Last week (13th) I was about to leave work and go home for the day but started to feel unwell. I got into the car but did not start the engine, after a minute I decided to go back to the office as my friend and employer just happened to still be there. After a few minutes of telling her how I felt and thinking I had pulled something things started to get worse, so the decision was to take me to the hospital. I called M to tell him I was not feeling well and that I was going to the hospital. Luckily enough A&E/ER was only 1.6 miles away and I was there in no time.
The receptionist was rude and dismissive and was not interested really in my plight, shouting at me to put a mask on. At this point, I was struggling to breathe and was in mass amounts of pain and felt ready to collapse. Both my friend and I told her I needed help and both times all she was interested in was telling us that my friend could not wait with me and had to go. Luckily my friend takes no prisoners and said to me that they will have to bring security and drag her out before she will willingly leave. Within 20 minutes of being there and begging to be seen, I was taken through to triage and had my first cardiac arrest. I had a total of 4 cardiac arrests, suffered three fractured ribs from CPR, and 7 very large defibrillator shocks in order to bring me back to life. The doctor who did all that said it was a struggle to keep me alive and that I was very lucky to have been at the hospital when that happened as the timing was critical. If I had gone home I would have died on my driveway.
Once I was stable, I was taken to Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital, which is the leading heart hospital in the UK, and again I was lucky enough to be close to it. As it was dark I was taken via ambulance at high speed to the hospital, if it was daylight I would have been transported via the helicopter. Sirens and blue lights all the way once I was there I was rushed into theatre to have an angiogram, that is a stent fitted all whilst awake. Whilst I was in Southport hospital I kept vomiting every time I was moved, which was not nice for the staff there as it was very unexpected and dare I say exorcist style. I did the same in theatre, however, the staff I managed to take out said it was not a problem as they deal with that all the time and not to stop myself as it is better out than in.
After a few minutes after me claiming down the operation began through my wrist (details below). 20 minutes later a blockage was removed and a stent fitted and I started to feel a little bit better but was still in pain with the fractured ribs. Now I was starting to stabilise I was taken to the critical care unit for my recovery. I have to admit, life in Critical Care was amazing, one on one nursing, doctors in and out many times day and night, wired up to every machine possible monitoring everything from oxygen levels, heart, pulse, blood pressure, several drips and transfusion machines and of course I was also on oxygen as my lungs were filling with fluid because my heart was not working properly.
Whilst in hospital I had many x-rays, 4 transfusions, blood was taken every day, injections into my tummy daily, and lots and lots of medication both IV and orally. I had many heart scans to determine the extent of damage my heart had sustained, unfortunately, the news was not good. I have severe damage to the left side, muscles are no longer working there, however, the other muscles are overcompensating for the damage. The doctor did show me it after the scan which was amazing to see, but worrying as I could see when he pointed out the lack of movement in the damaged part. I still have another blockage, but they said medication will get rid of that and they are not concerned at this stage. Unfortunately, it looks like the heart attack was caused through DNA as heart problems are on my maternal Welsh side, with my uncle dying of a heart attack at 31, my grandmother also at a much later age, and others. The doctor said he thinks I have a good lifestyle and this change to my life will only make things better.
I am now home after my 8 days in critical care and being honest feel quite well considering. I have been for a couple of little walks in the village and this morning we took the dogs for a little walk too. I have been signed off work for 4 weeks and not allowed to drive until 17th November, but that will be here in no time.
Next is recuperation and rehabilitation starting next week (I hope) and building my strength, counselling and more.
I am lucky to be alive and owe my life to my friend for getting me to the hospital. She has been a real champ during this as she has checked on M every day, both through visiting, calling and messaging. She took him to hers for Sunday lunch last Sunday along with the dogs to get them all out of the house. M enjoyed it a lot, and needless to say, the dogs enjoyed running about her garden.
So, onwards and upwards, here is to a fixed heart and better times to come. Pics below with captions to see changes.