This afternoon Max went for a heart check up. He arrived at the Capua Hospital in the usual heap, having spent nearly two hours in a meeting on a potential start up that ground gradually to a halt. By the time he was whisked away to the 'Executive Screening' Nurse, Max was prepared for any kind of bad news.
Max's two-hour stint involved:
(1) Being weighed (74 kilos - Max wondered how much of the weight could be blamed on winter clothing)
(2) Being measured (height unknown, Max told the nurse he was cheating as he was still wearing his shoes)
(3) Pissing in small beaker (not a problem, having consumed several coffees in the futile start-up meeting; urine surprisingly warm and golden coloured, which made Max think of the Indian premier who used to drink his own piss for good fortune)
(4) Blowing in a hollow tube and watching an electronic meter (the nurse cooed approvingly)
(5) Getting a chest x-ray (the x-ray man was more impressed by Max's twisted scoliosis spine than Max's heart - long sigh as the x-ray was mounted on to the flourescent screen on the wall
(6) Answering plenty of questions on family illnesses, pneumonias, diets
(7) Getting startled when the doctor said that he knew most of Max's family - Dr Montfort had even looked after Max's mother, while she was dying of Hogkins' disease in 1984. Dr Montfort said that if his mother had contracted Hogkins' now, most probably she would have been saved.
(8) Getting startled when the doctor said that his cholesterol level was high, even for a 43 year-old. Max was asked if he drank alcohol - Max confessed to a glass of wine and several cups of coffee. Max was told to cut on the caffeine.
(9) Getting part of his chest shaved for a cardio-vascular test on the treadmill.
(10) Puffing his way through a series of inclines on the treadmill.
(11) Getting told that he had a perfect bill of health, except for the high cholesterol, which would mean another check up in six months' time.
(12) Getting severe palpitations when he was given the bill for the exercise.
This evening, Max passed on the option of pasta with broccoli and gorgonzola, and went for pasta with broccoli, anchovies and pine nuts. Plus one glass of wine.
Max wonders how many people would be saved if they got sick twenty years later than they actually did.
Max's chest is itching from the shaving.
Max is going to spend some time searching for 'cholesterol' and 'wine', hoping there is no obvious linkage.
Max is listening to a tribute show for the late John Peel, who also died of heart failure. But not before championing some of the most exciting, dangerous, obscure and life-changing music of the twentieth century.