Think of heart attacks and you picture someone clutching their chests and dropping to the floor, more often than not dead, probably influenced by watching the television. Believe me, it doesn’t always happen that way. Five weeks ago, my lovely husband had a heart attack. Normally very active, fairly physically fit, not particularly overweight, he came out of work with a feeling of discomfort in his chest. As he was driving home, he started to feel unwell and instead diverted to the nearby hospital. Within an hour he was in the resuscitation room wired up to all sorts of monitoring devices and I was on my way there, having been alerted by one of the nurses. Within a few hours he was being whisked to Sheffield Northern General Hospital in an ambulance with blue flashing lights and two paramedics in attendance, feeling, he said, ‘a complete fraud.’ Once there, he was whisked into an operating theatre and had a stent fitted to one of the coronary arteries.
I’m glad to say he’s recovering well and has just this week gone back to work, albeit on reduced hours, which I believe is normal practice. Best of all, he’s agreed to carry a mobile phone with him at all times, something I’ve wanted him to do for years. In a couple of weeks, he’s to start attending cardiac rehabilitation which should help with things like diet and exercise. But this experience has been a real shock to him. He’s gone from someone who ‘didn’t do sick’ and who refused to take tablets of any kind, beyond a couple of painkillers for a headache, to someone who’s now taking eight tablets a day. That will probably be for the rest of his life too.
But it’s been a real wake-up call for both of us, made us realise just how precious life is and how precarious our hold on it is. As a result of what’s happened, we’ve taken stock of how we lead our lives. He was one for going at jobs hell for leather, always trying to get ahead of himself. I’m pleased to report that he’s now pacing himself and actually having ‘a bit of a sit-down’ in between jobs. We’ve also gone low-fat in our diet wherever possible and trying to eat more vegetables and fruit. Will we be able to keep it up? At this stage, I don’t know.
The irony is that I’m waiting for a CT scan to see if my own coronary arteries are silting up. It’s just possible I may need a stent myself!