Thursday, 5 January 2012

Edna and Eddie

Surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren, Eddie sits in an armchair so huge that it seems to almost swallow him up. 

"I'm alright," he says. "Don't know what all the fuss is about!" 

His face is pale and the sweat is pouring off him, whilst his arms hang down lethargically by the side of the chair. He denies any pain but does admit to feeling a little dizzy. 

"He's had heart trouble for years," says Edna, his wife of almost sixty years. "Never makes a fuss. Always ignores any problems until they get really too much." This time, he'd passed out for a few minutes, giving the family enough time to call for the ambulance before he came round enough to object. 

"I'm fine, I tell you." 

"Let's have a look at you and we can see what's going on. It'll only take a few minutes." 

"Oh. Do what you have to do. But I tell you there's nothing wrong that a drink down the pub with a couple of young ladies wouldn't sort." 

Edna shakes her head and rolls her eyes. "Oh, do stop messing around Eddie. You frightened the life out of the children you know. And me for that matter!" 

It takes only for me to feel for a pulse at his wrist to tell me what the problem is, or at least part of it. 

"Eddie, do you have a pacemaker?" 

"Not yet. They were talking of giving me one a while back when I kept getting dizzy spells, but whatever the problem was went away so they didn't think it was necessary." 

"Ah. I think they might have to think again. Your pulse is less than half what it should be!" Attaching him to the monitor, I hit the alarm silencing button before the irritating whine even has the chance to tell me what I already know. The number 28 appears in a bold yellow highlighted box at the top left of the screen and the flicker of a heartbeat flashes across the monitor only every other second. At least his blood pressure was behaving itself. "You're definitely going to need to pop up to the hospital. Can't have your heart only doing part time labour for full time pay." 

Moments later, the rumble of a diesel engine struggling up the steeply inclined street tells us of the ambulance's arrival. Tanya and Michelle step into the house, bringing a carry chair with them and a smile to Eddie's face. I introduce them to Eddie, explain the situation and tell them what I'd found so far. 

"He says that a drink down the pub with two young ladies should sort the problem." 

"Well," says Tanya, "it doesn't seem to be working so far. We've turned up, and your heart rate still hasn't picked up!" 

"Oh," Eddie replies, "well it might not be beating any faster, but, I can tell you, since you two walked in, it's certainly beating much stronger." 

Edna, for what must be the millionth time in their marriage, shakes her head and rolls her eyes.

1 comment:

Rach said...

Oh crumbs, my dad's going to be just like that... Mr "it's bedbugs" - no it's shingles. Mr "it's a hiatus hernia" - no it's a heart problem. The daft thing is that I'm just the same - I don't want to make a fuss and I definitely don't want others to make a fuss of me. I will get reincarnated as a cat, as will dear old dad!
It's so hard to get people to worry about themselves when they've got others to take care of. I reckon that goes more than double for those that look after others for a living.
Rach x