I wasn’t feeling too great there a few weeks ago. Not great at all. I was feeling dizzy and shaky. A bit wobbly. Of course, being me, it couldn’t have just been some kind of a virus. No. It had to be a heart attack, so I went to see my doctor, who looked at me and said , Well. What’s wrong with you?
How the fuck do I know? I said. You’re the doctor.
Well, what are your symptoms?
I’m dizzy, I said. And shaky. And this is not normal for me. Not even after a month of drunkenness, Latvian hookers and brown mescalin. So what the fuck is wrong with me?
Roll up your sleeve, he said. I’ll check your blood pressure.
Now, I don’t know what you’re like, but the minute anyone tries to take my blood pressure, I go as tense as a Paisley in a whorehouse.
Hmm, he said. It’s a bit elevated.
How elevated? I said.
A bit, he muttered.
How fucking elevated?
Ish? I said. Ish?? You checked it a month ago when I had the medical for the international assassins course and it was about 40.
No, he said. If it was that low, you’d be dead. It was 120.
Well, I said. I was as fit as Linford Christie.
No, he said. Your body wasn’t full of growth hormones.
All right, I said. I was as healthy as someone very healthy. One month ago!
True, he said, but I wouldn’t worry about this too much. I’ll take some samples and send them away for tests.
Oh Jesus Christ, I howled. Tests! Anyone I ever knew who had tests died. Tests are fucking fatal. You get them back from the hospital and die immediately from knob cancer.
Come back in a week, he said. And if you’re really worried, go out and buy one of those blood-pressure machines. Keep an eye on yourself.
So I did. I bought one of those machines. You put a cuff around your arm, hit a button and it inflates. Then it gives you a digital read-out of your blood pressure. Now, as I said, I’m not good with doctors and health things. I get edgy and agitated, like most of my breed, I suspect, so when I tried the machine, I was a bit worried. And I was right to be worried because my blood pressure was up to 180. Fuck!
I spent a week on death row before going back to the doctor. He had a sheaf of printouts, like the ones you get when you bring your car in for the test. Emissions. Tracking. Beam alignment.
Well, I said, am I going to die?
You are, he said. Hahahahahahahaha!
Fuck off, I said. You know what I mean.
Well, he said, it’s all clear, though you’d want to watch the old cholesterol a bit.
So I’m all right? I said. My blood pressure was through the roof again this morning.
We’ll check it, he said. Now – look. 120.
So what was wrong with me?
Ah, he said. They think it was a bit of a virus. Keep an eye on the blood pressure for a while and if it goes up again, come back.
I tried the machine on the dog when I got home. He’s fine apart from a broken rib.