For most fast lane white collar workers, a heart attack, like a fatal accident or trauma, is something that happens, or is deserved by only seniors. Their role is limited to waiting outside ICUs with flowers. Thus, when I was wheeled into the hospital to have amendments made to the pumping machine, I was not very well prepared to – in management jargon – optimally utilise my stay there. Wisdom articles, TV programmes and HR workshops will tell you how to avoid a heart attack – exercise regularly, don’t be restricted a sedentary life, keep stress under control, maintain regular hours, quit smoking immediately, reduce your weight, and your alcohol- in short, stop living. Whoever heard of a good life and regular hours and all that, and that too without the after-breakfast cigarette, the sundowner, the after-dinner cigarette, and the after cigarette! So what do you do? Prepare to make the best of the heart attack, of course. And, since there is so far absolute silence on this subject, here’s the primer on some of the basics required to get the most out of your stay in the hospital.
The first and foremost is to select a good hospital. This is crucial. You are going to spend some time there. So it is always best to find out which hospital suits you best. Find one that’s close to where you stay and which has a good ambulance service. There is no point reaching there after having kicked the bucket. One good way of doing this is to go to some of the better-known ones. How? That’s not so difficult. You can get some tests done in these hospitals. Even if you don’t need the tests right now, you will find that most hospitals are glad to do it for you. Also, visit as many in- patients as you can. Check for reports of sickness in the office, the neighbourhood, social circle and elsewhere. Check with the spurious drug dealer and use hypodermic sellers if you can. You will know which to avoid or at least carry your own when these are required. Either way you can get a good look at all the facilities including the critically important nursing services area that can make the crucial difference between hospitalisation, rest and recreation.
The second important item on the agenda is to know some Malayalam. The chances are overwhelming that whichever hospital you are in, over 80 percent of the nursing care is probably provided by nightingales from Kerala. Therefore, a smattering knowledge of the lingo can go a long way in making your stay warm and comfortable. Though if you are in with a pumping problem, then caution may be recommended, at least initially.
And this is where the choice of the hospital is important. A place where the post-op has single cubicles with dedicated help on a 24-hour basis, where visitors are allowed only during limited times and where mobiles in patients’ rooms are banned is best. The former provides the ground for the sweet-nothings relationship while the latter makes sure that you are not disturbed. It is an excellent arrangement. One last word of advice: don’t let it be known that you know a little bit of the lingo. Wait for a day at least, and then pick the right time; maybe when they are discussing you or some other emotive issue.
The next item is slightly different. It’s to do with your anatomy. Try and learn precisely where your veins can be punctured for the IV inputs. The hit and trial pricking of the needles can be quite a nuisance. The local drug dealer or the addict in your area can be a good guide. In my case, I was not privileged with this wisdom before the event occurred. By the time I was through, my arms had looked more like the testing ground for a hypodermic needle manufacturer or a ‘60s flower child’s shrunken thighs.
Even if you are not able to take care of the earlier ones, this is the one you cannot afford to miss. Whether you are interested or not, immediately procure the following: books and other learning primers on palmistry, numerology, and graphology. Start reading them and, at the earliest, start testing your knowledge. It never fails. When Florence Nightingale puts a thermometer in the mouth or comes close to give you your dose of medicines, you can always remark about some line in the hand and ask her to show it to you. It’s a great conversation starter and breaks the general monotony of undergoing treatment. The seed has been sown, and it never fails to work. Now you just watch as everything around you happens automatically and there is no dearth of fresh, beautiful people round-the-clock.
If you follow the tips sincerely, then you are equipped to make the most of your away-from-work heart-care sojourn. Maybe you will write the sequel to this. Oh yes! I know what you are saying. How about the fairer of the Homo sapiens or if even after all this preparation, the machine in the rib cage refuses to misfire? Well in the first case, just look at the hospital with the smart doctors, and there are plenty of them. Look after your natural assets, maybe give a slight boost and lift to the T&A segment contour and shape. A bit of additional bounce and jiggle, some tight fit clothing if possible coupled with the conviction that most buttons and buttonholes in the gown are best left separated, and you don’t need anything else. Throw in some wiggle and some show and tease and you’re on a sure wicket.
For the second, i.e. if your heart refuses to misfire by staying healthy, then you just have to concentrate more on the items described in paragraph 3. If it still does not happen, then leave your heart for the medical research people, or for the distilleries. Both ways, posterity, will benefit and so will you. God bless your heart!