Two years ago almost exactly to the day, I was staying in a hotel near Maidenhead with one of my favourite poppets. I was chatting from the bath when I began to cough and mid-sentence passed out. Had my friend been less astute I would not be writing this. Next thing I knew I had the rather pleasurable sensation of being dragged out of the water waking in her arms. The odd thing was I felt perfectly well, indeed sparky, but my friend thought I had popped my clogs. Two weeks later in a restaurant in Fulham I had another coughing session and passed out. It’s never happened again and as my mother was close to death (she died nine days afte the second passing out) I put it down to stress.
My father was to turn 90 on January 13 2013 , one day before my mother died. He was rather withdrawn but we all felt his cognitive state was fine. Indeed my friend, a counsellor, at my request sat with him. Unlike some who bombarded him with questions and small talk, she proceeded more slowly and there was at first a long silence. Subsequently they engaged in conversation and she assured me his mental state was satisfactory.
I did mention my two turns to him. After the first, my father who was a brilliant diagnostician, said he met a case like this many years ago when we lived in Stoke Newington and he was the local GP. A bus mounted the pavement at Seven Sisters Road but fortunately no injury resulted. The driver, his patient, admitted to a black-out after coughing, which can happen because of oxygen denial. I have not listened to any medical analysis or explanation of the Glasgow bin lorry accident but those news reports are of conjecture of the driver’s condition.
Yesterday I was at the local GP for a flu jab. The nurse, an amiable woman, was sceptical in a nice way whether an old boy, as she put it, could practice in modern internet times when patients are more knowledgeable of illness and certain of ther rights. I had to explain that modern medicine can learn from my father the benefits of taking a thorough case history and then making a diagnosis based on that and considerable expertise and experience. A surgery has closed down locally and the rumour is they ran out of money so they could learn another lesson from my father who was an astute businessman, carefully controlling costs in both his private and GP practices.