Three Years On!

Today marks the third anniversary of yours truly suffering a heart attack. Yes, a trinity of summers have now elapsed since GJ Strachan stood face to face with the Grim Reaper – An adversary who I mercifully dodged; allowing this capricious northern Englishman to live to write another day.

Below is the first blog I wrote post heart incident, which from memory was penned a day or so after that life threatening incident. Prose which shows my state of mind after the major health scare which, not surprisingly, led to a massive change in how I now approach many aspects of my existence.

In particular, endeavouring not to mask the wanton silliness that was always in my makeup, but had predominantly suppressed for most of the time I’d strolled this dysfunctional planet.

Anyhow, here’s the first paragraphs I wrote after the Grim Reaper jogged on:-

“I’m writing this narrative from my hospital bed in the Leeds General Infirmary (LGI). A guest of their cardiology assessment ward, this imposing medical establishment has been my residence since Friday morning after suffering a heart attack…… As I commented on social media yesterday, the extremes I’ll go to attract attention appear to be getting ever more desperate.

Despite this scare, I’m comfortable in hospital and hope to be out of bed on Monday to join up with Sid James and Bernard Bresslaw on their daily jaunts down to the women’s ward.

My hospital bed just a quarter of a mile from the Hyde Terrace Maternity hospital where I made my existential curtain call over half a century ago.

It’s currently just gone 3am on Sunday morning. I’m awake courtesy of night sweats and a variety of noises from the entrance of the Accident & Emergency department below my ward window.

This cacophony a mixture of Saturday night revellers, intermittent mooing, recorded voices warning of reversing emergency vehicles and the verbal interactions of A&E patients, orderlies and drunken disorderlies. I’m unsure of the mooing’s source, but I’m hopeful it means the milk on my breakfast cereals will be fresh.

After the shock of the cardiac episode, I’m mightily relieved to still be here to pen this narrative.

During the incident I’ve vague recollections of being barred entry into the afterlife for wearing inappropriate footwear….. I knew my habit of wearing frog mans flippers would come in handy one day!

Consequently, I was sent away from the afterlife, told to sort out my footwear choices and not come back until I’d written a best selling book…. The latter prerequisite pleasing my pragmatic family who ‘supportively’ opine I’ve no chance of achieving a best seller, meaning they’ll have me around for a good while longer.

I’m gratified to receive many wishes of support on social media about this concerning life event. That being said talk is cheap, what I really want is grapes and barley water while endeavouring to avoid an episode where a doctor forced to yell “CLEAR!”

Amongst the noises below at the hospital’s entrance is an intermittent double tapping sound. After much deliberation, I’ve narrowed down the root cause to be either hospital porters tapping taxi roofs (to advise them the patient is aboard and they can go). Or alternatively, with a dearth of timber around here, there’s a short-sighted woodpecker living around LS1.

Out of my ward window I look at the south west skyline of the West Yorkshire metropolis I call home. Among my views two of the most famous of the city’s landmarks, the Civic Hall and Leeds Town Hall.

Although unintentional, the twin spires of the Civic Hall, topped by two gold plated owls standing sentry like over Millennium Square, brings to mind an architectural metaphor of Winston Churchill’s V sign made famous in WWII.

The iconic Town Hall designed by architect Cuthbert Broderick is perhaps the West Yorkshire city’s most iconic building. My Leeds born grandad Jack told me as a kid the quartet of clocks told the time in four places globally. As they all exhibited the same time, I questioned my forefather how that could be, to which he answered “One shows the time in Armley. Another displays Beeston time, another Hunslet and the front clock face GMT (Greater Meanwood Time).” ***

*** – All boroughs within the city of Leeds.

Anyhow, these have been my first overnight stays in hospital since I was seven years old. Back then I was in a children’s eye ward, this time I’m surrounded by three old guys with cardio issues…… In my tired and confused state I feel as though I’m in an episode of TV comedy ‘Last of the Summer Wine’.”

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