After she left to do some shopping, I enjoyed the rest of the day.
Oh what a wag ! No seriously, I did wake up with a pain in my neck. And I didn't feel too well either. It was actually a continuation of the previous evening when I'd returned from playing badminton and didn't feel good at all.
That was because on 22nd November 1992, a date that will live in infamy, I'd had a heart attack.
It wasn't your standard arm grabbing, chest clutching, staggering 100 meters to find a dramatic place to collapse type of heart attack. It was more a feel sick, back hurts, neck hurts sort of deal and so it was hardly a surprise that even for a self diagnosed hypochondriac like myself, the idea that I'd suffered a heart attack didn't come immediately to mind.
Just as well as the stress would've probably given me another one and finished me off !
Now ME not knowing I'd had a heart attack was one thing. My doctor not knowing it was quite another. And not knowing it for over 2 months while many of the symptoms persisted was enough for me, and others who are unhappily still his patients, to call him Dr. Death. Not because he's in the habit of killing people. Oh no.
He's just in the habit of not realising when death is approaching and doing much of anything about it !!
It was only after many weeks of having pains in my neck (probably a pulled muscle from excessive badminton, was the diagnosis from Dr. Death) that I decided to put my company membership of BUPA (private medical cover in the UK) to good use and go see a proper doctor.
One with a white coat and stethoscope so I KNEW he was qualified. After a few quick tests and a disturbingly brief run on a treadmill with a crash cart next to me (never a confidence builder), Dr. White Coat passed me up the fashion ladder to Dr. Black Suit who looked at my chart, gave a few tuts, mumbled "that's not good" which I can tell you is even less of a confidence builder, and immediately booked me in for an angiogram.
"An angiogram ?" I spluttered, feeling my heart beating a lot faster and sweat appearing from every orifice.
"Yes, an angiogram. We need to see what damage was done by the heart attack," said Dr. Black Suit in a rather casual matter-of-fact way.
"HEART ATTACK !!!!," I gasped, in true theatrical fashion.
At least that's what I said out loud. In my mind I was thinking.......WTF. I'm 40. I don't smoke. I don't drink and I weigh less than Kate Moss after a binge session at a Chinese buffet. Well ok that last bit isn't strictly accurate but the rest is.....was.
Well thank you, Dr. Death. Thanks a bunch. That's how we like to be informed we've had a major medical meltdown. Oh sorry.......pulled muscle. Silly me.
And so, thanks to BUPA, a couple of days later I had the angiogram and we all found out that I'd more blocked passages than a Swiss tunnel in February. I needed a quadruple bypass and I needed it...well about 2 months previously, if truth be told.
In stepped the magnificent Dr. Nair who gave me a 5 for 4 special BUPA offer :
"You only really need 4 bypasses but while I'm in there, I'll do a 5th." said the smartly dressed little cardiothoracic surgeon from some far flung outpost of the old Empire. Hoping he didn't moonlight in a Bradford call centre, I entrusted my life to him and his team and 17 years after my quintuple bypass, I think I can say with some degree of confidence, that he did a damn fine job.
As for Dr. Death, well he's still practicing and never was that word more appropriate. I switched doctors after my surgery and so he hasn't practiced on me for the best part of 17 years.
I suspect....hell I KNOW......that's why I'm still here.