For clarity, I should perhaps add that the stiffness was in the content rather than the quality of the writing paper, though it was a reasonably heavy yellowish cream stock. It bore a perhaps slightly grandiose letterhead (printed, not engraved) proclaiming the writer to be an ‘Honorary Professor in Cardiovascular, Sports and Exercise Medicine’, which seemed to cover just about everything in life that I can’t stand, apart from socialism.
Actually, it was really a letter to my GP, copied to me either (a) to put the fear of God into me, or (b) on the grounds that the best way to get my GP to read it was to bring it to my attention so that I would then pester him on the subject. If so, it was 100% successful on both counts.
The Professor was writing to say that he was concerned about my ‘probable angina pectoris’ and the fact that I am not taking ‘either a betablocker or a rate limiting calcium channel blocker’ as he feels that I ‘may well have silent ischaemia’. He prescribed me something of the sort after my last consultation with him, but I fell ill shortly afterwards and my commonsense GP told me to stop taking the pills, whereupon I got better. Either or both the feeling ill and the getting better could, of course, be complete coincidences. But I don’t like taking pills so any excuse will do.
|Just like this, it was: only with more rolls of fat and fewer smiles|
The Prof was also banging on about the fact that I ‘should undergo cardiac catheterisation’ on the grounds that it is the only way of ‘ruling out significant coronary disease’. His own website proclaims that the death rate from angiograms is only 1 in 1,000, which I can see are pretty good odds, but the procedure sounds uncomfortable, I loathe hospitals and fundamentally I’d rather not know what is going on inside me. A nice, quick, clean, fatal heart attack would do me nicely. Selfish, I know, now that I have a wife and child, but I have never pretended to be anything other than thoroughly selfish.
Mrs H keep saying ‘Yes, but what if you have a nasty, slow, excruciatingly painful heart attack that just leaves you in pain and disabled?’ Fair point. But why is it that I am the one who is always painted as the pessimist in our relationship?