Food For Thought
My New Year


I don't normally do New Year's resolutions, though I always make plans for the year ahead. 2015 was going to be an exciting year with the last 9 months as Master of Lodge Pukemiro, my producing the items for the Central Division website - my Food for Thought, Masonic Jewels tour pages, Articles on Famous Freemasons and my blog - , and spending more time on other non-masonic activities such as fishing. I had even started making my own fishing lures from teaspoon handles, with nail varnish colours, and even more surprising had been trying one out on Lake Karapiro to check its action and catching a 1.1 kilo rainbow trout on the second cast. This happened on the second cast and less than 200 minutes from it being a teaspoon. I was really looking forward to a trip to Lake Tarawera to try it on bigger fish.

However, all those things were put on the back burner, for on Thursday the 15th January I died!

Sarah was away staying at Jennifer's so I lay in bed watching the TV programme Cowboy builders.
8.00 am - I stripped and made my way to shower, first stopping to emptybowels I weighed myself before getting into the shower. On exiting the shower I had chest and arm pains like never before, and started sweating like mad. I climbed back in the shower and wiped it down as I always do. Then I went to wet shave lifting the brush to my face was too much effort, so I went back to the bedroom and lay flat on the bed for 10 seconds no difference. Could it be lack of food? - No, I started to retch with a tiny bit of weetbix. Back to bathroom brushed teeth, and  then back to the bedroom to put on pants, shorts and shirt - collect the necessities for an  injection for an appointment with the nurse at 9.00am, and grabbed car keys.

As I drove the 400 metres to Shakespeare Street I willed that there would be no traffic, and there was not. As I crossed the road I had to be careful with a car pulling out from the shops as I turned across in front of him towards our local medical centre, but felt my faculties going, so parked immediately in the District Nurses car park. I made it to the Doctor's reception area, 8.30 am, after checking that I had locked the car on the way.

"I have an appointment at 9.00 o clock but I feel terrible"

I could hardly have got the words out when the receptionist told me to come quickly through to the nurses area.

"Sit there, while I get a nurse out of the management meeting".

Seconds later the nurse came, and asked me "How long had the pain been going on" indicating me to lie on the now covered couch. As I lay back I felt myself fade away, and only 2 presses on my side as she said she was hooking me up to an ECG machine.

The next I remember was waking up without the pain, and with a warm feeling, thinking that 'that had been a good sleep'. As I opened my eyes I saw all the medical staff around the foot of the bed with the nurse, Jane, who had given me CPR to one side of me, and my doctor who, had used the defibrillator, at the other, plus 3 or 4 paramedics from St John.

With Sarah away at Jennifers I had to remember telephone numbers - not my forte at the best of times but I did! Before being wheeled out to the ambulance I picked out the nurse who I had the 9.00 am appointment and thought it would relieve the worried looks by saying -

"Sorry Liz, but I won't be able to make our appointment this morning"

I had already been scolded by nurse Jane for saying that they need not tell Sarah, as she had tickets to take our grandson and friend to the one day cricket international - NZ v Sri Lanka.

"I think she will think this much more important than that!" I was told.

Then it was off in the ambulance to Waikato Hospital, with sirens going etc. There I was stabilised, Coronary Care Intensive for 48 hours, CC 2 under continuous wifi surveillance for 6 days, and then up to Cardio Thoracic surgery ward, where I stayed waiting for surgery for 10 days. I had a quintuple (5) heart bypass, and a hole in the heart mended (small) on Monday 2nd February.  I cannot say enough about how good our nurses are and the care I had.

It was a truly humbling experience.

How do you thank someone for giving you life?

John Barns Graham