Heart Attack!

Man Heart AttackEight days back I had to undergo angioplasty as two heart arteries were eighty percent blocked. Of course, all my relatives and friends were shocked that I (of all people) had a heart attack, and some black magic believers I know smiled knowingly, as if to say that all the exercising and dieting I had done over the years had gone wasted. But then, I had known for eight years that I was headed for coronary disease, after a series of tests had shown that my untreated hypertension of 30 years had affected my heart.

Why I didn’t take pills until that time to contain the high blood pressure is another story: I’d heard that such medication caused impotence and naturally I didn’t want to know what it felt like to be a eunuch. But the cardiologist who treated me eight years ago prescribed a pill which ensured that my masculinity wouldn’t be affected, so I started taking those pills (I was 57 at that time).

Unfortunately I made the mistake of never visiting that cardiologist (or any other specialist) again. I assumed, wrongly, that my thirty minutes daily on the treadmill and a diet rich in fibre would prevent my heart from exploding. So, when I felt a searing pain in the chest which soon engulfed my entire body and left me shaking and sweating, I knew my time had come. I lay down for about twenty minutes, while the pain subsided, and headed for the heart hospital not far from my house.

Now I’d seen my mother undergo heart surgery in 1998 and I couldn’t help marveling how much things have changed. In those days the city had only one major heart hospital. The equipment was primitive and one had to wait a few days before angiography could be done (there was a long waiting list). Now I estimate that there are at least a dozen hospitals in Karachi for heart treatment. In those days there were very few heart surgeons, while I was operated upon by a cheerful woman cardiologist, who I later learned is one of the best in the country. I was on the operation table for about forty minutes and watched on a big screen the rings (stens) being inserted into my blocked arteries.

My cousin visiting Karachi from the U.S. remarked that the equipment and hospital standards were comparable to those in America. I do think we are lucky to have access to the most modern healthcare system, even though it costs a lot.

Image: La Dolce Living

8 thoughts on “Heart Attack!”

  1. Shakir: Aha, got the ol’ fuel pump cleaned and carburetor rejetted, now the motor’s running like a top. That’s probably the stents at work. Be happy!

    I don’t know about your doctors, but our doctors take a Hippocratic oath that includes the term “do no harm.” Since when is denting the bank account that badly not harmful? Ahem…

  2. James: I’ve been taking a 75-mg coated aspririn pill every day for 8 years (now increased to two pills daily). They’ve also prescribed a cholesterol lowering drug, and other medicines to control hypertension. I feel like a new man!

  3. Wow, close call, amigo! I am so glad you got through it. You would be sorely missed. I’m told that taking a couple of powdered aspirins can often buy some time until you can get to proper care, in the event of a heart attack, and that an aspirin every other day or so can help dissolve plaque in the arteries.

    We care about the ills of the world, and by now know how to fix many of them, but we shouldn’t fret ourselves to death if the damfools don’t listen to our aged wisdom, should we?

  4. Thanks, Hina. Please tell everyone in hour family (the males, particularly) not to ignore warning symptoms. Men are much more likely to suffer “silent” heart attacks than women.


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