On bank holiday Monday in August (31st) we as a family were wanting a nice family day out, the last bank holiday until Christmas. We decided to go visit Lincoln Castle. I love castles, we have been to quite a few.
We began the day with a Costa breakfast, and I had woken up not feeling myself, but thought my morning coffee would wake me up and make me feel better.
We set off down the M1 and I still wasn’t feeling right, as we passed Meadowhall I felt this almighty pain in my chest and thought I must have pulled myself, I didn’t tell Sarah as I thought it would go off! We continued down the A1???? And I was being Sat Nav telling Sarah which way to go.
Sarah noticed I had lost all my colour in my face and asked if I was OK? At this point the pain in my chest was really painful and I started to worry. Sarah pulled over and I got out to stretch to see if it was just a pulled muscle, the pain was still there and getting worse.
I got back into the car and Sarah told me to dial 111 for advice which I did as she turned the car around and headed for the Northern General Hospital. As I was on the phone the call handler told me they were sending an ambulance, and could we meet them halfway? Sarah saw a petrol station on our route and said we would head there to meet the ambulance.
The ambulance arrived and the paramedics placed me on an ECG, something wasn’t right with the reading, but it needed further investigation at hospital. They were taking me to Rotherham hospital. I couldn’t stand up and walk to the ambulance parked right behind the car, this pain was just too strong, so I was helped onto the stretcher and was put into the ambulance, the paramedic gave me asprin and we set off to the hospital. Plus in the ambulance they gave me a spay under my tongue
Due to COVID Sarah and Molly weren’t able to come with me, so they headed home, the awful thoughts that went through their heads were horrible, they didn’t know what was going to happen and if they would they see me again!
At hospital I was hooked up to the heart monitor, they took bloods and kept me under close observation, my heart electrics were all over the place and they couldn’t understand why.
I was moved up onto a ward for further tests and monitoring, but I had nothing with me other than my phone. Sarah arrived later on in the afternoon with my things which she handed to a nurse at the desk who said “Just a minute I’ll get him for you” Sarah was shocked as she didn’t think she would see me and I felt exactly the same, the nurse said we could go into a side room for 5 minutes. I held Sarah so tight, I really needed her. I explained what had happened with the tests and everything then she had to go! And I headed back to the bed for further monitoring.
A cardiologist came and explained that I had experienced a mild heart attack, caused by Cardiac Arrhythmia. My ECG showed a first-degree heart block which must have righted itself allowing the blood to continue to flow and they have also noticed I have an irregular heart beat which would need further investigation, but for now I was out of the danger zone! And they would allow me to go home with a course of Asprin to take over the next few days.
Now, as many of you will be aware, running is what I love to do. It’s my daily escape, my release and my passion. I have faced many obstacles in my running with injuries and now this! But I asked the Cardiologist if I could continue to run and he said “Running is what’s saved your life! Your heart is very strong which is the reason why your heart attack was mild, you’re a very lucky man” so I got the green light to continue running, after a period of recovery.
Obviously, I am not going to be running a marathon anytime soon, but I took a few weeks off then eased myself back into it. Don’t get me wrong it was scary as hell! I kept my heart rate low and did very short runs to see how I felt. I actually felt okay when running. I got the odd pain which is to be expected but nothing like what I experienced before, so this made me happy and I took it one day at a time.
Over the next few weeks, the dull ache in my chest has remained and on quite a few occasions I have experienced a rather sharp pain in my chest, all of which I put down to recovery, depending on the individual will obviously depend on how quickly you heal and I can’t see if the arteries have rested enough after the trauma they went through.
On the 12th October I was asked to attend the Hallamshire Hospital to be fitted with a 72-hour heart monitor. I was told to continue with my daily routine, and I was still advised to run so they had a full picture of my heart’s activity on a daily basis. I returned the monitor on the 15th October.
On the early hours of Monday morning (19th) I woke myself up in such a panic as I felt like my heart had stopped and I was gasping for breath! I told Sarah when I got up and she said she was going to phone the Cardiologist for advice as I have still been experiencing chest pain and the sharp pains when at rest as she was worried and didn’t want to leave it any longer.
I received a follow up phone call from the cardiologist a few minutes later and I explained to him how I was feeling and the pain I had been experiencing. He confirmed he had received the ECG results from the 72-hour monitor which has shown my heart electrics are not working as they should as it looks like I have an extra heartbeat. He said he would arrange some further tests and would phone me back shortly. True to his word he rang me back and said I definitely needed further tests but would need to be admitted into hospital for these tests to be carried out. With the current situation (Covid) I was obviously reluctant to be admitted into hospital and hoped they would phone back and say I could go in as an outpatient.
Fast forward to 6:30pm and I get a missed call on my phone and Sarah’s phone starts to ring (Unknown number) she answers it and it’s the hospital questioning where I am! Sarah said he’s sat here next to me and the nurse told her my bed was waiting for me on the Cardiology ward at the Norther General! We were obviously both confused as the phone call I had received earlier he never said I will arrange for you to come in today! I asked if it could be done as an outpatient and the nurse said she would ask the Cardiologist and get back to me.
8:30pm and I receive a phone call from a different Cardiologist who basically said I needed to be admitted into hospital for the tests to be carried out and then she said “This is a life or death situation”! To put it bluntly I shit myself as did Sarah & Molly, she made it very clear how serious the situation had become! I gathered my things and Sarah drove me to the hospital dropping me off right at the door again unable to come with me, so she and Molly headed home, once again thinking the worst!
I was quickly on the ward, in a bed and hooked up to the heart monitor. It was beeping and the nurse kept coming back saying your hearts all over the place! Yeah love I know; how would your heart be if someone just phone you and said its life of death! I was booked in for a CT scan the following day so for now all I could do was sit there with all sorts going through my head! They took three lots of blood which was sent off for testing and I played the waiting game.
After I think I saw every cardiologist the hospital has, all giving me their take on what they thinks wrong with my heart, one senior cardiologist overruled the others and said I didn’t need the CT scan as that was to check for angina and I didn’t have that! He said I needed an MRI which would show them in great detail what’s going on with my heart but once again, due to the situation it’s a 6-8 week wait! Then I was told I could either stay in hospital for that length of time or go home and return as an outpatient. You know which option I chose. I am a firm believer in if I don’t need to be there I won’t. Hate hospitals at best of time.
He did want me to trial beta blockers, but we unfortunately witnessed what they did to Molly and I also didn’t want the tablets to mask the pain I am experiencing.
I received a further phone call last night (21st) the Cardiologist said he had received my blood test results and there is a slight deficiency and has advised me to start taking Folic Acid to boost the levels. They are also testing for Pericarditis which is inflammation of the heart lining. Right now, they think one of my valves is opening too fast and emptying my heart of blood and another isn’t opening fast enough to allow blood to come back in and this is causing the ectopic heart beats and palpitations. When I run my valves work normally as they are having to work more efficiently it’s when I am at rest when my heart starts to throw a wobbler.
So, I am currently at home awaiting the call or letter to have the MRI scan and we will take it from there. Good news on my Cancer front is that my PSA levels remain same and my tumour is dormant so to speak. I have a Biopsy planned before Xmas just to double check but for now it’s just there not doing anything or causing me any issues besides the need to pee 1000 times a night!
Massive thank you to everyone for your continued support, it really means a lot and I will keep you updated.