22 Aug 2008

And Then I Was Pronounced Dead......

Then it was medical time again in Bangkok. A medical with a twist.

This was the plan; medical Monday morning, fly to Hat Yai Monday afternoon and out to work Tuesday morning.

I got to Bangkok Hospital at eight thirty Monday morning and all went swimmingly. Register, temperature, height and weight.
"Water sample in this please. Now I'll just take a blood sample. And a hair sample - oh."
"Not much there is there? But it looks OK yea?"
"Right then, not to worry about that, lets take your blood pressure."
"OK, but it does look OK doesn't it? My hair?"
"Solly, my English no so good."
"It was alright a second ago...... Oh, never mind."

And that's when things started to go down hill.
"It's a little high, your blood pressure. Let's give it half an hour and try again. Upstairs you will be given a stress test and boy oh boy, your blood pressure needs to be down for that sucker, let me tell you. Oh boy. Ooo wee, it's a doozy!! How old are you? How old you say? Oh dear me...."
"Hay, your English is back up to speed!!"

So with that news to help the heart rate settle down and improve my ability to relax, I waited. But after the allotted time, another strap on the arm blown up to try and stop all circulation to my lower arm {or does it go the other way?} it was decided I could continue. By them, not me.

And continue we did; x-ray, ears, nose, throat, eyes, the ECG stuff and ever more other stuff until we arrived at the 'stress room'. In I went, and, hay, it's just a tread mill. After having hundreds of sensors glued to me, off we went. This mill kicked off at a very leisurely walking pace but after a while, actually a good while, kicked up a notch. I was soon 'walking' at a hell of a pace just to stay on the thing and we weren't even jogging yet. 

But then I was jogging. By now, like one of those test monkeys or the rats that have to differentiate between a lump of cheese and 1000 volts, I had figured out when to expect an increase in speed. The blood pressure thingy on your arm pumps up - deflates and away you go up a gear.

This has got to be the first time I have run since age 14 and it was rapidly starting to be no fun. Now we're jogging good. That's jogging to fit young bucks. To this old fool it was a Gallup. By now my whole body was starting to throb and my internal organs seemed not to be attached to anything and where just sloshing and bouncing around free style. {I always want to put two r's in around, by the way.}

Another squeeze, another gear up and a voice from 1,000 miles away telling me to just hold the handle bars, not try to lean my whole weight on them. I mean, as if.......

I was now, after what seemed like a minimum of 4 hours of this, at the stage where even my teeth seemed to be moving around independently and I was seeing everything double and treble through a red, blue and yellow haze. My internal organs were now completely displaced, and for sure, my lungs were down close to my feet and no longer working.

It was at this point, approaching 10 'G' that I signaled to the 1,000 mile away voice my wish to stop or die. Either. I didn't mind right then. The 1,000 mile away voice asked if I was sure, and I attempted a nod of the head in the affirmative, although I believe the result was just a random bouncing around. The 1,000 mile away voice said the machine will slow down and then stop. And that it did.

I 'stepped' off the tread mill of death and casually collapsed on the couch. The 1,000 mile away voice had come closer, to about 50 miles, and was saying what a shame I had stopped as I was at 75% and only had to get to 80%. That, he said was as high as they went as any higher tended to blow hearts out of the top of heads.

I left the stress room with nary a glance back and things progressed again in the real World; the shape shifters seemed to have left me along with the strange noises in my head. The weird guy in the cloak carrying a scythe also left.

After more poking, tapping, pinching it was off to see the Doctor for the final pronouncement. This is when it went from a gradual down hill slope to a plunge.
"Ah, they stopped the stress test. With your slightly high blood pressure it must have been a heart problem."
"No, I stopped the stress test. I was loosing the use of my legs along with all sense of time and place."

It was too late; as far as the Doctor was concerned I was dead. He wrote 'Unfit for Work' and called a nurse to clear me out. I was still talking, I know I was, but I was being completely ignored. As I was being shuffled out the door, still talking excitedly I truly felt like a bit player in "The Others".

Limbo in the reception area of Bangkok Hospital - what to do. I'll try moving something. OK, that worked, I'll just clean it up and try communicating with someone.
"Hi. My name's Mac and I'm dead. Is there someone I could talk to as to what I should do next?".

Not a sniff from any of the ten people behind the desk. So I am dead. Dead seems alright but it's going to get lonely unless I find more dead people.

Then a voice called my name from behind. Turning round slowly, very slowly....... it was just a nurse, at least it looked like a nurse, but I've seen movies like this so my guard was up!! Everything seemed cool and I slipped seamlessly back into the World. I was told to come back in the morning to see a heart specialist. Bit of an anti-climax after my brief stay in the 'other' world.

After a night in Bangkok finding, much to my disappointment, that I could no longer drift at will between 'here' and 'there' It was time to meet the heart man.

And now we move boringly back up hill at a rate. The heart man poked, pinched, listened, um'd and ar'd, pronounced me alive, crossed out 'Unfit for Work' wrote 'Fit for Absolutely Anything' but don't take salt, don't drink, don't smoke - oh, don't do anything remotely enjoyable ever again and you should stay alive to become a really, really miserable, really, really old git. {How about that then 'Anonymous'?} and apologized for the misunderstanding. {Was he looking at me? Or something over my shoulder?}

Quote - Harold Robbins;

"The only exercise I ever took was going to the funerals of friends of mine who used to take exercise."

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