Saved at the death by the last Aspro


Saved at the death by the last Aspro

Lifestyle – A regular visitor to Galway since studying here in the 1980s, German journalist and author TANYA LIESKE has had a foot in both camps ever since. A heart attack earlier this summer brought her up close with the Irish health system . . .as she recounts its enormous merits and some of its flaws.

It is Wednesday evening, August 3, sometime after eight o’clock. I am in my favourite spot, our house and its garden overlooking Galway Bay. I am cooking dinner for my favourite person, who is doing a job on a tap outside, I believe.

There is a sudden whistle in my ear, a lightheadedness, and both glands under my chin start swelling. My knees give in. I call Patrick.

– I am going up to lie down.

– Do you want me to take over the cooking?

–  No. Better come with me.

We met on a Conamara mountain-top in the mid 1980s, a dashing engineer with a beautiful voice and a German exchange student with an oddly sitting 80s style perm. Still, love is in the eyes of the beholder. We threw our bags together, left for a world trip, settled in Berlin, saw the wall come down, lived the excitements of a unifying country. Later, we moved to the Rhineland and raised a family. Every summer for more than three decades we came back to Connemara: the home of our hearts, framed in an endless row of summer photos with radiant faces – and all the children a little taller each year.

– What is up?

– I don’t know.

I breathe heavily and start to throw off my clothes. There is a sun-type radiating pain in my chest and left arm. Patrick’s face, looking at me, assumes the colour of the wall.  So, this is how I must look. I deepen my breath, I am determined not to faint. Having given birth to two children can be useful at times. Later, I learn that many people undergoing a heart attack shallow their breath to avoid the pain. That may indeed lead to unconsciousness with the danger of a heart arrest.

– You might call an ambulance.

– Okay.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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