The days of three forever

SUNDAY HERALD COLUMN — July 30, 2006 (HH0630)

“So what have they got you on, Don?” asked Glenn. “Search me,” I replied. “I wasn’t taking any pills at all before I had that heart episode two weeks ago, and now I’m on blood thinners, clot preventers, cholesterol dissolvers, pulse-droppers, and I don’t know what-all.” Half a dozen of us were sitting around in the tilted clubhouse of the yacht club, which had been lifted by a crane and casually set aside while a new foundation was being poured for it. Everyone but me was working on the project. “I bet they got Don on beta-blockers.” “Yeah, but what beta-blockers? Argentarium? Geranium?” “You said blood thinners, Don? Which ones? Amphipod? Copulator? Plavix?” “Plavix!” I cried. “That’s one of them.” “Yeah, thought they’d get y’ on Plavix. What about keepin’ your cholesterol down? You on Laminaria? Or Lipitor?” “Lipitor!” I said. “I’m on Lipitor too.” “Yeah, Lipitor is good.” Everybody nodded sagely. Lord Liftin’ Lipitor, I thought, the boys know a lot about medications. Glancing around, I realized that three of us had heart conditions. One had recently whupped cancer. Another had a touch of arthritis and was waiting for a shoulder repair. We were all on pensions, but all still working. Glenn liked to remark that he was so busy in semi-retirement that he was scared to become fully-retired. And the other fellows were very knowledgeably managing their own health. Hmm… A few days earlier I had been supine on a table in the Halifax Infirmary. A flexible catheter had been slipped into my groin and winkled up right inside my heart. I lay there watching a ragged claw jerking and writhing on a TV screen above me. The image was coming from a camera as big as a five-gallon pail which was roaming over my chest. The writhing claw was my right coronary artery, made visible by radioactive dye injected via the catheter into my blood. Once off the table, I had to lie with my leg utterly still for three hours while the puncture in my groin sealed itself. Late in the day, Dr. Ata Quraishi visited me. He had conducted the dye test. He is an exceptional physician, professor and researcher. His colleagues speak of him with near-reverence. Dr. Quraishi is also a very clear explainer. He had a drawing of the heart and its arteries. “You have two small blockages in the arteries here, on the left side of the heart,” he said, pointing. “About 30% to 40%. We’re not very concerned about those. But you also have a larger blockage in the main coronary artery on the right side, about 60% to 70%. We need another test to determine how well the blood is moving through the constricted area. Then we’ll decide whether to do something about it, or not. We’ll leave your medications as they are for now. The most important one is Lipitor.” Lord Liftin’ Lipitor. My main reaction to the discovery that I had a heart condition had been surprise. Who, me? Heart trouble? I was also a little annoyed. In general, I have very little interest in health, sport and fitness – or in medical matters. It’s unfashionable to say so, but I find exercise really boring and time-consuming – and I hate it when ageing people become professional patients, obsessed with their own health. Once a medical crisis is behind me, I simply forget about it. But I wouldn’t be allowed to forget about this one – ever. Like the boys at the yacht club, I’d have to manage it. All right. I ordered Heart Disease for Dummies. Meanwhile, I read through the leaflets I’d picked up. About a dozen factors, I learned, affect the health of our hearts. Some can’t be changed, notably age, sex, ethnicity and family history. My mother was one of eight children, and five died of heart disease. Nothing I can do about that. The factors that patients can control include smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and heavy boozing. I’m okay on all those fronts. The remaining factors are – horrors – regular exercise, and a diet with less salt, and fewer “saturated fats,” whatever those are. Mostly they’re fats which are solid at room temperature – butter, meat, poultry, cheese – and they breed nasty cholesterol. (Ever wonder what cholesterol is? The American Heritage Dictionary says that it’s “a white crystalline substance, C27H45OH, found in animal tissues and various foods, that is normally synthesized by the liver and is important as a constituent of cell membranes and a precursor to steroid hormones.” Groovy.) Anyway, what have they got me on? Well, boys, there’s a squirt bottle of nitroglycerine in my pocket. I’m on Altace for my blood pressure, Plavix to prevent clotting, Novo-Metoprol to hold down my heart rate, and aspirin to thin the blood. Oh yes: and Lipitor to suppress cholesterol. Lord Liftin’ Lipitor. Aren’t you sorry you asked? -- 30 – Visit Silver Donald Cameron’s new web site at


Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 282: E551–E556, 2002. First published October 30, 2001; 10.1152/ajpendo.00352.2001. Effect of ibuprofen and acetaminophen on postexercisemuscle protein synthesisT. A. TRAPPE,1 F. WHITE,1 C. P. LAMBERT,1 D. CESAR,2M. HELLERSTEIN,2 AND W. J. EVANS11 Nutrition, Metabolism, and Exercise Laboratory, Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging,Departments of Geriatrics and

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SEZIONE 1 – IL PLIDA Che cos’è il PLIDA? Il PLIDA (Progetto Lingua Italiana Dante Alighieri) è un diploma di certificazione rilasciato dallaSocietà Dante Alighieri in base ad una convenzione con il Ministero degli Affari Esteri. Esso attestala competenza in italiano come lingua straniera secondo una scala di sei livelli, che rappresentanoaltrettante fasi del percorso di apprendiment

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