The Man from Central Casting, by Ros Collins


The ‘flight or fight’ response interests me. I can’t boast any knowledge of psychology although many of my friends seems to have it all at their fingertips, they can even spell catecholamines.

Looking back at the sequence of events during my recent ‘near death’ experience has surprised me. There was no fear, at least nothing to compare with seeing a mouse running across my floor. The hormones that must be released through my body on seeing the first huntsman spider are much nearer to ‘flight or fight’ than having stents inserted in an artery.

The sirens wailed, the ambulance driver was, I’m told, a lovely girl who drove very fast. It was getting to be a bit ‘touch and go’ so the man from central casting was waiting for me all scrubbed up in a really divine navy blue outfit. ‘Is it alright if I have to open your chest?’ he asked and how on earth could I refuse him.

Into Emergency and lying there hidden behind a monitor I felt just fine, apart from the pain in my heart. But it wasn’t fear, nothing at all like mice or spiders. ‘Are you going to save my life?’ I enquired casually. ‘I’ll do my best’, said the man from central casting. The nurses were all busy dabbing and dusting and it really did not hurt a bit when they put a catheter into my groin. I’ve done more damage leaping onto a chair to avoid a rodent.

‘And how old are you Mrs Collins?’ I wasn’t anaesthetised so it was easy to answer. ‘So how old are you?’ I asked. ‘I’m forty-seven’ he said; he’s younger than my children – but they’re not into surgery.

‘When we open the stents the pain will cease almost immediately.’

‘You’ll also feel the blood coursing through the artery again, rather similar in sensation to having a ‘hot flush’. ‘Oh, it’s a long time since I’ve had one of those’ I said cheekily.

Back in the ward and he whips out a little iPad thing and shows the children and me what he’s done. Off to the next job and the family calms down a bit. I didn’t die but evidently it was a bit close.

The next morning it was what looked like an Armani suit. By this time I have enough wit to ask questions. ‘Will I have to spend the rest of my life in ‘God’s waiting room’ and if so I don’t want to.’ ‘I am not age-ist; you may do anything you want to and even more’ said the saviour. This is great news for me, stressful for my children who find me uncontrollable and probably rates an A+ on the report card for the man from central casting. But just to be on the safe side I had the pest control people call yesterday. I could break a leg fleeing from a mouse.

© Ros Collins