Today Birte is moving out and I have promised to give the movers a hand with the heavy stuff. She lives on the first floor and since the elevator has not been fixed, we have to carry everything down the stairs. In the meantime I also have to contact Tellas for the new ADSL connection which they are supposed to install today. Between dismantling the big furniture pieces in Birte’s appartment and making phone calls to Tellas, I manage to drink quite a few cups of coffee and smoke quite a few more cigarettes. No time for breakfast.
The first van leaves without me because at that moment I am on the phone with Tellas again. The umpteenth call already, this time it takes almost half an hour. Little after we finish the call, the van returns. I feel guilty for not having participated in carrying the stuff up to the first floor in the new appartment. Even more so after I learn that one of the volunteers has hurt his shoulder and is unable to lift heavy weights anymore.
I put in a little extra and carry down almost every heavy piece that is still left in the appartment. Not alone of course. Since I am one of the tallest in the team, I get to go first down the stairs. I like that better too, since it doesn’t require me to bend over a lot, thereby sparing my back. We load the van for a second time and I accompany Christian and Giorgos this time to the new appartment. We arrive there around lunch time. After unloading and carrying the oven and the washing machine upstairs with Christian, I start feeling a little bit dizzy. I ask Christian to pauze for a few minutes, until I’d feel better.
I won’t feel better. Cold sweat starts breaking out and I have to sit down. Then I feel this pain in my chest as if someone puts his fist on my sternum and presses continuously. Birte arrives in her car and she notices that I look all white. Well, I feel like I look all white. In the mean time my left arm has started to feel squeezed, as if a dozen hands hold it in a firm grip. Birte suggests that she takes me home and reluctantly I agree, hoping that sitting in the car will make me feel better and we can turn back half way and finish the job, laughing off the silly incident. But it doesn’t turn out that way.
When we arrive home I get into my appartment while Birte parks the car. Yvonne is out for groceries and I take off my wet and sweaty clothes and get into bed. The pressure on my chest and in my left arm doesn’t go away. I want to sleep and forget it all but the pain just won’t go away. I turn around from side to side and I finally fall asleep, after what I guess must be an hour or so. I wake up when the doorbell rings. I must have slept half an hour and the pain in my chest and arm is gone. It’s Birte at the door and I assure her that I’m okay, but that I want to get back to bed.
Half an hour later Yvonne comes home and I tell her about my “incident”. Most of you know that Yvonne has been a nurse in a previous life, and there is no hesitation in her reaction. “We go to the hospital immediately” she says. I feel to miserable to argue with her. In the hospital we get to the doctor rather quickly, given the crowd of people waiting in the hallway, and before I know it a nurse has put an infusion in my right arm. When I ask how I am supposed to handle this thing on my way back home, the doctor (which turns out be French) looks at me over her glasses and drily says “you won’t be going home soon, sir”.