Friday April 10, 2009, Time 5.30 pm, Place: Wockhardt Heart Centre - Kamineni Hospitals, Hyderabad.
Ten hours after it started the pain in the chest didn't subside and then the Cardiologist said, "We need to put you in observation for the night"... in the next half hour I was in the ICCU (Intensive Cardiac Care Unit)… then started the trauma!
It was 7.30 am of the Friday morning, what started as a harmless pain in the chest on the left side, soon turned worrisome and gastric was ruled out, a local physician said there was a mild variation in the ECG, but prescribed half a dozen tablets. As time passed, the pain only got worse, until it was decided to go to Kamineni and after the usual ECG and 2D Echo had ruled out any problem came the Troponin-T blood test that put me in the dock, it was construed to be a cardio-vascular problem.
As I was being wheeled into the ICCU, I could see tears dripping from Wife's eyes and my friend Raghuveer grim faced, in a few moments I was left alone with no contact with family and friends, at the mercy of the wired wonders that never ceased to beep throughout the night, the friendly nurses and the serious faced cardiologists. A night that I shall never forget in my life, brought back all memories - good and bad, memories of friends and foes, the highs and lows in life, the best and worst - yes sleep was the last thing on mind... NO I was not scared to sleep, I was sure something was amiss, but then this was one night I had to prove that I was fine... and am going to be fine for long... to fulfill Life's unfulfilled dreams!
A Couple of more ECGs and the long drawn 2D Echo in the night were enough to tell me I was doing great, and I badly wanted to convey this to my family and friends outside - but to no avail, the Doctors however were busy trying to pin me down to go for an Angiogram, that would prove that there was no clutter in the path to my heart. Then the twist happened, the 6.30am blood test proved two things, the Trop-T was negative - wow, did I heave a sigh of relief, and then it also told that my Cholesterol levels had increased considerably over the past 6 months.
But the Good news was - I had NO cardiac issue whatsoever - the valves leading to my heart are all clutter free and clear...!
The Saturday morning did bring cheer to my wife and Raghuveer's face - The Chief cardiologist declared that I would be allowed to go (discharged was his word) following the TMT (Tread Mill Test). It wasn't until 11.30 am that I had the privilege of stepping out of the ICCU to take the final test to prove my fitness. Soon I had run the best race of my life with out moving out of the room, I must've covered over 10 kms before I stopped the treadmill owing to pain in the calf and not pain in the chest, I had cleared the final hurdle and was wearily on my way home.
It was an emotional moment to see my daughter after almost 22 hrs and the faces of my parents and sister too lit up...!
The Final diagnosis: No Cardio-Vascular Problem, No Gastric problem, High level of Cholesterol and increased triglyceride count.
Yes I will soon have to be facing a battery of visitors and a multitude of advice – I was getting ready for the worst now.
What followed was a list of Dos and Don’ts from all and sundry, they called it a wake up call, they said I needed to exercise more, some said I needed to cut down on oil, a few added “stop junk food”, then I heard ‘No rice – more bread’, Samosas, Mirchis, Burgers, Pizzas, Pav Bhaajis all joined the list of don’ts. But the one that was unanimous on everyone’s lips was – “Quit Smoking”, I knew it was coming, but this one was a deluge, the endless flow of words on the carcinogenic effect and the cardio-vascular relation, I was never more educated than now.
Yes I’ve kicked the butt to ensure that I don’t kick the bucket early. Even as I write this after a week of the incident, I feel as fresh and healthy as ever sans the vice that was part of my life for 23 years.
In conclusion: I have gained a few more grey hair with knowledge of the harmful effects of the vices, I’ve sent shock and shivers across my friends and their families - for no apparent fault of mine and above all I am truly indebted to the well wishers who have been so concerned and caring in their support.
I continue to believe in the motto :
Life is too wonderful to be spent worrying