Taking responsibility

At the end of March this year, I had a heart attack.  I didn’t realise what it was at the time, I just felt hungry on the Thursday, but threw up later after eating.  I felt fine on the Friday, and had some umcomfortableness breathing on the Saturday morning.  After seeing my GP on the Thursday, he diagnosed acid reflux as the problem, and prescribed me some pills for it.  I still didn’t feel better hours later, so called the NHS Direct number.  The doctor I spoke to said the pills I had would work, eventually, but to get some Gaviscon in the meantime.  Saturday morning, I called NHS Direct again.  They seemed to think it was meningitus, but I was missing one of the symptoms of it, so they decided I needed an emergency ambulance to take me to hospital.

Less than 5 minutes after getting off the phone, the ambulance arrived, I was wired up to a portable ecg machine, and the paramedic told me not to panic, but I was having a heart attack.  I thought he’d said that I’d had a heart attack, which took me by surprise, but I stayed relaxed.  I only felt a little bit of discomfort, and not how I would imagine feeling after having a heart attack, you expect to reach for your chest and keel over right?

Well, the paramedics decided not to take me to the local hospital 1 mile down the road from me (Stafford DGH – the one that’s been in the news for the past few years), but 17 miles away in Newcastle-under-Lyme (I later found out that this is the best place in the area for heart conditions).  My blood sugar was through the roof at 21.5, can’t remember what my blood pressure was, but my cholesterol was 6.5, twice what it should be.

Now a little background, I’m diabetic, been diagnosed about 7 or 8 years, but think I’ve been diabetic for my entire life, it would explain why I’m the size  I am.  I also have high blood pressure, both not good for heart conditions.  That combined with a history of heart conditions on one side of the family, stroke in the other, and cancer in both, I’m not exactly in the healthiest position.

When I got to the hospital, I was surrounded by doctors and nurses, and then taken to theatre, given a local anesthetic, and then they attempted to clear the blockage in my heart by going through a main artery in my right thigh, all this time while I was still awake.  It felt uncomfortable at times, but it was all over in little over 30 mins, and I was back on the cardiac care ward, and told not to move that leg for at least 4 hours.  Trying to pee in bed on a bed pan, is not the easiest thing in the world let me tell you.

I was moved to a side room after a few days, then onto a ward for the last day I was there (which was 5 in total).  I was seen by all kinds of different people while I was there.  Family and friends came to visit, even two of my family from Sunderland over 4 hours and 4 train rides away came to visit me on the Monday.

Now, am I after sympathy, no.  I had a heart attack because of my poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, medication, and no doubt several other factors, but mainly, because of me, and no one else.  I’ve known I’m diabetic and have high blood pressure for long enough now to know I need to be careful what I eat and what I do, so even though I was told “you’re diabetic” and pretty much left to manage it myself by the medical people, I was ultimately to blame for my heart attack.

In the 3 months since, I’ve changed my diet, eating more fruit (I still don’t like veg but I’m not ordering take away every night).  I’m not exercising yet, but got an appointment next week to discuss that.  I was told to go home, rest, watch bad daytime tv, and rest (again), so for 2 months, I was using my flatmates old power chair to go round town (I would have gone round the twist if I’d had to stay at home that entire time).  I don’t think I’ve done so much clothes shopping in such a short period of time as I did during that 2 months. Sitting down while clothes shopping is so relaxing, and in most shops, you’re just at the right height to browse in a relaxed manner.  For the past month or so, I’ve been walking daily, and walking a bit more each day, and I can see that I am gradually getting better, and hopefully will get to a point where I’m a lot healthier that I was before (I need to be really, to ensure this doesn’t happen again, as another one might kill me).

So, now I’m just taking each day at a time.  My racing has taken a knock the past few months, I was supposed to be the shop at two big events, but I had to pull out as I just needed to concentrate on me for a while.  I did start a new, more relaxing hobby of building an N-gauge model railway which has been expensive, but fun (I had to build a table to mount the railway on, that was fun and quite satisfying).

To sum up, it was my fault I had a heart attack.  Of course, if I was a radical feminist, no doubt it would be some man’s fault, the bastards!


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