In 1989 I lived in a small seaside community. I worked hard, and commuted long hours until I had an accident and couldnâ€™t continue with outside employment. Shortly before I sold my home at the beach and moved to purchase a small farm in Hawkes Bay I noticed that I seemed to have a possible heart problem.
I would lie in bed before I went to sleep and feel my heart pounding so hard that it seemed to shake the entire bed. It eventually bothered me sufficiently that I asked my doctor about it. He used his stethoscope, considered, and then informed me that I had a heart murmur. I should give up the things that stressed me such as deadlines or becoming too involved and mentally fatigued with some work.
Sadly I gave up a number of activities that did stress me â€“ in a good way or so Iâ€™d believed up until then. I completed selling my beach home, packed up and moved, and resettled six months later on the small farm Iâ€™d purchased. There I bought coloured sheep, a house cow, chickens and geese, and a piglet and settled down to a â€“ hopefully â€“ stress free life.
I worried now and again about my heart murmur since it had remained, but there were no other symptoms and I hoped that it wouldnâ€™t worsen. That was the year we had a drought and very hot weather that went on and on. At summerâ€™s height I switched to making large bottles of Raro orange drink and dropping it into the freezer for a couple of hours so that I could drink what I called â€˜orange slush.â€™
The hot weather continued and after a few more weeks of it I was drinking nothing else but the orange slush. It was then that I noticed my heart murmur appeared to have been cured. I was delighted but a bit surprised, I didnâ€™t think that once you had something like that it went away. Autumn arrived and with the cooler weather I went back to drinking cola again and my heart murmur was back…
Things that make you go hmmmm!
I went back to orange slush, heart murmur stopped. I returned to cola â€“ â€˜heart murmurâ€™ back again. I made a decision, cut back on the cola to where I had a single can in the morning and now and again, but rarely, a second can in the afternoon and Iâ€™ve never had the â€˜heart murmurâ€™ return.
To me it was clear that too much caffeine was causing the problem. The question Iâ€™d like to ask, is why didnâ€™t my GP at the time pick this up? Apart from using his stethoscope he made no tests at all, he simply pronounced that I had a heart murmur, ordered me to give up anything stressful, and left it at that. I remain puzzled at his apparent ineptitude.