Industry matters of the heart

Graham Harsant
Graham Harsant

Well, two friends of mine anyway - if you can call that a rash.

Jimmy is 50 and owns a dirty great excavator, which keeps him pretty busy.

He gets plenty of exercise and is not carrying excess baggage around his gut or anywhere else.

A few weeks ago, about midnight, this "never had a sick day in my life" bloke woke up with incredible chest pain.

Luckily, for him, he was staying at his mum's place.

She had been a nurse and she only needed one look at him to call an ambulance.

His heart attack was so severe it was touch and go whether he would make it to the hospital.

The result was a quadruple bypass the next day.

Incredibly, the silly bugger started playing with his excavator two weeks after the operation.

"I got bored sitting around doing nothing," he said.

Then it was my 61-year-old next-door neighbour, Neville's, turn.

Nev woke up in the middle of the night hot and clammy and feeling that someone had put his chest in a vice.

Unlike Jimmy, he didn't think it was severe enough to call the paramedics and would have let the whole episode slip but for his wife's urging him to see a doctor the next day.

From there he was shoved off to a specialist who announced he would need a triple bypass.

"We'll get you in some time in the next six weeks," he was told.

When he came home and told me I commented it seemed a bit like Russian roulette.

"Well, they don't consider me to be in imminent danger and I don't have private health insurance," he replied.

Four days later he had another turn and this time took an ambulance. After 48 hours they sent him home again with a: "We'll try and move the date forward but no promises."

Nev skis in winter, sailboards in summer, doesn't smoke, drinks bugger all and eats healthily.

As we all know, things come in threes and I've rapidly turned into a hypochondriac.

Every little ache and pain, I'm sure, is emanating from my chest region.

I've decided to bite the bullet, use some of that $4000 a year that we pay to Medibank Private and go and have all the tests.

What worries me most is that I'm liable to have a heart attack on the treadmill.

It may take me some time to get an appointment, though, because every other bloke that knows Jimmy and Nev is also booking in - and that can't be a bad thing.

This industry doesn't have a great reputation when it comes to looking after ourselves. Maybe you lot should think about doing the same.

Take care of you.

Big Rigs

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