I was working hard trying to get by. I had debts that I was struggling to pay due mostly to having debtors who simply ran away. I had made deals that had gone awry. My home had become a hovel. The bottom of the ‘drove’ experienced very little sunlight. Even in the height of Summer, it was cold and dank. I had long since become depressed and angry about the situation, particularly with reference to the debts. Then I had a serious fallout with Cheddar Nick.
At some point I registered with a local GP. The scrapping was taking it’s toll. I was in incredible pain. Some mornings I simply couldn’t put my socks on. I would have to lean my back against the headboard of my bed, then lift my knee until I could reach my ankle to pull my foot towards me until I could get it to a position where I could clothe my foot, all the time, howling in pain as tears rolled down my face.
The doctor that was assigned to me is brilliant. I got on with her immediately. I can talk to her easily and honestly, which is essential. One should treat one’s doctor as a Catholic would their priest. She sent me off to get scans and x-rays. The results show that the cartilage between the first vertebrae and the coccyx has all but worn away. All that is left is a small wedge-shaped bit. Bone is therefore rubbing on bone. To add to my discomfort, the sciatic nerve is also getting trapped in the damage. I was prescribed 1800mg of gabapentin, an opioid drug that targets the nerve system. I had to sign for it twice! Because of it’s addictive nature and as getting opium is so difficult, I will take them, but only when I really need to. These days, that’s not very often.
The scans/x-rays alerted the doctor to other issues. She sent me for more scans. I had had a couple of scans on a Friday towards the end of June. The Saturday was just as any other and I was relaxing watching a film late in the evening, when I began to experience an awful lot of chest pain. I put up with it for a while. It didn’t let up. It got worse. Eventually, I was having difficulty breathing through the pain. I had no idea what was happening, but it was painful. I needed some form of pain relief and nothing I could get my hands on was working. I ‘phoned for an ambulance. The operator asked me to describe the pain and indicate where the pain was radiating from. I described the pain as feeling like some-one had dropped an anvil onto my chest. She stayed on the line with me while the ambulance was on it’s way. The emergency response paramedics that is operated by the fire brigade arrived first. Unfortunately, not realising that I was in the ‘drove’, they drove straight up to the ‘round’. As I saw them I informed the operator that they had arrived and hung up. I then crawled out and up the ‘drove’ with the intention of getting their attention, just as the ambulance arrived. The crew spotted me and helped me into the ambulance. Once inside, I was ‘wired up’, etc. I was given pain relief with no effect. In the end, I was given seven doses of morphine before the pain started to subside. The crew told me that I was going to hospital. I asked one of them to lock up for me. It turned out that I had had a heart attack.
In the hospital, I was ‘wired up’ again and monitored. It was a Saturday night/Sunday morning, so A&E was full of pissheads and cops with various degrees of pissed up punch up injuries. The doctors and nurses were being pushed to the limit. I remained quiet and patient. Every now and then, I would be checked on and readings/notes taken. I was asked about how I felt. Having been pumped full of morphine, I was blissfully chilled! By morning, and once the lager louts had all passed out, I was ready to go home. I felt fine. I relayed that to a nurse. She said that she would ask the doctor for me. She was taking the ECG readings when I started to get the awful pains again. She called for help. I was given more morphine until the pain subsided. Shortly thereafter the doctor dealing with me came over and explained that I had just had a second heart attack. I was therefore not going home, but being transferred to a ward in the cardiac department.
The doctor introduced himself as Dr. Czipp. As he had an eastern European accent that went with his name, I asked him from where he hailed. He told me that he is Hungarian. I had noticed that on one of the computer screens a temporary label had been attached with the words ‘Dr. Atilla Czipp. I couldn’t help but laugh, saying, “Are you telling me that you are Hungarian and your name is Atilla?”
“Yes. Why are you laughing?”
I continued laughing as I said, “So, you’re saying that I’ve just had my life saved by Atilla the Hun?!”
He laughed at my observation.
Dr. Czipp was great. He explained that he had been able to find the hospital records of all the recent scans that I had had. He had discovered that I had a serious problem that needed urgent attention. He also informed me that I was lucky to be alive. If I had not got to hospital, another attack would likely have been fatal.
*Photograph courtesy of historythings.com