Last week, we relocated from Toronto to Marietta, a suburb town of Atlanta. It was a 15 hour drive that we split into two days; we took a sleep-break in Lexington, Kentucky. The drive was mostly uneventful, though we drove through some of the most scenic and beautiful highways you could think of. Mid-October is a great time to do a road trip in North America – and as we progressed further south, the change in the vegetation patterns were also rather obvious. The reason for our relocation was because I took up a new job, and thus I no longer work for The Code Project, though I will most likely continue to be closely associated with the web-site. We are terribly busy right now, running around looking for apartments we can move into, trying to get money transferred from Canadian bank accounts to a US account, trying to figure out our way across new streets and highways, and amidst all that, enjoying the new city, the new accents , and the beautiful greenery that seems to be a core part of the area. Both of us will miss Toronto though, it really was an unbelievable city, and we’ll also probably miss the snow – they don’t get much snow in Georgia.
On the 20th of February, 2006, I woke up at 4:45 AM with an agonizing pain in my chest, or to be more precise, the upper left area of my chest. I couldn’t even breathe properly, it was hard to even move my body, and I panicked thinking that I was having a heart attack. Smitha got me some hot coffee, and though it was a struggle to drink it, I somehow managed to gulp it in, though it didn’t really help at all. I googled for heart attack symptoms, and from what information I got, I was more convinced that this was a heart attack. My left shoulder was also beginning to ache, and this was another symptom for a subsequent heart attack or cardiac arrest. I thought I’d ask on the Code Project and started a thread on this, and asked people if they thought I was having a slow heart attack, and most people replied saying that it sounded serious, and that I should go to a hospital as early as possible.
By then, it was about 7 AM, and the pain wasn’t stopping. I suddenly realized that, I might only have a couple of hours more to live, and then all of a sudden, I started worrying about Smitha. If I was going to die that day, I began to ponder over how she would manage. I started to get her to memorize our bank pin numbers and passwords, as I wanted to make sure she’d be able to access enough money to get back to India on her own. Or at least live on her own for a while in Canada. I also thought we should go to work, so that if I did die of a heart attack, someone else would be there to help, rather than stay at home with just her, and she didn’t even have a Canadian driver’s license. As to why I didn’t go to a doctor, we don’t have health coverage yet in Canada, it only starts next month, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to afford medical help. I was also worried that if I died that day, and wasted money by paying the doctor (or the hospital), that’d be even lesser money for Smitha to go back to India. I also started regretting not taking care of my diet, and eating all sorts of junk food, and not bothering to eat well when I consumed alcohol. I was disgusted with myself for not even spending an hour at the gym after taking membership, and spending close to a 100 bucks on workout clothes and a gym bag.
Right now, looking back at my actions and thought processes, it seems amazingly hilarious, but it wasn’t remotely funny at that time. There I was, nearly sure I was going to die, and worried to death about Smitha. There were moments when I wished I could see my family (in India) one last time, or at least speak with them, but I was too weak to even make a phone call. Anyway we drove to work, and it was a struggle as I had to strain myself to the maximum to keep myself from falling on the steering wheel. We reached work and Chris spoke with me about this, and asked me if it hurt more if I expanded my chest, and I tried that and it sure did hurt more. He smiled and said that I probably sprained a muscle there, and that he’s had that numerous times before. That made me feel a lot better, and over the day the pain did decrease a little, though it kept at a throbbing pace all the time, which was mighty worrying.
On our way home from work, I had my Blood Pressure taken, and it was normal. I then called a friend of mine (from Toronto) who was a Doctor in India (though she cannot practice in Canada until she gets the Canadian medical degree too), and after listening to my symptoms, she laughed and said it was only a chest muscle spasm. Apparently, I was overworking and putting too much strain on my body (I work on a computer 80-90 hours a week, counting time at home as well as at work), and this apparently affected my digestion, resulted in acidity, and started causing irritation to the chest regions, and thereby resulting in a muscle spasm – apparently muscles enjoy doing this spasm thing when they are irritated. In fact, Deepa (my Doctor friend) told me that this is pretty common, and is kind of similar to an anxiety attack, except I didn’t really have an anxiety attack. She asked me to cut down on the spicy food, and to take some anti-acidity tablets, which I did. It’s now 10 days later, and since Sunday, I’ve completely recovered from the chest pain.
I know this sounds ridiculous, like one of those things that Johnny Bravo or Daffy Duck would end up doing, but I am posting this here for posterity so that I’ll be more careful about my health and diet in future. The worst part of thinking you are going to die is worrying about how everyone who loves you will take it. Alright, that’s it, I am still alive, healthy, happy, writing, coding, and blogging, and don’t any of you dare poke fun at me over this, the next time we meet!
The first time it happened to me, I was totally stunned I tell you. There I was, driving happily when it started snowing, and when I used my wipers, the glass got all cloudy and so I used the windshield (or wiper) fluid, and guess what! The damn liquid froze on the windshield, despite my having the defroster on at full heat! I had to drive with partial visibility and luckily, since it was Christmas time, the roads weren’t all that busy! Anyway, last week, we went and bought a wiper fluid that stays liquid up to -45 degrees C! Man, the things you encounter when you move to a foreign climate are awesome!
Okay, after some Visa delays, hurried packing and travelling, Smitha and I are in Toronto now. We haven’t fully settled down yet but it’s going to take time and we both know that too. Toronto is pretty big – specially for me, coming from Trivandrum as I am, and it’s quite similar to the US – not much difference between the USA and Canada as far as I could see. I’ve got lots of work to catch up on, lots of emails to read and reply to, and lots of settling down stuff to do here; so the next few weeks are going to be quite hectic. I’ve added a new “Toronto” category to the blog as you may have noticed, where I intend to write about my life here in Toronto with Smitha. That’s all for now 🙂