GOOD fortune is often said to come from being in the right place at the right time. Thornlands refrigeration mechanic Ray Hackett says Redland Hospital and the morning of Thursday, August 28, met those two criteria for him.
About 3am on Wednesday, Ray rang the ambulance after he felt a sensation of pressure in his chest build to pain then subside.
“It was a weird feeling, like someone put an air hose in my chest,” he says.
RAY had another episode after the paramedics arrived. In hospital, Ray patiently waited for the full assessment of his condition, then bang, that building and fading pain again.
“The top cardiologist in Brisbane, Dr Gill, was doing his rounds and he's apparently only at the hospital for a few hours once a week,” Ray says.
“He walked into my ward just as I had a turn.
“They put the machine [electrocardiograph monitor] on me but couldn't see anything unusual.
“Dr Gill leaned over and said, 'I'll show you – this man's trying to have a heart attack'.
“He said it was the top artery and it was blocking and releasing.”
RAY says Dr Gill directed a transfer to Princess Alexandra Hospital where staff said he was fortunate to have come to the attention of “the number-one heart doctor, the numero uno”.
On Friday evening, Ray was in the operating theatre to have a stint put in the faulty artery. He was told during his discharge briefing on Saturday morning that his quick reaction to the first burst of pain meant he had escaped major damage.
He advises anyone with such a “pressure and pain build-up” to seek medical attention immediately and not to ignore such a warning sign.
On Sunday evening, he said he felt “as good as gold”. The health emergency, however, had made him think seriously about retiring after 54 years in the workforce and about 50 years in refrigeration.
RAY Hackett Refrigeration Services features in the Bulletin's Trade Services Classifieds and has been familiar to many Redlanders since he moved from Victoria about 15 years ago.
He plans to have a few weeks off work to think about the future. Undoubtedly, he will dab brushes onto canvas. Painting has been Ray's relaxation for about 25 years.
He has been with Stephen Holliday's art group but missed Sunday's scheduled Art by the Boardwalk exhibition and demonstrations at Raby Bay.
This spring brings the first anniversary of the boardwalk event, which runs on the first Sunday of the month.
Let's hope Ray will show a new painting or two on October 5 as well as practise his skills at the easel under the watchful eyes of the spring browsers.
This column has appeared in The Redland City Bulletin.