Getting to the heart of the matter? My first ECG

At this time of year, it’s not uncommon to see pictures of young men all smiles, thumbs up and hooked up to medical apparatus. I’m referring, of course, to new signings for football clubs.

Gone are the days when a snap of the expensive new signing in the expensive new shirt would suffice. Now we apparently need to see unequivocal proof that their medicals took place.

With the World Cup in full swing, transfer activity has slowed down a little. But, only a week or two ago, I had the opportunity to post one of these fouth-wall-removed photos myself. Yes, I had to have an ECG!

Nobody needs to see me with my shirt off, so I didn’t bother getting the photo taken. I’ve long since accepted the fact that I’m too old and not good enough to be a professional footballer, so why pretend?

So how did this all come about? Well, I had been experiencing discomfort in my chest for a month or two. I kept telling myself it was just muscular and also that doctors have enough on their plates, but there was a tiny element of doubt.

I’ve been fairly stressed lately and not feeling as young as I once did. I also have asthma, so I decided it would be wise to get an appointment.

My brilliant GP checked everything and was really reassuring. It’s almost certainly a muscular skeletal injury rather than anything scary.

I’m now on a course of medication that should help it heal. To put my mind completely at rest, however, he suggested I have an ECG.

And that’s where it got interesting. I was taken to another room. Off came the shirt and on went several sticky pads. It was painless and over in a few minutes and I felt pretty calm – until my doctor looked at the results.

He studied them for what felt like ages and then asked me to follow him back to his surgery. It seems that there was one tiny thing on my chart that could either be completely harmless or an indicator of something a little more serious.

That’ll teach him for going the extra mile! I’m now due to see a cardiologist in August. I’ve been told that my case isn’t marked as urgent, so I’m not unduly worried.

I’m free to carry on doing things as normal – including playing five-a-side every week – so it’s unlikely to be anything scary.

So I guess the point of this post is to say that, if you’ve got something you’re unsure of, get it checked out. My second appointment will probably conclude that I’ve got nothing major to worry about.

It also goes to show the value of consulting a GP now and then. If it weren’t for my probably unrelated – and probably kid-induced – injury, I’d be none the wiser of a potential condition that’s worth knowing about.

So, people: if in doubt, check it out!

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