I’ve known about my heart issues for a couple of years, and am used to the frequent palpitations, so when my ticker started feeling ‘unusual‘ at lunchtime I was a little concerned. I’m a firm believer in the adage ‘you know your own body’, and mine was decidedly not right, so when I also started feeling hot and cold and then giddy and faint I figured I needed to get myself seen asap.
Within 10 minutes I was getting into a taxi and 10 minutes after that I was in A&E, struggling to remember my address, shaking like a leaf and clearly looking like hell. All credit to the doctors and nurses at the hospital because I was fast-tracked through, having all manner of tests done until I finally conked out. Luckily, a nearby paramedic helped the nurse get me onto a trolley so I could be swiftly moved to a more appropriate examination area. Once hooked up to the machines I was eventually lucid enough to ring a friend, who spent the next 7 hours by my side.
After constant monitoring, endless blood pressure tests, an xray, and two extremely painful blood tests I was finally given the good news that I hadn’t had a heart attack and was given antibiotics for an infection before being allowed home. I’m very, very grateful to all of the doctors and nurses who, despite being busy, made sure that I was well looked after throughout. I’m also very thankful that I have such wonderful friends…
It’d been a whole year since I’d last seen my consultant cardiologist, and when I went for my follow-up appointment today for the results of my annual heart scan I fully expected a simple three minute consultation to say that nothing has changed and to return for my next scan as planned the following year. Luckily, a friend took me there and I have to admit it was good to have a bit of moral support. It’s not nice to sit in the cardiology department on your own for any length of time, surrounded by people who clearly have major medical woes.
After hanging around for what seemed an eternity I was eventually ushered into a small consulting room, where my consultant told me that the two iffy valves in my ticker (aortic and mitral) hadn’t got any worse, which is what I’d expected all along but was nice to actually get confirmation. The other positive news was he was now putting me on a new two-year programme, so no more annual scans and appointments – yay! They’re also setting up a one-stop heart clinic, so in the future I can get my scan done in one department and then pop along to see a cardiac nurse for the results the same day, which would be excellent. While I’m obviously thrilled to get such positive news, I’m not entirely sure why I couldn’t have simply been sent a letter with that information; no wonder the jolly old NHS is skint!
My phone rang this evening and it was the hospital cardio-respiratory dept (thought I was finished with all the heart stuff until next April). Basically, they have regular reviews and new quality control measures, that have recently been put in place, which means that they must now produce log books of important clinical results and findings.
Apparently, my heart scan was “so beautiful” and “such a fantastic example” (of two faulty valves to the left chamber) they would very much like me to go back up there for another scan next month, and use my images (anonymously) for their departmental logbook! They’ll pay for my transport and will also provide me with whatever I need on the day. Who knew I had such a photogenic insides?! It’ll be entertaining if they want topless shots showing the scanning process – ooo errrr!!
Get your mind out of the gutter! “Two hard ones and two floppy ones” are the words a doctor said to me this morning when I went to discuss the results of my heart scan, and she was talking about my arteries. I now have to be referred to a cardiologist for further tests, although I was warned that the local NHS waiting list is very VERY long. In the meantime I’ve been put back on statins – oh joy, the delights of leg muscle cramps to look forward to…
However, this week is all about perspectives, and while I moan about a few aches and pains I’m horribly aware that some very good friends of mine are, at this very moment, with their newborn in a London ICU waiting to hear when he will endure a complicated heart operation. I am now counting my blessings and crossing all of my fingers (and toes) for a positive outcome for this lovely family. Life really can be so unfair at times…
The Cardio Respiratory Department at the General Hospital wasn’t my favourite place to be at 8.30am on a Wednesday, especially when it was already nice and sunny outside, but as I needed to have a heart scan I guess it was the best place for it.
The last time I whipped my top off in front of other people was in Gran Canaria last December, while lounging on a sunbed under a massive palm tree beside a fabulous infinity pool, which was a whole lot more fun than being topless while laying on a hard hospital bed in a cold, clinical environment in front of a Cardiology Technician. However, needs must and all that…
The process itself, laying on my left with my arm above my head while having an ultrasound of my heart wasn’t painful, just a little uncomfy and not the best environment for making ‘small talk’. Fortunately it was all over and done with relatively swiftly and now I have to face the next bit – the two week wait while the scans are thoroughly examined by a specialist and the results sent through to my GP.
No point in worrying about it though – I’ll deal with whatever I need to when the time comes, but for now work beckons. That winter break in Lanzarote won’t fund itself!
“You do KNOW you have a heart murmur don’t you?!” were the 10 little words that tumbled out of the doctor’s mouth after rummaging around with his stethoscope down the front of my t-shirt. “Erm…..” I couldn’t speak. He had another rummage and confirmed “Yes, I can definitely hear one”.
I’d actually booked to see a temporary Gp at my local surgery for a blood pressure review as my usual one was away. The nurse who’d seen me a few days earlier confirmed that my blood pressure remains sky high and therefore the new medications weren’t working; to be frankly honest, this new information wasn’t exactly helpful in that department! (Although I guess it might explain the high readings along with an apparently high pulse rate).
Quite how this malfunction hadn’t been spotted during the numerous medical examinations I’d had in the past I have no idea, but hopefully all will become clearer once I’ve seen the heart specialist for my echo-cardiogram. I’m now trying NOT to focus on the fact that my father died from heart problems, and am choosing to be thankful that it’s been spotted (better late than never) and I’m excited about a whole new experience, rather than terrified of the implications. At least life’s never dull in my world!