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.
Another interesting street sculpture in Westminster. This sculpture of icy white needles – seen here reflected in the rain – was created by the British Artist Lee Simmons. Close to Westminster City Hall it is dedicated to the 82 council officers who fought and died in the First Word War.
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.
I came across Yinka Shonibare’s exciting Wind Sculpture while wandering around Westminster but could find no name plate or reference to it on the surrounding buildings in Howick Place. Looking up something quite different in Victoria I came across this reference to Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture.
Yinka Shonibare says he first thought of the idea while making his Ship in a Bottle which stood on the Fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square and now has a permanent home outside the Maritime Museum Greenwich. HIs Wind Sculpture, commissioned by the architects Doughty Hanson & Co, was unveiled two years ago in April 2014.
Shonibare MBE, a British-Nigerian artist, was born in London but moved to Lagos in Nigeria with when he was three, returning to London to study art. His piece has resonance in Howick Place which was named after Viscount Howick one of the architects of major British reforms such as The Reform Act 1832, Catholic Relief Act 1829 and Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire. 1833.