Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Taken For Granted

I imagine that most of us take things for granted.  I know that I do.  And sometimes circumstances give us cause to think about that. 

Until recently husband and I have said that we know just how lucky we are to be in such good health, given that we are 72 and 69 respectively.  Many of our friends are not so fortunate and are having to undergo treatments and operations and to take all sorts of medication to get by.  We have had to do none of this.  Only the odd headache pill or indigestion tablet and our annual 'flu jab.  Until recently.  Bob was lucky that his heart attack actually occurred whilst he was in the care of the medics in the ambulance.  So now he is on prescribed medication to keep him fit and well and will have to undergo an MRI scan in a few weeks to determine what further treatment may be necessary. 

Yes, we did sort of take our good health very much for granted.  Last autumn some friends suggested that we go on holiday with them in March and we all agreed on 2 weeks in Lanzarote, the holiday was booked and the balance paid just before Christmas.  As we are hoping to go to New Zealand to see step daughter and family for Christmas 2014 we decided to wait until nearer our March holiday to take out travel insurance.  Why not, we are fit and healthy, or so we thought.  Then husband, completely out of the blue, had a heart attack.  His heart specialist has said he feels that we should not go because it is in such close proximity to the MRI scan.  So we have had to cancel our holiday and, naturally, although we have had some money back from the travel agent we did not have travel insurance and have lost about half our money!  A timely lesson. 

A few days ago, as we were sat having lunch, stepson turned up with a large bouquet of flowers for me.

What's this?  It is not my birthday and Mother's Day is a few weeks away yet (March 30 in UK).  They were to say thank you for looking after his Dad so well since his heart attack.  Obviously I thanked him very much and said how much I appreciated the thought.  "Well" he said, "everyone is fussing around Dad and no-one has asked you how you are".  

Not completely accurate but at least he hadn't taken me for granted!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Happy New Year

2013 proved to be a really good year for me and husband Bob.  It all began with his being awarded and MBE in HM Queen's New Year Honours (although we knew about it in late November 2012).  Early January saw us jetting off to the other side of the world to visit daughter and family in New Zealand as well as visiting some other Antipodean countries and returning via Fiji and the USA.  We were away for just over 6 weeks.  Then after a few weeks we had another holiday (this time with friends) in Goa thus spending the best part of winter in lovely warm sunshine whilst the UK was freezing in the ice and snow. 

All through the year we had some lovely weekends away, two more holidays (in Spain) and of course the highlight, in June, was Bob being presented with his MBE by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace - a very special day and many happy memories.

This year hasn't started so well.  We had a lovely Christmas with family and saw the New Year in with friends.  However on Wednesday 8 January, at around 6.30 am Bob woke saying that he felt unwell and that we needed to call someone.  After a brief conversation when he explained that he had been having burning pains in his chest whenever he walked upstairs and they were now much worse (after 7 hours sleep) and seemed also to be in his mouth and gums, I dialled 999.   The ambulance was with us with a few minutes and although Bob said the pain was now lessening they decided to take him to hospital in Weston Super Mare to be given the "once over".   Did I want to go with them?

I decided against it as I would need to get back home and would need transport for Bob anyway.  They told me to give it about an hour then ring the hospital to clarify the situation.  I went back inside and made another coffee!!  A few minutes later the phone rang and it was the medic to say that Bob was actually having a heart attack and they were now taking him to Taunton (in the oposite direction) and I should make my way there.  That was about 8 am.  I rushed around getting essentials to take to Bob, not really thinking straight, and drove to Musgrove hospital in Taunton (about 35 minute drive).  On arrival at the coronary care ward at 9.10 am I found husband sitting up in bed, quite chirpy and feeing much better.  The doctors and staff had been waiting for him in the car park, took him straight to the operating theatre and inserted a stent into his main artery, job done! Incredible.  I still haven't really taken it in.  He was back at home 3 days later. 

We cannot praise too highly the NHS doctors and staff and the ambulance crew (and the paramedic they also called to administer care on the way to the hospital) for the care and attention he was given.  His other 2 arteries aren't looking too good and he will have an MRI scan in a few weeks to determine whether or not to stent them also.  He is doing really well now and getting stronger each day.  No more pain!  He had had a bad cold over Christmas and he thought the burning pains were a chest infection and had resolved to see the doctor later in the week.  He hadn't mentioned anything about it to me!  Of course we now know it was angina pain.

We are in the second week of February and now all is well!