An Unwelcome Drama

I was aware recently of being tired. Going to church one Sunday and walking up a small incline (hardly a hill), I had to stop several times and if not actually out of breath, was certainly puffed. Was it just another sign of advancing years or was there something wrong that could be put right? I made an appointment with our doctor in order to find out. But the day I was due to see him I was lying in bed in hospital.

I had come home from our allotment, was in the hallway talking to my wife as I changed my shoes and then it seems, blanked out. ‘Complete heart blockage’ it says on the diagnostic statement I came home with four days later. My wife’s immediate 999 call for help, the ambulance and the paramedics arriving soon afterwards with the A. and E. staff at our local hospital brought me round. Knowing nothing of this, an hour or so later I found myself in the Cardiac ward with various appendages sprouting from my body, supporting the life that apparently I had nearly lost.

The hospital experience was interesting. Visiting people in hospital has been part of my job and my observations as well as the comments of patients about the care has varied from good to poor. Mostly I was impressed with how I was treated. The consultant who would supervise the small operation necessary before the pacemaker (‘a little smaller than a matchbox’) was implanted, shook hands, introduced himself, knelt by the bed to explain things.. It was necessary, he said otherwise I would be subject to another attack, which could be fatal.

The nurses too were efficient although sometimes it would have been helpful to be told a little more about my present condition and my likely future; not their job perhaps but no one else’s either. Sedated, and perhaps still affected by shock, perhaps I would have found it difficult to understand anyway.

The consensus seems to be: live as you normally do. If hospital care was mostly good, the food was dire – and that’s so crazy because nutritious food should surely be part of the healing process.

It is four weeks to the day that our little drama took place. Removal of the stitches was painless. The small incision below my left collar bone is now looking better. I report to the Cardiac outpatients next week and may then be given permission to drive again. Resuming my normal life is already happening though only through experience shall I be able to discover the difference this little machine in my chest is able to make. I still lack energy and must be patient I guess about this new lease of life.

People have been concerned and very kind; especially my family.