THE phone goes off on a blustery Saturday morning, and seeing the caller identification reads “Jaco”, I answer. Nursing a hang-over post the Intervarsity Wine Competition, I am in no mood to talk to in-laws, kids or boring friends who want to discuss the coming rugby test between the Boks and All Blacks in Soweto. But Jaco, my irreverent friend, for him I’ve always got time for.
I answer with the customary and endearing “howzit, Dick Face?”
The voice on the other end is not Jaco’s. Christ, it is not even male. It’s his wife.
She tells me: “Jaco’s had a heart-attack. I thought I should let you know.”
I go cold. Having already lost two friends in the week ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ a friend’s beloved mother and my mate Fiona Coyne ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ I was just thinking that three dead people could well be a crowd.
Fortunately, Annelize tells me, Jaco is OK. Lying in Panorama Medi-Clinic attached to a bunch of tubes and monitors, but OK.
Appears the guy ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ only 41 ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ was tiling his garage floor. Huge pain in the chest, shoulder and jaw.
Rushed to hospital. Supreme artery blockage. Thus he had some pipe shoved into an artery in his groin. All the way up to the engine room. Stent fitted to keep the pipe open. Currently, Jaco is in the Cardiology Ward, recovering.
Visiting him this morning we discuss life, the dearth of spunky nurses and the possibilities of a low-cholesterol menu for Dias Tavern, one of Jaco and my favourite haunts.
We are also both delighted to hear that the Panorama Medi-Clinic’s Cardiology Unit is a firm subscriber to the French Paradox. Remember: the French’s low level of cardiac disease is a result of their love of wine, particularly red.
Would you believe, Jaco tells me. Last night before dinner, lying here tied up to all these machines, I was asked by hospital staff whether I’d like white or red with dinner.
Kid you not, and this is true. He was, however, not up to vino after having a stens fitted inside his heart. But on Sunday, day after the heart-attack, the staff at Panorama served him a dinky of Chateau Libertas with dinner.
I like it. If you can save a guy’s life and offer him wine on the same day, you guys are my kind of hospital.
And endorse those of us who believe that wine is not only the elixir of life, but gives good life.
Cheers. And in vito veritas.
– Emile Joubert
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