So this is going to be a bit of an experience – blogging my way through heart surgery – well it gives me something to do….
To begin at the beginning , back up 365 days or so to when I started to get the idea that something was not quite right… Fleeting chest discomfort, lasting less than a second, not brought on by exertion (I have witnesses) or stress, occouring from time to time.
Consultation with the GP resulted in blood tests revealing a slightly high cholesterol level of six and a bit. I was challenged to reduce it or get on the statins. I took up the challenge and via plant sterols took it down to five.
Still concerned about the chest issue I insisted on a referral to Kingston Hospital, and in due time was seen in the Rapid Access Chest Clinic, and after an ECG was told there was nothing Amis. I pushed again and got an appointment for a CT angio, and this is where it gets complicated…
At the CT scan they mentioned calcium, they would consult and be in touch if needed. That’s where I should have paid more attention, but in a gown, with a cannula, inside the X-ray doughnut, flat on my back, I suppose I was just relieved they weren’t saying ‘bad news Dr Bob’
Fast forward three months, it’s just gone Christmas, and that sense of unease is still with me, unlike the results of the scan. Encouraged by those close to me (in particular the lovely Dr P) to follow up on this I started, via the GP to track down the results. After a month or so they track them down, and a couple of weeks later I get a call to inform me of the outcome…. Calcium score of 1058, that’s pretty high – 90% likely that one artery is blocked, 25% chance of a heart attack in the next 12 months. In other words, “bad news, Dr Bob”
I made some calls, pointed out a few uncomfortable truths about “duty of care” and “timely delivery of results”. Profuse apologies were followed by an emergency appointment to the next available angiogram.
The angio revealed the truth – the statistics didn’t lie – one total occlusion, and three worrying narrowings on the other artery. They looked me in the eye and gave me a choice, out patient or immediate admission- it wasn’t a real choice, something needed to be done, and fast.
That was two days ago – since then I’ve been scanned, X-rayed, blood let on a daily basis, admitted to a cardiac ward in Kingston and then transferred to a specialist unit at St George’s. I’ve transitioned from running up the stairs to being run around on trolleys and in an ambulance. To say it’s surreal is an understatement. I’m all wired up to the machine that goes “Beep” and while I did meet the ED medical director at Kingston, the hospital administrator is yet to visit.
Ive been inundated with messages of love, hope and positivity from friends and family. Thanks to all of them, it’s a much needed boost at a time of uncertainly.
I’m waiting for an update as to when I’ll be under the knife. Watch this space…