Scary hinge

Next week I’m due to have an angiogram, and although the risk is described as `low’ I’m finding it a fairly scary prospect… going voluntarily for a procedure that has a risk of stroke or death.  The population risk for stroke or death is 1 in 1000, which may sound quite low, until you’ve got the consent form on the desk in front of you and a pen in hand.  However, I’m younger and less frail than the average patient for this procedure, so the risk for me is probably less than that.

I was referred for it after getting brief but unfamiliar upper chest pain on very extreme exercise under pressure, which got me a stress test (exercise ECG) which showed a slight change.  But since then, I had some chest twinge in the same area, and called an ambulance, and the hospital did another stress test and an echocardiogram, both of which they told me were clear.  Now I’ve been back to the cardiologist, who said I should still have the angiogram.

I admit that, although I’m a Christian and have nominally quite normal Christian beliefs, when faced with a particular occasion of a raised risk of death I’m scared: what if my beliefs were wrong and there’s nothing next, or what if I’m right in my beliefs, but my faith isn’t real and I’m not saved… I used to worry about that more, but as I get older it has started to make less sense to believe in the very strict God of the evangelical church I once attended.  After all, if we can make allowance for others’ mistakes, and we have a Creator who is much bigger and more generous than us (which a Creator implicitly is), our Creator must have more gentleness and forgiveness than we do.

But still, it’s all a bit of a scary business.  I’m trying to steer myself into regarding it as character-forming, which is what I’m likely to look back to it as.  And I mean `likely’, because the risks aren’t actually that bad.

And it has provoked me into writing down more of what I really want to say about things, even if weird or controversial, because it’s reminded me that life’s too precious, and perhaps too short, to waste it on saying things that you `should’ say, and on not saying what you mean — a sentiment I already held and practiced to some extent.  So I’ve roughed out notes for a run of more substantial posts on this blog for the next couple of weeks, am about to go on holiday for the rest of the week and will take my netbook to use it as thinking space, and then do a brain-dump onto the blog when I get back.

I’m also looking for a new job, as my present one ends in November. One of the first jobs I saw when I started looking was in a place that has caught my imagination, and I’m now looking in that geographical area as first choice.  It’s a pleasant location in a continental European country.  But I shouldn’t get too excited about it; I’ve no idea of what I’ll find, or where, or for that matter when I’ll find something.  But I’ve decided it’s time for me to move on from Ireland; some of the latest government antics had me thinking “I’ll get my coat…”  In particular, threatening to make van users pay more tax if, for example, they use the van to drop the children off at school; and announcing that they’ll be trying to make up their income shortfall by taxing lower-income people more — while a senator refuses to resign over claiming tens of thousands of euros for travelling not very far.

So in two ways, I feel that I’m at a `hinge point’ in my life, hence the post title.


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