Category Archives: Coronary stent

ON LOSING SOME OF MY MARBLES

A great book + some spilt marbles

I agree with Edith Piaf when I hear a recording of her singing ‘Je ne regrette rien’, but it sounds so much more elegant than ‘I regret nothing’!

I’m used to feeling a bit sorry for myself – coming from a poor family, being brought up in London’s East End in a cold-water tenement infested with bed bugs and mice, probably a bit malnourished, dragged away from my family to be evacuated far from home, childhood illnesses, a string of adult accidents and illnesses etc etc.

But I am now re-reading David Eagleman’s fascinating book ‘The Brain.’ According to him, all these experiences helped my brain to develop, forged new neural connections and put off the time I might finally lose my marbles.

I seemed to be doing fine after my heart attack. I’d had a couple of stents inserted to reopen my blocked coronary arteries, but then I deteriorated and needed to have an intra-aortic heart pump and be put on a ventilator. When I came all off those and the heavy sedation, not only did I have a series of weird hallucinations and delusions, but often I couldn’t think of the word for something (nominal aphasia). That’s gradually improved, though I think ‘It’s on the tip of my tongue’ more often than before my coronary occlusion. It makes me feel better when someone much younger than me says they can’t think of the exact word they’re after.

At 88, I no longer have the photographic memory that helped me through my exams, but I am attending classes in Music and Art History, I have piano lessons and I am about to join a beginners’ class in Classical Greek (PG).

I love being the oldest person in the class even though I may now be a penny short of a pound!!

I thank all those lovely people who read and commented on stories like this in my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’.

Woman in a White Coat paperback

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Learning Classical Greek aged 87. Excerpt from Chapter 28 of ‘Woman in a White Coat’

Our grammar textbook

I had wanted to learn Classical Greek and read the Greek masters in the original for some time and finally enrolled for a beginners’ class at CityLit starting in September 2016.

But it was not to be. On August 9th 2016 Death Came Knocking at My Door and i had  a major heart attack.

When i recovered after having had two coronary stents and an intra-aortic balloon pump inserted and been on a ventilator, there was no way i could attend classes that semester and had to cancel.

I started a week’s intensive course in Classical Greek in the summer of 2017 but the beginners’ class the following September was in the evening – and i hate evening classes.

Finally I started the daytime Classical Greek Level 1 at CityLit this September. Unfortunately I’ve catching up to do – one session missed while we were visiting our daughter Louise in the Basque Country and another with a heavy cold caught out there, but I’ve bought some extra textbooks and hope to make up the missed classes.

Read here about what it’s like to have a life-threatening heart attack from my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’.

Buy Woman in a White Coat on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

Extract from Chapter 28 ‘Death Knocks at My Door’

Death came knocking at my door in August, came right in, cold bony fingers at my throat and foul charnel-breath in my face. I had a major heart attack – blocked my coronary arteries and killed off areas of the left ventricle of my heart, the part that pumps freshly oxygenated blood around the body. Continue reading Learning Classical Greek aged 87. Excerpt from Chapter 28 of ‘Woman in a White Coat’

Heart Attacks and Hallucinations

Ventilation panels in ceiling
Ventilation panels in ceiling

My heart wasn’t doing too well after having a heart attack and two stents fitted so the cardiologist fitted an aortic balloon pump which was driven by a separate external pump.

I was doped to the eyeballs and I don’t remember telling Josh that the pump sounded like a washing machine but I was certainly convinced that the circular vent was the porthole of a washing-machine.

That was only one of the many queer delusions I experienced while heavily sedated, being ventilated and fighting for my life.

 

Don’t knock the NHS! Cardiac Rehab Rules OK!!

The Queen Mother Leisure Centre, Victoria
The Queen Mother Sports Centre, Victoria

The NHS doctors not only saved my life when two of my coronary arteries blocked up but when my damaged heart couldn’t cope kept me alive with artificial ventilation and a pump inside my aorta (the main artery supplying blood to the brain and rest of the body.)

Now, out of hospital, I have an excellent Cardiac Rehab team monitoring my progress at my weekly exercise class at the Queen Mother Sports Centre, Victoria.

The team consists of an experienced cardiac nurse(s), a dietician and a physiotherapist/ fitness trainer who carry out an initial assessment and then attend each of the eight cardiac exercise classes patients ae allotted.

Not only are the exercises of value as well as the talk on diet, exercise or mental attitudes that follows, but we have the advantage of meeting other people in the same boat.  It’s good to find that others experience similar problems and it’s developed into an enjoyable social occasion.

Well done Westminster Cardiac Rehab team!!

Sunshine and Showers and a Double Rainbow

Didn't realise thee was a double rainbow until I saw my photo
Didn’t realise thee was a double rainbow until I saw my photo. Just visible in the top right hand corner if you click on the image.

That’s what it’s like after you’ve had a heart attack, had stents inserted in two of your coronary arteries, needed an intra-aortic balloon pump and artificial ventilation – some sunshine, some showers and the occasional double rainbow. Good days and bad days and then the sun comes out and there’s a double rainbow.

Out of hospital a month now and trying hard to get back to a semblance of normality. Had to cancel my classes but still enjoy cooking even if I have to sit down during the preparation. Had a couple of trips to the supermarket with Josh but still get tired easily.