I never felt after my various other medical catastrophes including breast cancer and a broken hip that I wanted to join a support group. As far as I was concerned, I knew how I needed to come to terms with my extra disability and I just got on with it.
However, St Thomas’s Hospital Critical Care consultants arranged first a follow up clinic for patients who had been in Intensive Care and then scheduled Evening Support (Discussion) groups for survivors and close relations.
I was surprised and delighted with how helpful and reassuring it was to talk to people who had been in a similar situation and with whom I could swap war stories.
I had a particular lurid crop of hallucinations after my heart attack last August – up to 80% of patients in critical care experience some delusions that seem very real to us. Mine will be going into the Final Chapter of my nearly finished memoir.
I loved hearing about those that other patients had. One man was convinced burglars came in the night and stole all the hospital’s bandages. The nurses’ denials didn’t convince him one bit. One of my delusions was that Damien Hurst and Jeff Koons had presented the High Dependence Unit with priceless artefacts. My response was that they made the ward look untidy!!
The Library Manager of Pimlico Library has kindly offered us a meeting room for our proposed Westminster Cardiac Support Group for one evening a month , There is a pleasant -looking coffee bar upstairs for anyone who comes early and we would provide water and soft drinks during the meeting. It also has a toy library!!
Buses #C10, 24 and 360 stop outside, for the good walkers both Victoria and Pimlico Undergrounds are in walking distance and there is a lift down to the library level.
It’s a very generous offer and I hope plenty local post-cardiac catastrophe patients and their near-ones will come.
This is a large library with a huge range of facilities serving the general public and Pimlico Academy.
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.
My problem is that I’d like to take more exercise but my bad hip starts to ache quite quickly and I avoid walking whenever I can.
The beauty of this Walkit App is that I can choose a starting pont – near home or near where the bus stops – and look up the slowest 15 minute walk. I can only actually manage half of that before the pain is too bad, so I plan on walking only that much, but It does give me something to aim for.
Living as we do in Central London, walks per se can be fairly boring. This way, by having a goal I find interest in watching the steps pile up on my pedometer.
Of course I shouldn’t have worn those thick-soled shoes in the first place.
Memoir extract It was vanity, sheer vanity. I’d missed out on Doc Marten’s when they were all the rage and when I saw the thick-soled boots in the Ecco shop I couldn’t resist them. I should have given them to Oxfam after I tripped hurrying to get to the Post Office before it closed. That time I’d only skinned the palms of my hands and tore a hole in my jeans. When I tripped crossing the road in San Sebastian, I broke my hip. Continue reading WONDERFUL WALKIT APP→
Now that one of my grand-daughters is taking a degree in physiotherapy in 3 years I will have a personal physiotherapist but meanwhile my favourite physio works at the WPPC in Lower Grosvenor Place, Victoria.
After I broke my hip in San Sebastian and had an immediate full hip replacement, all was fine for 2 years and then something went wrong. Loads of treatment later including having it re-opened, injections in to the joint space and into the enthesis, acupuncture, massage, the lot – nothing helped and it still aches when I walk any distance and often when I get up or I am cooking. Luckily it does mean that I qualify for a Blue Disabled badge. A session with my physiotherapist helps and occasionally, though not very often, I am pain free. She’s given me a programme of exercises and this time I am determined to do some every day. Might even lose some weight too.
I was surprised to discover that my grand-daughter was following the same anatomy course as the medical students and carrying out dissection. It makes sense, since physiotherapists are very much concerned with the interplay between the muscles, nerves, blood vessels and bones and there’s nothing like dissecting them to understand their relationship.
Memoir extract from ‘Woman in a White Coat’ I was just 18 when I first dissected a human body. We’d had our first lecture on the anatomy of the thorax and now we were to start on its dissection. Continue reading Physiotherapy and my sore hip→
I only shower twice a week because my short hair lasts about three days before it needs a shampoo and I hate washing my hair in the bath.
I take a bath on the other days because my hip is still painful, all these years after a complete hip replacement when I broke the neck of my femur, and my back is often sore. A soak at 43.6°C with just enough water to cover my legs and hips works wonders – even better than a heat pack.
I take a short shower which according to Waterwise probably uses only 32 litres while my bath probably takes about 60 litres, since I don’t have it very full.
A creature of habit – I always use Elizabeth Arden Green Tea shower gel in the bath and one of the little Body Shop shower gels in the shower – I buy them as a selection of six different flavours.
It happens every time as I try to leave the country. As I go through security I set off the alarm. It’s that enormous piece of metal in my right femur that does it. Then I have to be patted down by a grim-faced female security guard. I suppose they’re not allowed to smile at a suspected terrorist, though they are helpful and all smiles once I’ve been frisked. I’ve thought of taking a doctor’s letter or my X-ray but I suppose they’d be discounted, since I couldn’t prove they related to me.
My daughter Louise was expecting her second baby any day, so I had flown to Spain to help look after her family. Instead I spent 10 days in Hopital San Dios on the hillside above San Sebastian. I had to get special permission from the surgeon to slip out and see my new grandson.
It was vanity, sheer vanity. I’d missed out on Doc Marten’s when they were all the rage and when I saw the thick-soled boots in the Ecco shop I couldn’t resist them. I should have given them to Oxfam after I tripped hurrying to get to the Post Office before it closed. That time I’d only skinned the palms of my hands and torn a hole in my jeans. When I tripped crossing the road in San Sebastian, I broke my hip. I had a total replacement under an epidural anaesthetic.
There was no nonsense about being woken at six in the morning as I would have been in an English hospital. Food seemed to arrive every couple of hours. It started with coffee and croissants at 8am; then mid-morning coffee and biscuits, a delicious three course lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, an equally delicious three course dinner and, of course, a snack before bedtime. The nurses worried that I didn’t eat enough but I just couldn’t eat it all. I worried I’d never be able to lose the weight I must have put on.
I was worried that the bone had fractured though a site of secondary spread from my breast cancer of 10 years before but it was osteoporosis and Anno Domini.