. So they do what any doctors presented with evidence of good health would do in the circumstances.
They send me to the Emergency Department of St Vincent’s Hospital.
I went there by train. This is rather like James Bond finding out where the baddies have planted the thermonuclear device, and conveying this information to M by second-class mail.
I arrived and presented my letter, and the printout of my ECG. They took this and gave me an ECG. They agreed that this matched the first one, ran tests on my pacemaker, took blood samples and checked my heart and lungs. Then sent me home.
I know it’s great that these wonderful people are taking so much care, are so willing to err on the side of caution, and put so much effort into making sure one person is well.
It’s just I feel like such a drama queen.