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Case History 3

Case History 3John was a Vicar in thriving parishes in Birmingham and Nottingham before retiring to Derbyshire in 1995.  He writes:

"I am fortunate in enjoying 14 years of pretty healthy retirement before serious illness . In February 2009, I felt very ill and shivery and went to bed. It was so bad that my wife called 999 and paramedics arrived quickly. They did various checks then and there and as a result they took me to the Chesterfield Royal Hospital at Calow.

It transpired that, very unusually, I had been infected with the e-coli bug from my own body. This gave me high fever, cystitis, double pneumonia and, above all, damage to the left ventricle of the heart.

After a total of about 4 weeks in hospital in 2009 (and not being allowed to drive for 6 months of that year, much to my chagrin!), I came out of hospital and began to recover. However, I realised that I would have to live with heart failure for the rest of my life.

All this does things psychologically to you. You worry about the future and death (and, in my case, the effect on my wife). Each day that you don’t feel so well, you wonder if something serious is going to go wrong.

I then went to cardiac rehabilitation stage 3 ( i.e. exercises in the gym at Whitworth A&E hospital!) and there heard about the Dales Heart Group. My wife and I joined and, whilst at monthly meetings (with their varied programme) we rarely talk about our heart problems, we gain confidence from sharing privately with other members. With the help of the Dales Heart Group and the NHS, I am now recovering well and aware that, despite the health “blips” that most members have from time to time, we are still here to “tell the tale”!

John R. Williams

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