Yesterday, Sunday, 6th September, was Father’s Day in NZ. The day dawned bright and sunny and we dressed Abe and Phoebe and went off to attend a church service in the city.
For several years I have suffered from occasional Oesophaegeal spasms, a cramp-like affliction that hits me in the right chest cavity and mimics a heart attack. They usually last about 15 – 20 min and come and go for about 1 – 2 hours. There’s not much anyone can do for them – they are a bit like getting a foot cramp. One just has to grin and bear it. I had about 4 or 5 at midnight last Wednesday night and mentioned it in passing to the oncologist when I had my check-up on Friday. I was told that I should not ignore them if they re-occur, as the new chemo drugs could initiate heart problems (very comforting!!).
Wouldn’t you know it, during the church service (at offering time) I had another spasm forcing me to leave. We (Bronwen and the children) went straight to Accident and Emergency at Christchurch Public Hospital, which was only a few city blocks away, where I was admitted immediately. I proffered my opinion of what the problem was to the medical staff but was duly ignored in favour of blood tests and ECGs. Seven hours later, after nothing to eat or drink, and a follow-up blood-test, my initial assessment was confirmed, demonstrating that patient experience of a chronic problem is not necessarily grounded in ignorance. I guess it was nice to again have it confirmed that my heart, BP, cholesterol and arteries are in good condition.
After the A & E doctors had received confirmation from the Cardiologists that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the heart or arteries, they still wanted to discharge me with a prescription for Beta-blockers! I duly pointed out the warped logic that lead them to this conclusion and was given permission to leave without the scrip.Â
Bronwen and I had planned to take the children on the steam train at Ferrymead Historic Park during the afternoon. In the end I discovered how attitude-adjusting an afternoon of boredom in a hospital bed can be on Father’s Day. There are things like prayer, contemplation, creative thinking, etc one can use to make positive use of the time.
All the same, next time I have one of these spasms, I’m not sure I will front up to A & E as requested!