hearthealth

Like the lazy writer I am, I spend some of my days staring into the abyss that is the internet, trying to read everything on it before an unknown force deletes it.  I want to tell rosy stories most times but it is clearly not what the world wants me to do. 2017 has been hard, I am not going to get into details but my life is not what you want to read about every day trust me. When I write I rumble and my life seeps through my writing but I have this need we call privacy, so in an effort to remain mysterious I have neglected my blog. More like deserted it really; I went away when the sun was too hot and came back after the rains. My timing is impeccable, don’t you agree? Also my blog looks like a homeless person’s shelter on the street. Everything is everywhere my techie friend is responsible for this mess.

Like you all daughters and sons of the earth I am in the race of improving myself and my world. Somewhere along the way I was required to take an ECG test. For you who doesn’t know about Google or is just too lazy to bother an electrocardiogram (ECG) is a simple test that can be used to check your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity. Sensors attached to the skin are used to detect the electrical signals produced by your heart each time it beats. Mine came back abnormal. It said my left atrium is enlarged. That is exactly eight days ago today, yes I have counted every minute since that day. You lay on your back with your bare chest and let another human rub your chest with cream too cold and slimy, lube would not win in a competition.  I remember the nurse at the first hospital was complaining about how bony my chest is the sensors had no meat for suction.

After my diagnosis I went home, I don’t remember my commute well, I might have walked all the way home. I was in Meru at the time and in a daze. I sat at the edge of my father’s compound and wept for one hour, I checked my watch. Every minute mattered from that moment on. My dad came looking for me, he never does that because peopling is hard for him too but I could not move or even think straight. I had been making fun of how my boobs were having a conversation with the ceiling and a male nurse walked in and they shrunk into my sternum and left my chest bare. In one minute we were laughing with my friend the next I was teary and couldn’t form a word.

My father looked at me and said, “I don’t trust private hospitals.” My brain went like, “Okay old man good for you but I am about to die from this broken heart so that doesn’t matter.”My mother said, “You are fine, the God I serve has never let me down and he’s not about to now.” My brain went, “You could have told him to not give me this big heart, why did he think I need it?” My friend said, “Do not worry my spirit tells me you are okay. When it is time to worry I will personally tell you.” My brain told her, “When I die tell that to my cold body.” You get where this is going, right? I was inconsolable but I didn’t let it on. I took in all their words like a good child. I responded with optimism but I was in shambles inside.

The doctor I saw was also a bum, well kind of.  He told me, I’ll paraphrase “You must urgently see a cardiologist or you risk dying of stroke. You are young and healthy but your heart is giving me a different picture.” I am not saying he shouldn’t have accelerated my condition but the way he delivered the news I was sure I would die before March was over.

I needed to get a second opinion and an echo-cardiogram. For your lazy behind, an echo-cardiogram (also called an echo) is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. People, your friends are your community, and they will go the whole nine yards for you. Don’t ask me why I took a whole eight days before getting it but I did and I almost died. My mum kept asking me, how are you feeling now? Do you feel abnormal in any way? Can you feel your heart out of place? My dad called me every morning and evening maybe to confirm I’m still among mortals. My friends kept asking how I was doing every single day. I was overwhelmed. I love my people but I started hating them secretly.

I over thought, I over analyzed until I developed phantom pains. I could not touch my left chest area without flinching but I could also not stop touching it. We could easily say I fondled my own boob but I never got turned on not even once. Such a waste of energy. I started thinking of how much sex I would never have because too much excitement would send me into the next world (dry spell is real). I also thought about other things but my carnal activity seemed to take the top most priority.

My mum told her sister and brother aka my aunt and uncle. My uncle called to say I should go explain this big heart phenomena he is being told I have. He gave me money to foot some of the bill , bless his heart. I met a bunch of my maternal relatives when I visited and I explained the whole enlarged left atrium story. They were shocked and confused so I suddenly became the comforter. I was tired of assuring them that I would be okay even if I did not know if I would. I called a childhood friend and she nearly cried into my phone. God I was tired.

Let’s not forget how much information I had on my hands with Google on the go. I was drowning from all directions. And my brain is always a notch higher than a normal human being with the overthinking bit.

The doctor I went to said the cardiologist would only be available on 1st of April. My overactive brain could not wait that long. My auntie works at KNH (Kenyatta National Hospital) and I have never really appreciated that fact until I was diagnosed with a heart condition. She literally held my hand through the whole process. She called cardiologists to find their schedules and if and when they can see me. I do not take this for granted.

Wednesday 29th March 2017, I walked into the KNH cardiology department wondering how long I have to live. We had banter about my boobs with the SNO/cardiac technologist. He kept calling them mammary glands which amused the hell out of me. I think we should all call them that then maybe people will stop getting offended when women breastfeed in public. I was supposed to arrive at 7:30 am. My ass was there at 6:30 am, in my defense I have chronic early person syndrome and I was a nervous wreck. The echo test made some very disgusting wooshy sounds. Like someone was thrusting a pipe in a jar of slimy water. Yes I had all the time to think because I would either need a new heart, take medicine all my life , die or I would be fine so why not go crazy with the thinking. Being at KNH jump starts your gratitude engine a hundred times, that’s a story for another day.

The technologist said my heart is perfect and I wanted to hug him topless. I wanted to jump out of the bed and plant my apples on him. My inner child was so active I felt like exploding. I don’t like hugs but I wanted one so badly. So I went to my aunties department and hugged her through the mirror. Because she was cleaning an infant the size of my forearm if you know me you know that is tiny, that made me sad. I hugged her much later but I still have that hug need in me because I now have a new lease of life. If you meet me and I hug the oxygen out of you, deal with it.

I was happy because I have a healthy heart but I had questions as to why I had an enlarged left atrium. So I (this “I” means my aunt is covered) went to see a cardiologist with all my results and she said if I had tonsillitis or a sore throat as a child it might have affected my heart but my left atrium is perfect. I also need to be careful when I get an ENT infection to seek proper treatment and not use “dawa”.  So when you tell me I have a big heart I may need you to explain what exactly you mean.

I called everyone who was worried about me but the most hilarious was my dad. He pulled the ‘I told you so line”. He’s turning out to be the Nostradamus in my life. He also reminded me this, “In 1972 a doctor diagnosed me with a thin throat and he scheduled me for surgery. He said if I do not go back at one point I’ll choke. I was with my father; I never went back when I tell you to trust me sometimes you should.” I have been laughing since then.

I am now looking at life from a whole new angle and I am more grateful than ever. Remember I told you my friends are my community? I may not mention names but I have the best friends on this planet. I just need to learn how not to withdraw from the world because the “don’t touch me” plant and I belong to the same family.