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Case History 2

Case History 2I was enjoying retirement – busy, yes, but not stressful, and time to do the things I wanted to do.Then I had the heart attack. We were sitting one evening watching television when the chest pain started. At first I thought it would go away, but it didn’t. Then I began to worry, and called an ambulance. I spent a week in hospital, where I had angioplasty (where they insert little “cages” to keep your arteries open) and was beginning to feel better, but I wasn’t really prepared for how weak I felt when I went home.

Then I really began to worry. Was I going to spend the rest of my retirement an invalid? Would I still be able to do the walking and bird-watching I had plans for? The NHS does a wonderful job in dealing with the physical problems, but the psychological impact of a heart attack (or any other heart disease) is what really gets you. I felt annoyed, scared, and worried in equal measure. This wasn’t in the life plan and I had no frame of reference to help me cope. My wife was equally worried.

This is where cardiac rehabilitation is vital. I attended a course at the local hospital, with exercises to rebuild confidence, and talks to help me understand what had happened and what I needed to do about it. More importantly I met others who had had heart problems – many more severe than mine - and we talked about what had happened and how we were coping.

From there I joined Dales Heart, a support group of yet more people who had been through what I was going through, and crucially had built their lives back. And now, thanks to Dales Heart, I’m back on track. If I can do it, so can you.

Mike

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