Yesterday I went to see my own doctor to get some advice on the matter. Deploying my English stiff upper lip, I declined to burst into tears or sit on his lap, sobbing. Instead I maintained what I hoped was a dignified air of disappointed truculence, garnished with a soupcon of 'Life goes on.' The result was a useful chat about the situation (which I shall bore you with no longer, dear reader) but which also touched upon something which has been bothering me for at least eighteen months.
A little while ago (you may surmise that it was around eighteen months or so, you cunning swine, you), I began to experience strange heart beats - a feeling that my heart was skipping one or more beats at regular intervals. While new and strange, it was also bloody frightening. Since having it checked out, one old (and thankfully, now retired) GP managed to instil something approaching panic in me about the situation, and my much younger, intensely competent personal GP has sought to reassure me that I am NOT about to drop down dead.
Because of my diabetes, I see my doctor at least every three months, when he tells me how old and fat I have become since he last saw me. Actually, that's not quite true - when earlier this year I was subjected to a 'medical' by him, he described me as a 'strapping' individual. While ever so slightly disquieted by the possibility of this being a coded reference to some extreme sexual play, I laughed it off before kicking the chair over and running for my life. The point is that I see the good doctor more regularly than most people visit their own GP. I have my blood tested every three months and we discuss general health matters and good practice - all of which I earnestly agree with and then almost immediately earnestly forget when I get home (excuse me while I pause to dip my chocolate bar in some melted lard...).
For the last twelve months, I have cunningly managed to insert this heart beat thing into the conversation at every opportunity (and if there wasn't an opportunity, I'd create one). Doctor Dennis (not his real name) has patiently advised me that this condition is not dangerous, that it's a nuisance, an inconvenience and a discomfort but nothing more. he's done this a number of times. I always believe him - right up until the next ectopic heartbeat, at which point I become immediately convinced that I should be carrying ID and a copy of my will with me at all times. The old ticker, after all, is about as fundamental an organ as it's possible to have (some might put the brain first, but I've been functioning without one of those for fifty one years), and anything strange going on in there is a little disturbing, to put it mildly.
Yesterday, the doctor hit upon a selection of words (cunningly strung together in the correct order which effectively calmed my fears. FINALLY, he told me that it's not going to cause a cardiac arrest and neither is it going to cause a heart attack. Well, as you can imagine, I was filled with relief. Warmly, I shook him by the throat and muttered something like "Eighteen fucking months I've been waiting to hear you say that...eighteen months!" As he straightened his collar, he pointed out that my voice had drifted into italics on a couple of words, which earned him a swift uppercut and kick to the undercarriage, but so deep is our rapport, we parted as friends (in a doctor/patient kind of way).
I felt much better as I left the building, but I'm not sure about him...