Tag Archives: Recovery

The summer’s over

The summer’s over.  The girls have gone back to school, marking the end of a rather different summer holiday.

Thanks to my little incident, Disney World was exchanged for Codona’s Aberdeen and Daytona Beach for Cullen.  Thanks goodness the weather was good!  I think fun was had by all.

Who needs Disney World?!

Right on cue the days are getting noticeably shorter and there has definitely been a turn in the weather.  The last three mornings have been greeted with a heavy, persistent fog.  Rather than the refreshing blanket of moisture that started the balmy days of summer, there is no obvious end to the mist, no sun to brighten up our day, just the promise of the darkness and damp to come.

As we enter a new phase, I fear it’ll be easy for the memory of my Heart Attack to fade.  I’ve met several people recently who have been through similar experiences and can’t remember the details of the event.  Everything has gradually returned to normal, and the old bad habits have crept back in.

I am very keen that this doesn’t happen to me.  I can be very focused when I want to be, but stamina is not a strong point and I’m not the best “completer / finisher”.  The new health and fitness regime is going well, but I need to make sure it stays that way!

This doesn’t describe me very well! I can do it but it’s hard work.

The current phase of my Cardiac Rehab will be finished in 3 weeks which will mark another big change.  I know it’s going to be increasingly difficult to get motivated to exercise when it’s cold, dark and wet.  I’m going to have to find myself some new forms of exercise to keep my interest up…

It’s a marathon not a sprint!
(and, incidentally, I believe you’re more likely to be successful if you dress appropriately!)

I’ve never been to an Exercise Class at a Gym, but this could be a good time to start!

Ch… Ch… Ch… Changes (FD +50)

Doesn’t time fly!

It’s the big Five-Zero!  Fifty days since I had my Heart Attack.  Seven weeks and a day.  Forever, and no time at all.

Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun!  🙂

To say a lot has changed would be an understatement.  Some changes have been forced on me.  Some have been voluntary*.  Others have been a consequence of circumstances.


“It must have been scary!”…  No, not really.  At no point over the past 51 days have I felt like my life was in imminent danger.  However, it doesn’t take much imagination to see that things could have gone that way.  In the UK, one in three people who have a Heart Attack don’t make it to hospital.

The next time you’re in a lift with two other people, imagine one of you not making it to your floor.  I was in that lift.  I was lucky.  I didn’t realise how much danger I was potentially in until afterwards.  By that stage, the immediate danger was over and the ball was in my court (more or less).

A new Dad (in reverse)

In some ways, it feels like part of me died when I had the Heart Attack.  Not in a bad way.  In a way that created space for new parts of me to grow in their place.  In fact, its probably more correct to say “dormant” rather than “new”, many aspects of the “new” me have been there before.  A very long time ago!  So long ago that only close family members and very old friends might recognise them.  As far as the girls are concerned, I am a new, thinner, slightly bizarre, “active” Dad.

Even knowing what I know now, I’m not sure if there is anything that would have convinced me to make some of the changes I have done in advance of something “happening”.  It still all seems slightly surreal.  Perhaps if someone I knew well, who I could easily relate to, had been through the same thing as I have, it might have been enough for me to take action.  Perhaps.

The bottom line is, if you want to, it’s not that difficult to convince yourself that it won’t happen to you.  That you’re low risk.  Different from people like me.

Awareness isn’t enough!

You need to take action to make a difference.

It doesn’t surprise me that prevention of Heart Disease is such a challenge.  For many (me included) it requires big changes to make a difference.  I guess the key is to keep any changes small, to recognise when you’re veering of course and make minor corrections to keep you on track.  So many people are so far off course that small changes just aren’t enough.

For me, my broken heart has been fixed, the course has been corrected and I’m looking to the future.

Catching up

I have some catching up to do – a holiday with the family (although Florida must wait!), recognising the patience of my colleagues, repaying the goodwill of our clients, and sustaining the lifestyle I’ve adopted since leaving hospital so none of us have to go through this again!

Here’s to the next 50 days… and making it count!


*Voluntary is probably a bit strong.  I’m not sure I had a huge amount of choice in any of the changes, but I guess even the perception of choice makes them more palatable.

Back to School

I have never had 4 weeks off work.  I had an extended break when I became independent, but I’ve never returned to the same role after more than 3 weeks of away.

I’ve had 3 week vacations twice; once for our honeymoon and once for a family trip to St Lucia.  Both were fantastic breaks, much needed and thoroughly enjoyable.  Special times.  I know it sounds silly, but 3 weeks is so much more than 2 weeks, as far as holidays are concerned anyway (I would highly recommend it!).

4 weeks is a long time!

Can you remember what you were doing on 14th June?  No, neither can I!

To compound things, I hadn’t exactly planned to be off work.  I hadn’t wound anything down, handed anything over or prepared in any way.  I just didn’t turn up on the Monday.  Yes, there are extenuating circumstances, but life has to move on.

So, it’s back to school for me tomorrow;  my clothes are laid out, shoes polished,  pencils sharpened, lucky stress ball looked out (ironically in the shape of a heart!), bag packed.  Everyone’s a little bit on edge.  Ready to move on.  Uneasy about what the future holds.

I’m sure everything will be fine.  One way or another it’s going to be more than a little bit strange, for me and everyone else around me.  Another journey into the unknown.

Onwards and upwards!  Wish me luck!

Am I in denial?

“The books” say that it is normal to experience psychological issues following a heart event… relief, worry, fear, anger, anxiety, dread, depression.

I feel fine.

Am I in denial?

“Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it.”
– George R R Martin, A Game of Thrones

This is a big question, so I started by looking online for guidance…

I was amazed to discover that it’s possible to perform one of many Popular Denial Quizzes!!!  Somehow it seems reasonable to have “Denial Quizzes”, but this is a serious matter and adding the word “Popular” trivialises it somehow.  Anyway, after some time I discovered:

  1. Yes, I am really over her  (Are you really over him / her?)
  2. I am “Quite Normal”  (How insane are you?)
  3. I’m in “Acceptance”  (What stage of sorrow are you?)
  4. My soul shines “Red”  (What colour light does your soul shine?)

  5. Sorry… No more!  I’m losing the will to live, and not feeling like I’m getting closer to an answer… please feel free to explore the other quizzes and let me know if I missed anything insightful!

The thing is, I don’t feel like I’ve been through anything particularly major.

Yes, I know having a Heart Attack is a big deal.  If someone I know had been through the same experience I would be concerned for them.  I have first-hand experience of this – I think my feelings were a little pity and a little fear.  For them, not for me.

Am I in denial?

“The thing about denial is that it doesn’t feel like denial when it’s going on.”
– Georgina kleege, Sight Unseen

I was ill for a couple of hours – the time between having the Heart Attack and completion of the angioplasty procedure.  I was clearly at risk before this (and definitely in denial at that stage!).

I didn’t need to have an Operation.  There were no stitches.  At no point were any procedures performed on me while I was unconscious.  I was able to play my own (very small) role as and when required to do so.

It might sound strange, but I wasn’t scared.  Uncomfortable, yes.  In distress.  But I didn’t feel like I was particularly in danger.

Am I in denial?

“Denial is an essential part of my existence. Without it, I am nothing.”
– Jason Krumbine, Just Dial 911 for Assistance

Am I now more aware of my mortality?  Probably, but it’s not a new concept for me.

I think about things… a lot.  I think about what the future might hold – bad as well as good.  I don’t obsess about it, just think from time to time.  I guess I’ve always worked on the basis that thinking through lots of potential scenarios will make me better prepared when something does happen – like having a Heart Attack, for example.  For me, it was a shock but not a huge surprise.

For most of us we will never know when we faced our greatest risk.  These moments pass, leaving us safe and blissfully ignorant.

Am I in denial?

“I wasn’t crying about mothers,” he said rather indignantly. “I was crying because I can’t get my shadow to stick on. Besides, I wasn’t crying.”
– J M Barrie, Peter Pan

I have Coronary Heart Disease.  I always will.  As a result I have a higher risk of having heart problems in the future.  However, the medication I take, and a living healthy lifestyle, will help prevent it inconveniencing me, but I know I’ll never be “cured”.

There is nothing I can do about the choices I made in the past.  As far as I’m concerned my health is down to me and the choices I make in the future.

Am I in denial?

“Everything was perfectly healthy and normal here in Denial Land.”
– Jim Butcher, Cold Days

I feel good.  I feel strong.  I am sleeping well.  I am really looking forward to the Rehab sessions so I can set some new goals and start to build a new routine.  I feel ready to return to work.

I have already made changes.  I am ready to make more.

The more people I talk to or hear about the more I realise how lucky I am.  There are lots of people in far worse positions than me.


Personally, I don’t think I am in denial, but I would wouldn’t I!