The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

11:14am on Thursday, 20th January, 2005:

Affairs of the Heart


My heart keeps stopping.

Fortunately, it has always restarted thus far, but you never know...

It does literally stop. It misses a complete beat. Because the phenomenon tends to come in clumps, I've managed to take my pulse when it happens. Pulse ... pulse ... pulse ... feeling of impending death ... pulse ... pulse ...

I went to see my doctor (or at least, I went to the surgery — I get a different actual physician every time) and he said it was the sign of a healthy heart. I'm not convinced: my brother's heart keeps inserting beats it's not supposed to be inserting, my father had two heart attacks last year (which would have killed him except he'd been taking heart-strengthening pills for 20 years as a result of a misdiagnosis — when he does cop his clogs, we'll have to club his heart to death with a stick) and my father's brother went the whole hog and actually died of a heart attack 4 or 5 years ago while filling his car with petrol ("how much a litre?!"). You can see why I might be a little skeptical.

The doctor sent me to get a blood test. "What things are you testing me for?" I asked. "Everything", he replied. "Even pregnancy?" "It's best to be on the safe side...".

I went to the new walk-in centre for blood tests in Colchester. It had only been open a week, and was pretty good. I got in right away. Unfortunately, it was 8am and the weather outside was freezing. I was whisked out of the waiting room before I could warm up, which meant all my veins were still receded centimeters below the surface of my skin. The nurse put 6 holes in my arms trying to find a vein, and to be fair she did find one, just it didn't produce any blood. She wanted to carry on with her prospecting, but fate took a different course. The thing was, I'd been told not to eat for the preceding 24 hours, so hadn't done. Unfortunately, I was only supposed to have not eaten for 10 hours, which meant my blood was way too low on sugar and I almost passed out. Something to do with the body's response to shock, I was told ("those bastards are trying to steal some blood — quick, faint!"). Still, I got a free cup of tea and a biscuit out of it, plus permission to gorge myself on Mars Bars for half an hour.

I went back a month later and they got two syringes full. The doctor never got in touch about the results, so my guess is that I'll probably live.

My heart has been this way on and off for ten years. First time it happened was in Singapore, following a strange incident. I was walking down the street, whistling, when this little old Chinese guy came up to me and said something in, er, Chinese. He then poked me in the stomach and scuttled off. My heart has never been the same since.

Damn those oriental mystics and their palms of quivering death!

Referenced by Acid Reflux.

Referenced by Blood....

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).