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Published:November 30th, 2008 10:24 EST
Sometimes it is Difficult to Decide What to Do When Feeling Breathless

Sometimes it is Difficult to Decide What to Do When Feeling Breathless

By Askin Ozcan (Mentor)

After having had a pizza, in our neighborhood pizzeria, I walked home. As I came into the building, I felt breathless and couldn`t climb the stairs to my apartment, two floors up. There was no pain in my chest, so I haven`t even thought that it might be a heart-attack, though I am sixty eight. I had with me an unopened tube of nitro-glycerin, and aspirins which melt in the mouth. I didn`t take these. The neighbor opened her door and offered me a glass of water. I rested for five minutes and went up to my flat.

After some rest, everything was OK. But, I wondered what it was, which troubled me. I called the local hospital, to ask a nurse. The answering machine asked for my name and phone number which I gave. Three hours later, the nurse called me and said, if you don`t have pain in your chest, it is probably not serious. You can meet your doctor tomorrow. If you have pain, call an ambulance and go to the central hospital. I didn`t have any pain whatsoever, so I didn`t call for an ambulance.

The next day, I went to see my doctor. After an ECG and a blood test, my doctor said, you have had a major heart attack!? He called an ambulance and sent me directly to the central hospital. After a few days in the intensive care, I learned from a brochure, older people usually get their heart-attacks pain free? Further examinations revealed I needed a by-pass operation and my heart had already lost one third of its pumping capacity.

I didn`t want to have a by-pass operation, as 2-3% die during the operation and it is a very major operation indeed and one doesn`t come to himself for six months after the operation. I like an easy life. Operations, especially of this kind, aren`t for me.

Doctors told me, though a by-pass operation is recommended, I have a chance to survive with medicines. I preferred this second best method of treatment. Now, I take blood pressure medicines, namely metoprolol (150 mgr), atacand (to open up the veins), hydrochlortiazide 25 mgr.,  Imdur ( longtime nitroglycerine), Plavix and aspirin 75 mgr. to keep the blood running, and a light medicine for diabetes. Simvastatine (against high blood fats) gave me acute muscle inflammation, so we cut it out, as my fat levels are extra low anyway, said the doctor.

There were a few very nice nurses in the hospital, but not knowing if they have a boyfriend or not, I didn`t ask them out. To the doctors, I told a few jokes, some of which I wrote already on the SOP. A particular one was appreciated:

Mr. B. goes to his doctor to have his brain examined. After an encephalography, his doctor tells him: Mr. on the left side of your brain, there is nothing right. And on the right side, there is nothing left!?

So, they sent me home, told me not to eat low fat foods, exercise daily, go down in weight, be optimistic, take my medicines everyday, the same time, attend to the blood tests regularly and be careful with stairs and with ladies. They allowed a glass of red wine now and then and a shot of 4 cc whisky after meals and no smoking, which I quit 25 years ago. The rest is up to God.

Had I known fat cheeses, kebabs, pizzas, hamburgers, animal fats,  being overweight, not exercising  were really that dangerous, I would have acted accordingly all my life. I think schools should really put more emphasis on health and prevention from diseases, as they do on mathematics, history, Shakespeare and such.

Now, I live on my over-time and I am trying to enjoy myself.

Take care of yourselves! Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and fish. Don`t smoke, don`t drink excessively. Exercise daily. Sleeps well, don`t stress yourselves.

You only live once.