Sunday, 31 August 2008

A postscript

I’ve mentioned in quite a few posts that my daughter was getting married soon. Well she did it. We had THE most wonderful day yesterday. I made a couple of short speeches and generally the whole day went incredibly well.

Since I’ve been back at work I seem to have gone from strength to strength. I’m back as good as I ever was now. I can lift and carry pretty much the same as always (when they let me – those colleagues of mine are still just as wonderful – just don’t tell ‘em if you know any of them!) Yesterday was one of those landmark days, the days that mark your life out. My daughter got wed! I loved the whole day, but the bit that is probably most relevant to the blog is the reception after the ceremony.

I could dance!

In fact, I could dance my lovely wife to a standstill! I had no pain whatsoever, none. I got breathless of course, but so did some of the kids there who were less than half my age.

I’ve just got a notification, from a girl called Gill that her dad is worried about the op. He’s been treated by Mr Choudri too. All I can say is look at me. Last Christmas I could barely manage a dance with my wife, one dance! I was worried about being able to walk my daughter down the aisle, and Angina was a daily occurrence. Yesterday I walked her down the aisle and gave her away to a wonderful young man. I hit the high spots to many of the old songs of the 70s, including my all time favourite, Love Train, which makes this old chap go crazy and his wife completely change her tune. Instead of asking me to dance she’s usually saying something like “Sit down you old fool, you’re making an exhibition of yourself”. Well, I did – and I could have done a lot more if Marg would have kept up! I’m so pleased with myself that I might even post a couple of pictures …
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Thursday, 1 May 2008

The Last Post...

Well, I've tried my best to take all the readers of this blog with me on my journey, but now, I think I've reached the end. Yesterday was my first day back at work, and I dropped back into it like I'd never been gone. It was really great to be back "amongst it" all again, the shouting, the swearing, the laughs and all the other things that make up a typical day in the motor trade. Today I had to make one final visit to the hospital to see Dr Durham about my faint last week, but he seems fairly confident that it was a pretty well a one off. My blood pressure problem (which I still can't remember the name of) seems to be the likely culprit, and as long as I remember that and don't break into a run again, or do anything quite as stupid, I should be alright. Its funny, running to catch a bus is just human nature somehow - especially when you know you can get to the stop before the bus does. Maybe I should know better. I'm an ex bus driver and used to chuckle as I left "runners" - maybe the great god of bus passengers is laughing at me now!

So, I'm back at work, I don't have another appointment with Dr Durham for another year - and that is only a final check before being discharged - so that's pretty well the end of my story. It's funny, but I'm going to miss writing the odd bit for it, after all it's been a pretty important thing for me for the past nine months. That's a thought isn't it? Nine months is the gestation period for new life, and I've certainly gained that. When I think back to the old days, the gasping for breath, the pain, and not being able to even give Marg a dance without having to stop half way through the music - well it's certainly a new life now.

Now, I'm actually looking forward to the next dinner dance and so on. Next month we're getting away for a long weekend, and I can pretty well guarantee the I'll be doing my best to sweep Marg off her feet again - well, ok, I'll buy her a gin - make it a double - and get her up on the dance floor for a bop. That'll be a landmark for both of us.

To everyone who has written, posted and read this little journal, thank you. Those who have contacted me have made me feel it's been worthwhile. If Graham reads this, I hope you're recovering at high speed buddy - drop me a line, I still owe you a pint.

Suffice it to say that this has been a record of my personal journey. No doubt yours will be different, but I hope it gives those following some idea of what to expect. I’m an ordinary chap, I drive a van for a living, and when all this started I searched all over the web to try to find someone like me who had been through this, and could just talk about it in layman's terms. I couldn't find anything or anyone, and perhaps that’s why this blog has become something of a personal mission to me, something I feel for and care about.In every entry I have tried to explain how I feel at the time. There are typos and spelling mistakes throughout it, but I’m leaving them alone. I also think I could express myself better than I have on occasions, but again, I’m not going to edit any of the posts. The whole idea of the blog is to explore how I felt at the particular moment I posted the entry. To go back now and edit sections would somehow defeat the object. Its not a story, it’s not been edited in any way, everything I have posted came straight from the heart (no pun intended), so perhaps it’s time to say some words of thanks, and maybe do some summing up.

First the Thanks:Gosh this is hard. When I think about it I owe so many people my gratitude, from my doctor(s) and nurses, to the surgeon Mr Choudrhi – what a man he is! My friends and colleagues who have put up with my ups and downs, and helped me along the way. Thanks mates, you’re a pleasure to work with. People who have posted to the blog, some I have never met, and never will, but who have shown interest – thank you. Linda in Birmingham, Chris and Maggie, Jude and Ron, all of you make such a difference to me, and I thank you. My family, I’m lost for words with them. All I can say is how much they all mean to me. My brothers and sisters-in-law, Ian and Lynda, Pete and Jan, the greater family, nieces, nephews have all played a part in helping me through this. My own immediate family, Cheryl and David, along with Phil, my soon to be son-in-law have given me so much to care about, and finally my own dear Marg – well maybe that’s best said privately, but 37 years ago I made such a good decision!

So to sum up:Is it worth it? Is it worth the worry, the stress, the fear and a little pain? Oh man, is it! If it were all to end tomorrow, it would still have been worth it. The feeling of getting over that little mound on my first walk, the mound that had become my personal Everest, made it worthwhile, being able to enjoy cold late winter air, being able to walk at a reasonable pace, not to have to stop to breathe – there are so many, many ways in which it is so worth it. I’m now looking forward to Spring and Summer walks, regaining at least some of the strength I had years ago. I’ve been so fed up at feeling like a little old man, now I’m going to go for everything.So that’s pretty well it. I truly hope this helps someone who is going through the same experiences, if it does then I’ll be happy to hear from anyone.

As a final thought, Dr Durham gave me some advice today which I'm taking to heart (how often that organ comes into everyday speech) he just said to me "Go out and live your life."

I'm going to do just that!

Monday, 28 April 2008

Its Monday, so it must be gym day...

...except today, it wasn't. Each time we visit the gym we're asked if we have had any new symptoms since our last visit. Of course I had to explain about the faint and so on. Every bodies (except mine) faces got longer as I explained about running for the bus and being pretty daft really. First there was a long delay in letting me start the warm up until the nurse in charge got my notes, then the notes were not available so she decided not to take any chances and checked my Blood Pressure.

I'm pretty sure she knew what to expect and what is happening seems to be this; Just at the moment I seem to have a fairly low BP if I stand up suddenly. The nurse (Jessica) tested it by having me sit, feet elevated on a sort of divan thing for about 15 / 20 minutes. She then took my BP, left the cuff in place and asked me to stand up quickly. I did, and my BP seemed like it dropped quite impressively. Maybe this is the reason for Fridays episode, I don't know. Certainly it could account for my feeling faint after working in the garden with Marg on Saturday.

Anyway, todays gym was a bit of a washout. I didn't do my cicuits, and eventually left early as I was a bit cheesed off and felt like I was the centre of everyones attention.

So, it's back to work on Thursday. I had a word with our boss man tonight and he thinks his boss may want me to work inside for a little while. I'm not to sure about that, I've always just driven the van, but I only work there, so I'll do what they ask within reason. Actually my employers have been brilliant throughout this protracted sick leave. They've paid me right through, which I didn't expect them to, but I can't tell you how grateful I am that they have. Its made a tremendous difference to me, not having to worry about money - after all 3 months without pay is a long time. So thank you Motor Parts, I won't forget how I've been treated.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Of buses, blue lights and hard pavements...

...Oh and lovely nurses!

I went to the docs today to get my return to work cert. Because of another sleepless night Marg left before me, so I went on the bus. I walked round to Tescos to get some new batteries for the smoke alarm we have then got on the bus. I walked down Lord Mayors Walk to the docs and got my cert, then walked back to catch the bus home again. This is where it all went a bit pear shaped.

As I rounded the corner, i saw my bus stuck in traffic about 30 yards short of the stop. I was only the same distance away so I made a run for it (I know, I know - sorry) That's about the last thing I remember. I had a terrific dizzy spell and thought "That was a pretty stupid", which was my last conscious thought. I woke up lying flat on my back on a very hard pavement with two girls holding my hands and telling me not to move. One got my wallet which had fallen from my pocket, the other my phone. An ambulance was already on its way as one of them had called it.

One of the girls asked me if I wanted anyone to be informed, and of course I asked for Marg (as an aside her number is under "ICE"- In Case Of Emergency on my phone and proved it's worth today, because I could no more remember her number than fly, but I remembered it was under ICE - please make sure you and all your family do this, it saved so much time today) So the ambulance turned up all flashing lights and sirens - very dramatic - and the guy checked me over. I'd cut the back of my head in the fall, but otherwise I'm ok, but that didn't stop them carting me off to hospital blue lighs flashing and horns blowing, through red lights and the rest - oh no!

There I was treated for the cut, my heart was checked (it's fine - or as fine as it's ever going to be), and they sealed the cut with superglue. Actually the only stuff I have found that superglue does work on is my flesh, so I have every confidence in it holding.

So that's it really. If ever I'm stupid enough to run for a bus again, I can expect a kick in the teeth from Marg and the kids! And guess what? I missed the bloody bus after all that!

People really ARE wonderful though, the two girls I've never met or will meet again the ambulance guy - everyone at the hospital all did their bit to help me through what was a pretty frightening experience. It does restore ones faith in human nature.