1st April 2011

Now there’s a date that will be forever lodged in my memory. The kids and PIL were home as it was the Easter holidays and I was having a day off. As was often the case when I was at home, I would disappear upstairs to work out on the rowing machine. I would spend between 30 and 45 minutes pounding away each time working up a real sweat. At my age I shouldn’t really be working that hard but it’s the only way I know plus, of course, I think I’m 27, still have hair on my head, a six-pack and a big willy. So I thrashed away. I’ve never had that endorphin rush afterwards though. All I ever feel at the end is knackered. Anyway, I finished my session all sweaty and out of breathe and stood for a while waiting for my heart to slow down and my breathing to go back to normal. I exercise on a regular basis so I know what my recovery time is. Only this time my heart didn’t slow down, I was still breathing heavily and sweat was pouring off me. I thought this was a bit weird. Then I got dizzy and was sick! I didn’t have any pain in my chest but I knew enough to think “This is not good. Am I having a heart attack?” I concluded that perhaps I was and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. I remember not being overly concerned at the time. I staggered down stairs and announced to my lot, “I think I’m having a heart attack! Can you call for an ambulance please?” The response threw me a bit. “Haha Dad. April Fool to you too” and they went back to watching a Muppet Christmas Carol! At Easter! TV must be shit at Easter. I remember thinking “Jesus bloody Christ, I could be about to pop my clogs and everyone thinks it’s a prank! So my first bit of advise is: Don’t have a heart attack on April Fools day cos no one will believe you! Eventually they cottoned on to the fact that I was not messing about so Ed, my eldest boy called for an ambulance explaining what was up while I went and sat on the kitchen floor. After what seemed to be a bloody long time but in reality was only a few minutes, a paramedic turned up and started examining me and he confirmed that I was indeed having a heart attack although he called it something else. Then two more paramedics turned up in a pukka, full size ambulance. They put me into it and started trying to wire me up with all manner of sensors and devices but because I was still sweating like a pig they wouldn’t stick! “Christ,” I thought, “here we go. Has to be me these poxy things won’t stick to.” The medics got me sorted though. I was impressed. Here was technology being used as it should be. All the information was being transmitted to the hospital and they could confirm my condition. How impressive is that! The main paramedic was also on the phone to the cardiac unit at the hospital confirming symptoms and relaying what treatment he’d started. Then he said “he is not responding to my questions”. Strange. He’d only spoken to his mate since we’d got into the ambulance so I said to him. “Mate. You haven’t asked me any questions. What are you on about, not answering you?”. He replied, “Alexander, I’ve been talking to you and you’ve not responded.” Naturally I replied, “Who the fuck is Alexander? (I was a bit stressed) My name’s Dick. I thought you were talking to your mate!” “Really?” he said. “You’re Dick? Sorry bud.” Always me I thought. Perhaps I should change my name to Mario Balotelli. Up shot of all this was that once I was stabilised we whizzed off to the hospital with lots of blue lights and sirens. If it wasn’t for the fact I could die it would have been cool and exciting. As it was, it was a particularly stressful and worrying time. Once I had been admitted to the cardiac wards all kinds of tests were done, drugs administered, care given and reassurance offered. The staff were magnificient. The NHS has got to be the worlds most amazing organisation. It handles all kinds of medical treatment urgent and non urgent and generally despite all the stresses and strains it’s under, it gets it right. Words cannot adequately describe how fantastic all the staff are working away at caring for sick and damaged people. I can but praise the nurses, doctors and other staff who looked after me. I thanked them then and I thank them again now. They are just brilliant. After all the tests and stuff I was told that one of the arteries in my heart was blocked. A stent was going to be inserted and the artery reopened. Fantastic. Down I went for a little bit of fairly non invasive surgery whereby a stent was positioned and then the plan was for it to be inflated to reopen the artery. So bloody Mario strikes again and the blasted thing won’t expand. “O dear” said the surgeon “I’ve done thousands of these and that’s never happened before. I’ll come out, change it and go in again with a new one.” Except he couldn’t. He couldn’t remove the faulty stent. It was stuck somewhere in my arm. Always me! In the end he just dumped the stent and left it somewhere in my arm. Totally harmless and nothing to worry about except I’d have to wait a few days before they tried again. Fine. Except I was now getting a bit stir crazy. Some of the old blokes in the ward were a few sandwiches short of a picnic. One was constantly asking what all these people were doing in his kitchen. Another had an imaginary visitor every night. It was sad. Some of my mates offered to tunnel in and help me escape until I told them I was on the first floor. One came to visit with a load of sheets knotted together so I could escape out the window. Eventually, I was taken back down to theatre, an incision made in my groin and a new, working stent was inserted into my artery and it was reopened. Then, I wouldn’t stop bleeding! Bloody hell, will it never end? After a lot of pressure being applied on the incision the bleeding stopped and eleven days after my minor heart attack I was back home.The worst part of the whole episode though was that one of my buddies bought me an Easter egg while I was in hospital. I wasn’t allowed chocolate so PIL took it home with her to stop me being tempted. She was right to do so. I love chocolate (thats why I’m a chubby boy) and I would’ve hidden under the blankets that night and pigged out on the whole thing! When I got home it was nowhere to be seen. They’d scoffed it! Bastards!

There is no end of advise about how to avoid heart disease. Take it all on board because having a heart attack is not a pleasant experience. The only thing I’d add to all that advise is this: Don’t have one on 1st April and very definitely don’t let anyone remove your Easter egg from the ward!

Enough of the medical advise. I think its time to offer advise on another area I know absolutely nothing about. PIL reckons I am the only person who could walk into the Sahara desert with 50 quid in my pocket, walk out 3 days later with 38p left, have nothing to show for all the expenditure and not have a clue what I spent it on. Yep. I’m crap with money! So I thought I’d offer some financial advise.

So you want to be rich?

Don’t have kids then.

They cost a fortune!

My thanks to you again for taking the time to read my ramblings. I’ve enjoyed writing them and I hope you have enjoyed reading them. Don’t forget to click on the “like” button if you did, click on the “follow” button so you automatically get new posts and leave a comment. I’d really like to know what you think.

More Dick soon!

Dick Dastardly

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