Thinking He was Having a Heart Attack

One of my older patients (and dear friend) came into my office one day without an appointment saying he thought he was having a heart attack. He said had to stop three times and sleep for about an hour each time from Truckee to Grass Valley, his heart hammering away in his chest, frightening him.

He’s in his eighties, looks fifty, grew up living a very healthy lifestyle, eating a vegetarian diet with no stimulants or depressants and is the epitome of health. No part of me thought he was having a heart attack, so I said "Come on in and let me check you out."

I took his blood pressure, which was 123/73. That’s what you would expect from a healthy athlete in his early twenties. Then I used my hands to scan the pressure over his organs. His spleen, and especially pancreas were very inflamed. An inflammed pancreas usually indicates eating too much sugar. When I palpated them, they were swollen. The spleen/pancreas meridian was pushing more than twice as far out past his auric field than his other meridians. His adrenal glands, which rule the three-heater meridians with their three warming spaces in his torso were also quite inflamed. That probably represented all the anxiety he was having regarding his heart hammering away in his chest.

I asked him what he just ate. His wife/best friend had recently died, which was like having half his heart yanked out by the roots, and some friends had adopted him. They invited him to have breakfast at an I-Hop restaurant, the kind of place he never goes to, where he had blueberry pancakes with lots of sugary blueberry sauce and coffee with cream and sugar. For his well-tuned system, this was as far from normal as he could go.

I said, “You damn fool. You just threw your body into such severe hypoglycemia that you did not have enough blood sugar energy to even breathe, much less drive your car. When your blood sugar levels dropped down so far that you didn’t have enough energy to even drive your vehicle, your adrenal glands pumped out so much adrenalin that it plunged your body into 'fight, fright, flight' mode. That’s what caused your heart to feel like it was hammering away in your chest. Having lost your best friend recently makes your body less able to handle such sugary excesses; and the coffee with cream and sugar took you way over the line.”

While I was balancing his central and governing meridians, I apologized for calling him a fool on top of his obvious distress. He said, “That’s all right John. I like it better when you give it to me straight.” I told him that until he got past his grief, his body would not be able to assimilate that kind of sugary food, the kind of food he never previously would have eaten.