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Chest pain a wake-up call for 41-year-old news editor

Friday, Jul 04, 2014
The Straits Times
By Ignatius Low

SINGAPORE - I lay there in the cold room, swaddled in a blanket, gazing at the big hulking machine that loomed above me.

My body was about to be fed into a dark tunnel and a cheery display panel was describing what I was about to see and hear. Suddenly, there was a beep and some sort of countdown was commencing.

My insides felt a little like they were about to combust. The nurses had put a drip into my arm and injected some sort of fluid dye that was coursing through my veins.

I closed my eyes for a moment, thinking this must be what it feels like to be dead and lying there at the crematorium, about to go into that final fiery end.

Just then, the belt I was lying on started moving.

Six hours earlier, the day couldn't have started off more normally.

I had woken up at the usual time and had my usual local breakfast of wonton noodles at a nearby coffee shop. I drove to work, started up the computer and began preparing for the usual morning meeting to discuss the day's news stories and events.

Except that there was a small nagging pain in my chest that was slowly growing in intensity.

It didn't bother me much but I remember thinking that I would probably skip my planned lunchtime gym workout that day because of it.

Then the meeting started and I was briefing my colleagues. But as soon as I finished, the pain suddenly took over my body. I started sweating profusely and felt like I couldn't really breathe.

I looked at my colleague from the foreign desk who was talking about Syria and realised I couldn't understand a single word she was saying. I thought I would pass out but I kept my head down and concentrated on taking deep breaths.

Eventually the pain eased into a dull sort of ache and I held on until the end of the meeting. Luckily no one asked me any questions. I went back to my desk and sat there, a little stunned by what just happened and wondering what to do next.

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(Photos: Various sources)

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