I met my friend `B` after several years. He was having dinner with his family and some friends at the Club where I am also a member. When I asked him what was the occasion, he smiled and replied, `Oh! I am celebrating my 20th Birthday`. Intrigued I asked , `What do you mean?`. B was three years older than me and I was already 75.
He laughed, ` If you want to know, come home I will tell you the full story`.
When he was 38, `B` had moved to a country in the Gulf where he started a business connected with the building industry. Within 20 years he had built a small business empire employing over 500 people and was making lots of money. Thanks to his constant travel and the high stress business he was in, he had a massive heart attack in the middle of a meeting.. He was 58. Timely medical attention saved his life but investigations revealed that he had six blocks in his arteries and would need a surgery. He flew to Chennai and met a top cardio surgeon in a five star hospital, known to him personally. The Doctor opined that he may not survive a surgery. He told `B`, `Your heart has taken a severe beating . It is obviously the result of the high stress business you are involved in. I suggest that you change your life style, and if necessary give up your business and start a new life. I will prescribe some medicines which you take regularly. More than that pray God and hope for the best. Miracles do happen you know`.
`B` was shattered. It was like a death sentence without a time frame. He went into depression. His wife and two children rallied round him to help him come out of the depression. He sold his business in the Middle East and settled in Chennai, leading a sedate and relaxed retired life, since he had earned enough to last two lifetimes. He followed a strict diet, took his medicines regularly and also excercised without fail. Regular checkups then on indicate that all his parameters are ok. He is as fit as anyone in his late seventies could be.
`B` added, ` Since that year I celebrate the date on which my doctor friend gave me his verdict, as my new birthday. I had survived six blocks without surgery. Yesterday, at the Club we were celebrating my new 20th birthday`.
Before I could recover from the miraculous survival story of my friend I read a similar story in the club magazine involving another club member.
His story in his own words: ` It was an uneventful Friday in late April 2009, quite like any other day in the lives of most jobless senior citizens. While relaxing in an easy chair with my morning newspaper I started getting this funny sensation in my left wrist .I tried to ignore it initially. I quickly finished my lunch and decided to lie down for some time, in the hope that it will stop but the sensation persisted. My hoping against hope proved to be in vain.
As my family was away , I drove myself to a hospital just a kilometre away for a check up. I was promptly put in ICU, since my ECG was abnormal.
”Angiogram revealed SIX major blocks in my arteries, a few even 90 %. The friendly cardio surgeon in the hospital opined that both Bye pass surgery and Angioplasty were ruled out because the blocks were too many. He recommended that I try my luck by changing my lifestyle to include a strict diet and regular walk. I was asked to reduce my weight immediately as I was really overweight. He also prescribed some expensive medicines. With hope in my heart and prayers on my lips I started a new phase in my life. Subsequent check ups revealed that nature (GOD) had done a natural Bye pass already, as revealed in the Treadmill test, followed by a Thallium test in Black and White done in the Nuclear Medicine Dept of the Hospital. God had saved me from the trauma of undergoing Bye Pass surgery.
I have come across a few other friends, especially from middle class families, who were diagnosed with one, two or even three blocks, surviving without undergoing surgery or angioplasty by changing their life style and taking alternative medicines; leading me to believe that it is not necessary to rush with surgery in all cases of blocks in arteries. Regular medication and exercises can help in avoiding expensive surgeries which sometime lead to other complications. Unfortunately, in many such situations the doctors and hospitals black mail the family members to believe that the patients will drop dead any time, if an emergency operation is not performed. I believe that senior citizens, particularly those who have left an active life behind them should think twice before agreeing to such surgeries.