Mum’s death has provided me an occasion for countless visits to the doctor and the cardiologist.

I’m all wired up today. The cardiologist has fitted me up with a heart monitor. I have to wear it for the next 24 hours. The box is the size of a dictaphone, and I have six wires plastered all over my tosro. After 24 hours, the cardiologist will get a reading and tell me if I have a heart problem or not. The box is just part of two weeks of treatment that has included a four hour effort test, two electrocardiograms and two heart scans. I am very thankful to the French health system for reacting so well and so quickly.

I am wired up, because I have been getting vasovagal attacks

Vasovagal are brought on with stress and extreme fatigue.

I never had them in Britain whilst I was burying mum. I had a mission to accomplish and for nearly a month I just got on with it. No time to worry, everything just had to get done. I reacted with purpose, and I acted alone. I have never felt so free.

A vasovagal attack comes on unexpectedly and, when you don’t know what is happening, it is a very frightening experience.

You are standing, sitting, working, going about life as normal when …

Your vision goes blurred, you can’t focus and you get “spots” before your eyes.

Your head starts to reel

You get an “outer body experience” – you can see yourself doing what you are doing, but you are not there doing it.

There is a sudden and rapid energy loss. All the life force drops out your body in seconds, a bit like putting a paper through a shredder.

You panic

You feel you are going to drop dead there and then.

I’ve had three such attacks since mum’s death. The doctor says it is the result of stress and lack of sleep, although it could have a cardiac origin

The first Vasovagal attack happened at the gym. I just about passed out on the rowing machine

The other two attacks happened during a lesson. I just carried on. When you know what the attacks are about, you can carry on through them, though it isn’t always easy.

Three vasovagal attacks in as many months is cause for concern.

I told the GP

She sent me along to A&E. They carried out an electrocardiogram – heart rate 45 – Blood pressure normal

“Are you having any emotional problems?” asked the Syrian heart specialist, at the hospital.

“Yeh, with my mum.”

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