“Argh!” said GV, clutching the upper-left side of her chest, her face twisted in pain.
“What’s the matter?” I asked. The pain looked genuine, and although GV can be a stress-head sometimes, she’s not one to be over-dramatic with illness.
“It’s nothing,” she lied, “just a chest pain.”
“A chest pain that leaves you clutching at your heart and grimacing in pain? How long has that been going on for?”
GV is a member in my team. Early twenties, single, beautiful and educated to a higher degree than anyone else in the team (not a great boast, we all stopped at GCSE’s, she did A-Levels), but dizzy as Hell. And I mean REALLY dizzy. Having a team work under me, it’s the first time I’ve had to play a paternal role at work. I’ve always been that type, but a few years ago it would have passed as natural concern. As I edge towards thirty, the age difference is noticeable and it actually FEELS paternal now.
“It happened over the weekend as well.” GV confessed.
“Well what happened then?”
“You remember when it was pouring with rain yesterday?” she said, referring to the Sunday that had just gone, and the torrential rain that covered Essex for most of the day.
“Well I was in the car park in The Brewery (local shopping centre) and it happened then, but it was so unexpected, and so intense that it knocked me to my knees in the pouring rain.”
A moment of silence passed as this scenario ran through my head.
“So what did you do?”
“I waited for it to pass and then drove home.”
GV’s not had much luck recently. She was diagnosed with MS less than a year ago, she’s just moved back in with her parents this past week after leaving the flat she shared with a friend, and her mum isn’t very well. I guess that the last thing she wanted to do was face up to more problems.
“Honey, you need to go to a doctors.”
GV tried to pass off my suggestion as over-the-top, but had the sense to stop, give it some thought and then ask if that’s what she really should do, as it seemed too much.
“Do me a favour. It’s 5.25pm. Call your doctor NOW and see what he says. If he says not to worry, then don’t. But we’ll listen to what he has to say and act on his advice.”
Ten minutes later GV was on her way to the doctors. It turned out that they had suggested she get to theirs before 6pm for an urgent check up or she call an ambulance and get herself to A&E for monitoring.
As luck would have it (if you could call it that), she collapsed as she got to the door of the doctors, so they had for more information to work on. After doing tests and getting her rushed to hospital where they did countless more tests, she was told that she did indeed have a heart problem, and that although it was serious enough that it could kill her, they needed to do more tests in the next few weeks to determine exactly what the problem is.
Poor girl came in the next day and looked shattered and broken. I sent her into a room on her own and told her to call HR to see if she was covered by BUPA, and whiles she did that I sat down with Sue, the Branch Manager.
We’re in a tough position at work where we need everyone performing well, which we haven’t been doing for a while. The pressure is on, and we can’t afford to carry those who aren’t performing. Because of this Sue wanted GV to get working the same day, even though she understood the fragile state she was in. I asked Sue to go and talk to GV because in my view she wasn’t in a fit state for work. Sue was reluctant, but did as I suggested, and lo and behold GV was sent home to rest up and is due back in today.