A Week After The Uneventful Angiogram

Anyone else had an angiogram before and whose arm aches like all buggery even after a week? Mine does.

But apart from that, I’ve rested a few days, gone straight into work at writing the Hossan Leong Show: Flying Solo with Hirzi and Jasmine (the multi-tasking Stage Manager) – got your tickets yet? – and have continued eating healthily without being too Fascist about it, because birthdays do come with cakes, and it’s all about eating a lot less of it rather than saying no food and drink allowed.

Like I mentioned before I’ve had great help staying on the wagon because of Naomi’s meal planning, as well as our champion helper’s initiatives – just check out this lunch I’ve just eaten: Wholemeal tortilla with pea sprouts, tomato and chickpea salsa, avocado and organic smoked cheddar. Stuff you can stuff/wrap and stuff yourself with easily.

An Angiogram To Be Thankful For

So I went for an angiogram this morning to see if I had any blockages in any coronary artery, and if so, how bad it was, and if it was bad, whether to do a balloon angioplasty or place a stent inside.

The procedure involves threading a catheter through a vein in your wrist into your heart, and pumping a contrast dye so that the arteries can be photographed using an x-ray machine.

This was explained to me several times over two visits to the cardiologist’s but I don’t know why I had the impression I was going to be sedated or put under general anesthesia for the procedure. Turns out I had to be awake the whole time, and I was going to see the catheter going from an incision in my wrist into my heart, ‘live’ on the monitor next to me.

What was even weirder than seeing it on screen was to feel a very faint but disturbing ache in the arm and then in the chest as the catheter was being pushed into the heart, a process which took only about ten or so seconds after it was inserted into the wrist. It was a thrill seeing my own heart pumping and even more exciting to see the contrast dye mapping the arteries like some squid squirting ink into my heart. I had to keep reminding myself not to freak out and think of the very slight possibility of something going wrong.

Still, probably the most undignified thing to happen was the radiologist’s technician having to shave my groin because it had to be “put on stand-by” just in case the threading through the wrist didn’t work (in some cases the vein goes into a loop and the catheter can’t go any further). It was a dry shave with a disposable razor and I am still smarting from it, especially after they poured either saline or alcohol to disinfect the area. I wanted to scream but thought I’d better stay calm for the procedure.

The result of this morning’s medical adventure? A kinda sorta clean bill of health. There are no major blockages, only a slight narrowing in two coronary arteries – known as a “waist” – which require no treatment other than to continue on a healthy diet and start an exercise regime. I am relieved and grateful.

Voicing The Beetle

Put a brand new car on public display, get one comic actor and one comic writer in a control room that allows them to talk to the occupants of the car, hilarity ensues. That was the formula the organizers thought of the past fortnight, and they were right. Chua Enlai and myself had so much fun we fought over the microphone on Sunday at Raffles City.

I’m quite certain members of the public who ventured into the 21st Century Beetle to fiddle around with it had fun too – especially the couple who brought their two dogs which barked when the Beetle “barked”.

Check out photos of other people who sat in the Beetle.

I Quit And Stayed Quit

It’s been awhile since I’ve quit smoking, and it never ceases to amaze me how easily I quit and how quickly I quit.

I was lucky though. My wife and I were both heavy smokers, going through roughly a pack a day at the peak. It must have been terrible for non-smoking visitors to come to our apartment (as we were constantly reminded by Naomi’s mum – who’d nag at us the moment she got into our car). When I first started blogging – no, that was not around the time when computers were invented – even my profile picture was one of me holding a cigarette.

I quit quite easily because I had my wife who quit together with me. We have been smoke free since 2008. Now if you think you may not have the luxury of having a support group behind you, you don’t have to look further than the world’s biggest quit smoking support group, put together by the Health Promotion Board.

I strongly encourage you to take a look if you’re trying to quit or thinking of quitting smoking. If you’re an ex-smoker like me, or even someone who has never lit up, join in and offer your support. The Facebook support group is chock full of resources for you to look at, or even send a Quit Pack (known among some smokers as the No-Fun Pack) to a friend or loved one.

I will be contributing my stories of quitting and of when I used to smoke in the coming days. Join me.

Seriously useful links:


Downtown Line Accident Donation To Close

At 2359hrs on Friday, 27 July, Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) will stop collecting donations for the victims of last week’s Downtown Line construction site accident.

If donations marked “Bugis MRT accident” are still received after the deadline, the organization will email the donor asking whether he/she would like a refund or if the donation should be put towards the organization’s general fund. Refunds will be made promptly.

If however the donation is received after the deadline marked “Bugis MRT accident” but without contact information, there will be no way to pose that question, and the donation will be accepted into the organization’s general fund.

The public response to the donation drive has been fantastic, and I’m glad to know that there are people who care enough.