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Heart conditions

One person in my close family died because he thought he was having a panic attack. He felt really stressed and his neck was tense. He did have health problems putting a strain on his system but neither he nor his wife registered this as a heart attack because a heart condition didn’t appear to be one of his problems. All I can say is if you know someone with health issues who then gets into a panic, think heart and get help. He probably would not have survived even with more immediate help because the other typical man thing he had done was not get on top of his health issues …but there were a few of them and he was getting worn out by dealing with sleep apnoea and then a deteriorating hip which stopped him walking properly. It’s important our health system can find a way to help people with several health issues. We are actually immensely practical in our capacity to help people. Our health system is very positive when it is functioning well. People here can get a real sense of achievement because we have very capable health professionals who are profoundly positive and practical in their approach. The second close family member nearly died because he thought his asthma was just getting worse and worse. That was two heart valves collapsing! He managed to get to hospital while his heart was failing seriously and the staff cottoned on quickly and stabilised him…and eventually he got two mechanical valves and a bypass. We are extra ordinarily clever as human beings, but it has been gruelling. We didn’t think he would pull through because he was left in emergency for hours and hours and then it took a long time for all the tests…days. The operation was successful and then we found out there is not much help when knowing how to manage a person with two heart valves replaced and a bypass. We have had no experience of this as a family. I can now tell you it moves slowly but surely. The leg where they take the vein is a problem but it slows them down. For two weeks they are weak. For a further two weeks they can manage small things and for the next two weeks they can do things like go out in the car and go to the shops and walk on flat surfaces. All slowly, all taking their time but it is great to watch the mobility and then the skin condition improve. We need more help in knowing what normal recovery from major heart surgery is like and what to watch for. I am just astounded by our skilled medical profession…but I am equally astounded by the resilience and spirit of someone whose life really was on the line and had to face massive surgery and recovery. That is one strong human being…but we have been there to help and support and that has been critical…keeping the spirit going.

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Author:

Retired Adelaide based professional. Lived here most of my life. I have been a teacher of French, English and German since 1974 and value the capacity of the classroom, wherever that might be, to write on the lives of others.

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