It is, indeed, a very strange life we lead.  One minute everything in the garden is blooming and then, the next, someone has taken weed-killer to all of your favourite blooms.

We had reached the end of July and were preparing for a couple of months of regrouping anticipating a severe slow down during August and September.  I had been pushing myself hard during the past six months and was getting only a few hours’ sleep each night – regularly interrupted sleep at that.  This was, however, to be expected as we were building the business and positioning ourselves to march forward over the forthcoming months.

At about eleven in the evening of 31st July I was tired and thought I had indigestion as pains travelled across my chest in waves.  My left shoulder ached as though someone was stabbing it constantly with a large knife and I was running a fever.  A couple of our girls called and wanted to visit and say hello.  For some reason I agreed although, the way I was feeling, the correct answer should have been a ‘no thanks – visit me tomorrow.’

It was only twenty minutes after the girls arrived that the chest pains were constant and I was in a bad way.  I went through what I had eaten; perhaps this was a very bad case of food poisoning.  After a few refusals I eventually agreed to the girl’s suggestion that they take me to hospital.  The pain was intense now and I was unable to keep still.

We boarded the taxi and the driver, for some reason still unknown to me, ignored the request to take us to the local hospital, instead opting to drive further afield to a more prominent hospital that specializes in heart disease.

I was stretched out on a gurney, wired to machine, in almost uncontrollable pain and now getting concerned.   I was told by the girls that the hospital needed money before dealing with my case. Fortunately, again, I had thought to take my passport and bank book.  I lay for thirty minutes as nothing happened save the occasional check by one of the medical staff.  The pain was certainly not getting any better.

When my eight month pregnant business partner arrived we were in the early hours of Friday morning and she told me I needed to pay four hundred thousand baht.  I could not believe what I was hearing, why did they want so much money, what on earth was wrong with me?  I still had not figured it out.

Bowling, my business partner, managed to pull off a funds transfer from my bank for half the money, she withdrew the maximum, fifty thousand baht, from my ATM card and then covered the balance from her own account.  I was now seeing a doctor.

I was wheeled to an operating theatre, an x-ray taken, a local anesthetic injected and the doctor appeared again. ‘We are going to operate immediately, you have had a massive heart attack, one of your arteries is one hundred percent blocked and another thirty percent blocked.  You have less than thirty minutes to live without the operation.’

The medication was kicking in although the pain still kicked harder.  The news delivered by the doctor was the sort of thing that could give you a heart attack – fortunately I had already just had one!

Keyhole surgery was performed and a stent inserted in to the blocked artery.  I was taken to an observation ward where I slept for several hours.  Later I was moved to a private room, where I slept for the best part of two days.  I was released on Sunday afternoon, Bowling, now joined by her boyfriend, had spent the entire time at the hospital watching over me and undertaking all of the My Princess business.  They took me home, together with a dozen packets of tablets which I must take for the rest of my life.

I was not expecting this.  I am rarely, if ever, ill and in one blow my life was nearly extinguished after sixty-one years.  Wow, things can change so fast.

So now I have a fridge full of vegetables, two fruit bowls filled to the brim and fish in the freezer.  I feel fine, it was as though nothing happened and I only have a large but fading bruise to my groin to show for my pains.

I recall that night.  How fortunate it was that I allowed the girls to come and visit when normally I would have said no.  How fortunate I was that the taxi driver noticed something that had not even crossed my mind – I really wish I could find him and say thank you.  How fortunate I was that I actually thought about taking my bank book and passport with me.  How fortunate I was that Bowling managed to pay the hospital so they could operate.

1st August was just not my time to die, it is as simple as that.  When is the time – well who knows but I will be doing everything I can to ensure it is not for a long, long time.

Have a good life,