It was just the other night, I was probably suffering from anxiety or stress at work when I noticed my heart beating a lot stronger, that I had chest pains…some jabbing sans the numbness that should radiate from my jaw all the way down to my left side and arm if I were having a heart attack. I didn’t want to alarm Wifey. So, all I did was to hold her close to me, calling her softly by her Pet Society’s pet’s name: Tembam-bam (Tembam = podgy), and kissing her cheeks and forehead, telling her how much I love her. She stirred a bit, not realising what was happening.

I will be 43 this July. I term this current phase in this life of mine as Living On Borrowed Time.

Sudden and deadly heart attacks runs in my family. So does Hypercholesterolemia. It was only 4 and a half years ago when I had arrhythmia at the Singapore Expo, that sent me to the Cardiac ICU. That was due to stress. Although I no longer suffer from skipped heartbeats, or that thumping punch from the inside my heart gave me once in a while then, I still suffer from tachycardia. My resting heartbeat is anything between 88 to 120 beats per minute. And since the divorce two years ago, I suffer from Hypertension that has since required me to have my daily dosage of and ACE Inhibitor, on top of the Statin I take for my cholesterol levels. I also suffer from asthma, which I never had until after the divorce.

43, I think, was the age when my paternal grandfather passed away. Before, he passed away, he said to my father who was then 13 years old, “Hanif, tomorrow you will no longer have a backbone to support you.” According to my father, true to his father’s words, the next afternoon my father felt weak as if he did not have any backbone. That was the moment my grandfather died at the billiards hall.

My father suffered his first heart attack when he was 37 years old. I remember how he collapsed one morning in the bathroom. At the age of 42, he had another attack, that sent him to do his first coronary bypass at the Harley Street Clinic at Weymouth Street in London. He had a second bypass when he was 61. He had just celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday.

My younger brother was diagnosed by our cardiologist 2 years ago to have up to 30% damage to his heart. His condition was made worse by the fact that he smoked (he probably still does but at a lot lesser rate). The cardiologist told him that if he continues to smoke, it no longer will be the question of if he would die, but rather when.

Anyway, two days ago after work, while we cuddled in bed after a hard day working, I told her about what had happened the previous night. I asked her where would she have me buried should I die. She was in tears. I know I am prepared to die when my time comes, but I am not giving up that easily. I have only begun to learn to be happy, with Wifey by my side…I want to enjoy this life with her for as long as I can.

Every morning, as I drive us to work, I would (or would try to) hold her hand whenever the traffic lights turn red, or when we get stuck in traffic. And we would say “I love you” to each other when I drop her off at her office building, and this would continue later in the form of Yahoo! Messenger or text messages on the phone.

Whenever I drop her off, I am not sure if I would be alive when I get home next. Therefore, I do not want to miss anything, or have any regrets for the things I did not say or do to her. Sometimes, we take our partner for granted because we always come home alive. But this may one day change.

Try not to miss telling the other half how much you miss him/her, especially before you go off to work. I will definitely try not to miss any opportunity I get.

I don’t know how much longer I have, now that I am playing extra time in this soccer game of life. I may get to play until I win, or I might get taken off the field by the Team Manager above before the referee blows the final whistle. Therefore, I cherish the moments that she and I have spent together, and create more moments for me to cherish. Hopefully, when I go, although she would be missing me, as I would her, I hope she would smile more thinking that we’ve managed to do the best to be happy together and make each other happy.

Wifey and I - OTWC YKS 25 Oct 2008