And suddenly there it was. That feeling above and in my heart, like a flutter. A feeling as if my heart were buzzing, one heartbeat as if triggered by countless hearts at once – what a feeling in my head.
I was in the middle of treating a back problem. Luckily, I was as good as done and was thus still able to bid my patient farewell before taking my assistant to one side. I’d be back in a moment, and she should please have the senior physician working under me see the other patients; I needed to do an ECG quickly. And returned – three months later.
It was the beginning of the inflammation of the heart muscle that made itself felt initially in the form of atrial fibrillation and spelled one thing: I needed to spend three months in bed in absolute peace and quiet.
What had preceded it? I’d had a bout of flu coming on but had flown to the US anyway to attend the world’s largest radiology conference – to mark the 150th anniversary of Röntgen’s birth. To commemorate his work, I'd been asked to take part in an international panel with selected other scientists. What an honor! I’d been so delighted. And so grateful that I was also being honored for founding microtherapy. A little while beforehand, I had initiated and organized the world’s very first medical transatlantic videoconference – between the National Institute of Health in the USA and the Röntgen Museum in Germany – thanks to the strong support of Hillary Clinton (Chairperson of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform at the time) and Wolfgang Clement (then Minister President of the State of North Rhine Westphalia).
Which is why I simply had to be in Chicago. So I gulped down a lot of Aspirin along with other antipyretics and anti-cough drugs to survive the long-haul flight. Somehow I managed to keep going, acting almost like in a trance.
Yes, it was an unforgettable, historic event, a huge personal joy. Nevertheless, a life-threatening mistake on my part that was documented later as an inflammation of the heart muscle. If you are running a fever, you should stay in bed and not do anything strenuous! And that includes psychological effort, too. That was something I had to learn the hard way, by frightening myself to death. We and our hearts or lungs are not always up to beating an infection. Be it triggered by influenza, swine flu, SARS or whatever. This was what I was forced to realize back then.
Since I again had heart palpitations when running a fever with flu, I have made sure I regularly get by flu shot and pneumonia shot. With a flu coming up, I simply stay tucked in bed, cancel all meetings, avoid outside contact in order to protect others, drink a lot, eat chicken soup that has simmered for a long time, fruits and vegetables, take my Vitamin C and D, and zinc pills, and, if possible, rely on medicinal herbs. And, first and foremost, I listen to my doctor. I’m still going strong. For which I am grateful, and conscious of what it means to avoid a heart transplant.
© Dietrich Grönemeyer 2021-11-05