Klaus Hnilica
Tuesday January 27th, 2015

Cardiac Fibrillation…

Carl and Gerlinde (XXXIX)

A sleepless night, a burning breast ache, a tottering heart and Dr. Riffelmann’s diagnosis sufficed to convince Carl that, just maybe, it is a good idea to join Hannelore and Gerlinde two weeks later when they went to their stupid ’ladies course’…

ZZYVoimg162But Gerlinde had been right! He had to take things easier to prevent that ship – no, his ship – from either leaving or leaving him behind!

“This auricular fibrillation episode was an alarm signal and should be taken very seriously”, Dr. Riffelmann had said without his otherwise usual smile. Carl was lucky to be only in his mid-fifties and justs have a slightly high blood pressure: a mere beta blocker was enough to bring the ’hearty tantrum’ back to normal. No need yet for anticoagulants…

”But you want to be careful: matters might worsen sooner than Carl might be prepared to acknowledge”, Dr. Riffenmann said with just a hint of a smile. In order to prevent that from happening, Carl would have to immediately start a routine exercise program, drink only a minimum of alcohol and reduce his daily stress considerably!

When he heard the words ’reduce stress’, Carl suddenly found himself in a smiling contest with Dr. Riffelmann! How was he supposed to manage that, with the avalanche of problems on the international knitwear market?

But then, maybe he could snatch away the job red-faced Fritz Kuhlmann was now holding as porter at the company and offer him his knitwear salesperson position along with the cardiac fibrillation in return? And maybe his boss, ’Little Eastercorn’ would – for a change – offer some constructive help, rather than just talking? And maybe so would the works committee?

”Well, you know you do not have to throw the baby out with the bath water”, Dr. All-Smiles suggested, “most importantly, you have to learn how to better deal with stress! And how to reduce it? Meaning not by drinking more beer and Whysky in the evening and instead exercising daily and applying a special relaxing routine!”
”Relaxing routine?“

”Yes – there are excellent courses you can take to learn this kind of thing”, Dr. Riffelmann was quite enthusiastic.

“I am sure you are not suggesting relaxing routines from the wonderful kingdom of Chakras and singing bowls where energy-charged rubber dragons make all tension inside me disappear for 125 Euro, do you?”,

Carl moaned as loud as if someone had just drilled on one of his nerves.

”No – I certainly would not advise you to start Yoga Vidja; I know you well enough. But how about common Autogenous Training?“

Carl rolled his eyes and mumbled something incomprehensible.

“Yes! Why won’t you try and give relieving stress through ’AT ’ a totally unbiased chance?“

”Well, Dr. Riffelmann, the reason is that next time I see you I will not simply have a cardiac fibrillation.

Instead, you can be dead sure that I will return as a homicidal maniac: because if my right arm is supposed to become heavy and my left leg is supposed to start burning, I am going to go nuts!” Carl’s face had turned scarlet and a new fibrillation attack was underway when he grunted his reply. …

“And what would be so bad about that? I do not mean the homicidal maniac part but the heavy right arm and the warm left leg! You would not believe how relaxing it can be and what a stabilizing effect it has on your heartbeat, as well..…“

“Sorry, Dr.Riffelmann. With me, this ’AT ’, as you call it, can have only two mutually exclusive effects: I will either become as aggressive as a starving varan! Or else I will immediately fall into a comatose-like sleep.…“
“Well – you know, actually, the latter would not be a bad idea! With the exception of having to transport you home, which might be a little complicated. But then, maybe there is a nice person you can think of who could help with that?”, Dr. Riffelmann said with a grin that said relish.

In fact, the sun-tanned smile of before had been more comfortable, Carl thought when he collected the recipe for his beta-blockers from the doctor’s assistant.

So much more surprising was his about-face!

Or was that not what it was, after all? Was it again one of the usual Gerlinde-style Manipulations? After all, she knew exactly how to pull the nose ring of her run-down bull Carl in order to make sure he landed on the path she wanted him to land on …

Well – it took exactly two – more poorly than well-slept-through – nights before Carl informed Gerlinde during breakfast after a two-minute coughing attack caused by a piece of French Baguette he had spread finger-thick with apricot jam as usual that this strange Dr. Riffelmann whom she had at the time recommended to him had not been able to tell him anything better than that it might be a good idea to, quasi as an additional preventive measure on top of the beta blockers against his cardiac fibrillation, enrol in an AT course for stress reduction. Although he of all people should have known how much Carl hated all kinds of esoteric knick-knack.

”So why don’t you come and join Hannelore and me”, Gerlinde said, sounding no different than if Carl had asked for a second egg for breakfast.

”What? – How? – Where? You want me to take part in your ladies’ course”?

”Why not?“

“Is there any man in the course at all?“


“I mean one who is not gay?“

”My God, how should I know about that “!



“And who is in charge of the course?“

“Well, that is Severin?“

“What! A man?“

“A sports student!“

“And is he gay?“

“I would say: certainly not”, Gerlinde whispered with a dirty smile.

“Why are you so positive?“

“Just because I know – and Hannelore also confirmed …“

“What is that supposed to mean?“

“Well, that she, too, is quite certain …“

“Phew – am I in the wrong film here!“

“Why would you think that?“

“Well, seeing as your eyes turn all glazy as soon as you mention the sports student…“

“Why don’t you come and take a look at Severin yourself …“

“Is that possible?“

“All is possible if I speak with him …“

“This gets stranger and stranger”, Carl moaned before getting on his way to his office without another word. Somehow or other he had the feeling that the next attack of cardiac fibrillation was soon going to be upon him unless he saw to it that the distance between him and his Gerlinde quickly became as far as possible.

And on Saturday morning, Carl actually trotted along when Gerlinde left home to attend this strange AT course!

“Well, I guess it will not do any harm – although I am sure it will not do much good, either”, he fizzled with an embarrassed smiley on his face when he spontaneously joined her in the car.

Well – and Gerlinde was wondering if the best time to tell him that Severin was currently, but basically had all the time been replaced by Uschi Müller would be on the way there or later …

(Translated by EG)

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