Thursday, August 7, 2008

Still Beating After All This Time

Since we got back from Turkey, I have been increasingly tired to the point of exhaustion. By late afternoon, I could go to bed for the night but would still be tired in the morning. So this morning, Dr. Tanya, Veterinarian, decided to take my blood pressure. 120 over 80. Not bad in my books but my pulse was 50, then 45. No idea what this means other than I think I am suffering from a coffee deficiency but Tanya calls her friend Ira (pronounced Ear-a, short for Irina) a nurse who runs the Pharmacy Kiosk in our little grocery store.

Her doctor husband Valerie scoots over on his scooter to check me out and decides we need an ECG since I don’t have a recent one on me. In Ukraine, your medical records are yours and your responsibility to look after which makes more sense to me than the Canadian system where your doctor holds them captive in case you might want to see another doctor. Valerie calls the hospital which sends the ambulance. They bring in a cute portable ECG machine in a bag and start to hook it up. When they pull out all the cables and wires to attach to me, I ask if they learned their trade at the Lubyanka which gets a laugh (and Tanya repeats the joke the rest of the morning).

The doctor isn’t sure about the portable ECG readout so we are bundled into the ambulance and head for the hospital. The only thing which might have drawn more attention in our neighbour hood would have been if the police had taken me away with sirens and blue flashing lights. The ambulance is a mid-80’s full size van, with a driver and two “paramedics”, a stretcher, first aid kit, oxygen and portable ECG. On the way up the hill on Moscovskaya St., the ambulance flatlines so they call in a back up. It is an army-green Russian-built 4WD that by western standards should have seen service in the Spanish Civil War.

At the hospital I get another ECG which is taken upstairs to the cardiologist who reports back in a few minutes that it is good, no problems. A nurse comes and takes a blood sample for haemoglobin and sugar among other things. Twenty minutes later, the lab report is back. All is well. Blood sugar is 6 which is the high end of normal though it didn’t surprise me any, since I had scarfed down two kolbassa sandwiches along with a cup of coffee two hours earlier while waiting for the ambulance.

So Tanya is all happy. I will not die on her just yet. I am well and healthy, just need to eat more fruit and veggies and less sweets (and drink slightly more coffee and one cognac per day). I feel better already.

When I do pass on to my reward, she is supposed to cremate me and ship the ashes home in an urn to be dropped in a post hole in the family plot. It might be simpler just to give my corpse an enema and mail the body home in a shoe box.


  1. I'm glad to hear we won't need to be picking up your ashes from Canada Post any time soon.

    Keep living. And eat healthier, old man.

  2. Glad you aren't as close to that shoe box as they thought. Try not to relax too much. You might pass out.


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