A Cautionary Tale

23rd January 2013 0315
‘This smells like Death’ first thought that came to my mind after waking at 0315. got up about 0330 for a glass of milk and while I’m up let’s have a cigarette. But where on earth did a thought like that come from? The previous night had been very congenial, a glass or two of red wine in good company,a few cigarettes, (Dunhill),maybe 7 or 8 certainly no more than 14 for the whole day, after a meal of french fries, mushrooms and chicken, not quite junk food but not in the healthy bracket either. in bed by 12.30 and so to sleep.
After staying up for about an hour and having 3 more cigarettes, along with the milk, it felt like I should go to bed and try and sleep again, despite the mild chest pain(indigestion?) some would say, certainly didn’t feel life threatening.
Waking up 3 or 4 times during the night has been quite normal for the last year or so. so why should today be any different? come to think of it a straight nights sleep without waking had become pretty rare in the last few years.
This morning waking at 6.39, 1 minute before the alarm went off(also quite normal),the pain in the chest had emerged a little stronger this time with maybe a little nausea, but certainly not threatening, or so I thought. After a cup of tea and making breakfast for Aaron(none for Me), plus all the the usual ablutions by the time it was ready for the school run, usually 7.55, I was feeling pretty good, all pain gone despite having 1 more cigarette since the 6.40 alarm!

The trip to school was uneventful,down the Dublin motorway towards Shannon Airport taking the last turn off before the Tunnel under the Shannon river, negotiating the usual rude entrants on to the roundabout from the Foynes road,and on to the dock road into Limerick. Traffic was reasonably light for this time of day taking no more than 10 minutes for the 3 miles to get to the first Limerick bridge over the Shannon(built in the 80’s and named after the \mayoress  at the time Condell), and on to the north circular road and Villiers school by 8.25.

With Aaron safely in school it was off for the return journey, not the way I came but the back road first through Parteen, then Blackwater and O’Briens Bridge. Now to get some fuel at the parteen filling station on the Corbally road. Having asked the attendant for €50 of petrol, I made my way to the shop to pay when the first chest pain began, very high up not indigestion but becoming intense. I never have more than 1 cup of tea in the morning so no excuses for excess food in the pipeline. Getting back in the car, I know I’ve only got 20 mins or so to home, so started of without any duress towards Blackwater. Traffic is light so far, up on to the Kilaloe road, the chest pain is getting more aggravating than dibilitating, but I know I have to get home. Very light traffic but i’m getting close to the O’Brian’s Bridge turn off on the Kilaloe road and now ‘feel’ something is wrong, slight increase in pain, vacuous sensation in my lower jaw, and slight pain in my left arm.(Pain Level 1-10 just 2)
At his stage I have to ring home. I’m able to dial office rather than speed dial. leave message and dial fax line no answer!!!! start to speed dial Wendi’s Mobile(which she never answers) when she rings me. “Hi, I think I’m in trouble”
Wendi:-“stay where you are and I’ll come for you”
“No, I’m coming home,see you soon” at this stage I know I’m within 5 mins of home but I don’t know if I can make it!(I have to!)

9.00 am.Through the gates and into the Car port,(big mistake), Wendi is coming down the other drive and follows me into the car port. At this stage I’m out of the car in the fresh air at the side of the car,the vacuous sensation in the lower jaw is very present and the ache in my chest (still 2 out of 10),is becoming tiresome. John is arguing with the ambulance control as to the address, which is the Orchard Castleconnell, “I NEED A STREET NUMBER” she screams down the phone, John reinstates that there isn’t one just “the Orchard C”….. hangs up and goes down to the gate to await Ambulance. I’m amazed I know I have to leave the electric gates open, that was easy, standing up next to the car wasn’t. Wendi has fetched the Doctor,rather than phone, good move,(Blanaid McCurtain),luckily was just in her own front door, but she beats Wendi back to the Car port barely 100 yds away. At this stage I’m in the back seat of the car, Blanaid is telling me to chew aspirin, sprays once with Glytrin, no effect. Sprays under the toungue again, at this stage I’m in and out of conciousness but don’t know it, still no effect. I feel my arms go lymp, Wendi is telling me to stay with her,of course I will but don’t say anything, I shouldn’t have to should I? Blanaid sprays under the toungue still able to lift it as directed but I’m not communicating,apart from indicating pain level at 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, hands noticebly hanging lose as Blanaid gets Fibulator and Injects me with something, seems to have an effect.

9.35 ambulance has arrived and takes over from Blanaid, I get moved to the Ambulance where they have problems straight away. Something’s not working. We stop on the road and they call for another ambulance to rendezvous with them as their equipment seems not to be working. Still waiting on side of the road when equipment starts to work. Starts up without siren and cancels the ambulance rendezvous.

10.00 arrive at new intensive care wing at dooradoyle only opened the week before.
Nobody seems to know the directions to anywhere, but after ride in lift down the end of a corridor I’m on the table for an angiogram whatever that is. The Doctor is telling me I’m going to feel hot flushes,which I do and then I’m in a room with the very latest top of the range hospital furniture in a bed on my own, Silence!