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Excess baggage has a lot to answer for

28 Jan 2008 8:23 AM - Sunshine Coast Daily

I wasn’t going to share this experience with you because it is similar to a column Jamie Dunn wrote late last year, but after thinking about it for about 30 seconds, I decided to hell with being called a copycat.

A couple of weeks ago, shortly after I visited my mother and was on the way to work, I started getting short knifing pains in the right side of my chest.

Now I am a well-known hypochondriac. I have also had chest pain before and have had extensive tests that found the obvious – a head that only kind people would love and carrying about 20 kilos excess baggage.

So I soldiered on to work and went about my day, which turned out to be little bit more stressful than usual, and the pain in my chest continued to be my constant companion.

About mid-afternoon I decided things weren’t improving so I waddled down to my old mate Warren Blee, who took my blood pressure and suggested I waddle off to the doctor, immediately.

Still not panicking, I headed back to work to ring my doctor, who is usually busier than George Bush at a War Convention. This day was no different, so with a slight sweat breaking out I rang Medicine on Second, as it is only around the corner and Doctor Michael is my mum’s doctor.

After I explained to the lady what my symptoms were, she told me to come on around.

So in the car and around I went. And as I sat at the lights near Kentucky Fried, inhaling the smell of chicken and staring into the Colonel’s eyes, I remember thinking that maybe this was his fault.

I then turned on my stereo in the car. I have a new CD of Aka Bilk (yes, I am old; 20 years ago it would have been Akar Dakar), and the first thing I heard was the tune to I Did It My Way. Even though it was an instrumental, I remembered the words, the first verse being: “And now the end is near …”

I then realised the predicament I was in wasn’t the Colonel’s fault, it was mine. This at least got a chuckle out of me, because my eating habits could certainly be described by one of the next lines in that song: “I did it my way.”

I managed to get to the doctor’s surgery without any more omens and calmly told them my problem. I was treated like the king – straight out the back onto the cart of a very efficient nurse who took my blood pressure again.

By this time they could have used me to blow up helium balloons, it was that high.

But anyway, my good friend the ECG machine and a very nice Doctor Joanne concluded that the chest pain was possibly unrelated to the heart but had probably set off my blood pressure, etc, which was all quite embarrassing. However, I consoled myself that I would rather be a coward than a dead hero.

I was then sent off to have an endoscope to see if it was something relating to my stomach that set it off.

Once again treated like a King by Doctor Don and his staff, particularly when they realised I was a dormouse in the Alice in Wonderland pantomime. I guess they figured that my performance was bad enough without me having something wrong with me as well.

At the time of writing this, I still don’t know if there is anything amiss but without any medical experience, I may have an idea.

Firstly, I sent Dr Michael an email and expressed my thanks and suggested that maybe I should lose some weight, and he came back with the idea of getting some people together for a charity weight-loss competition to lose 20 kilos in 20 weeks. This may be just the motivation I need – if I don’t lose weight, I lose money. It should work.

Now way back at the start I mentioned visiting my dear old mum. What I didn’t say was that for the last few years I have been going there other every Monday for breakfast.

One week it will be a baker’s dozen of corned beef fritters, the next week half a pig – both accompanied by a hen house full of eggs. The fact that I inhale them like a skinny kid in boarding school may also be part of the problem.

So it wasn’t the Colonel after all.