Global Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week…Patient Day…

17th September 2020… An array of medical experts filled the screen today on Facebook and via Zoom to inform, answer and assist with the blight of Aortic Valve Disease… May I thank everyone that made the day go so well and I hope that those that are awaiting surgery are now a little more relaxed about any impending visits to theatre. I have been there and been given the gift of life and there are many that have shared this gift with more waiting to have their turn…

Inform and Educate…

16th September 2020… Heart Valve Voice Awareness week started on Monday, it kicked off for me with a radio interview with radio station The Wave. Yesterday I was interviewed by ITV Wales in Parc Howard, Llanelli about my journey from diagnosis to surgery to recovery from valve disease. It has been a journey, the destination has not been reached yet but I am getting close. Remember, throughout life there will be many gifts received but when you experience worrying symptoms… Get your symptoms checked out by the doctor…I did eventually and was given the “Gift of Life” the only gift that matters…

Pram Practice…

12th September 2020… Well, the second wave of this dreaded pandemic is approaching fast, the reported numbers are higher again today so no exit yet to this dreaded maze of uncertainty. But life goes on and after the success of my surgery that gave me the gift of life last year, I now have a little granddaughter called Olivia Ada. In my opinion not the best year to make an entrance to this sometimes cruel world but she arrived a month ago and is a delight… So today Grampa got the chance to take his bundle of joy to the town centre for a walk. Been a long time since I had the controls of a pram, but in all of a grandfather’s skills pushing a pram is one that is never forgotten, handled it like the veteran I am. Looking forward to next week and the Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week, I hope that the information that will be made available will end up presenting many with the need to get checked out and if necessary receive the necessary treatment to also be given the gift of life.

Olivia Ada…Bonny baby…

Time goes on…

11th September 2020… Over a year now since I was discharged from hospital after open heart surgery to repair a valve in my heart, and I have been told that if the valve had not been replaced I might not have been here today writing this post. I have recovered to a certain extent, my heart is allowing me to walk further that I ever could without the breathlessness and discomfort I experienced prior to the tests and admission to hospital in readiness for the visit to the theatre where the remedial surgery was performed.

I still suffer from some discomfort in the chest and right side area when bending, stretching and trying to get comfortable at night, I am assured that this will subside in time, but there is no definitive timescale. Given that I am 68 next birthday then I must decide if it is wise to return to the work I do, retire or try a new challenge. The journey so far has been fine, apart from the lockdown period since the end of March, sadly the CV19 restrictions have not ended and new restrictions are being put into place, there is no normality on the horizon and perhaps it will never arrive in 2020.

This coming week is Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week, trying to get people to check their symptoms…the more we listen the more lives we save…

Anniversary Day…

23 April 2020… 23rd April 2019 is a date I will never forget…Today is the anniversary of my diagnosis with heart disease… The visit to the doctor on this day last year discovered a heart murmur, a murmur that changed my life and really my view of life… The confirmation of a dodgy heart started with a blood test and an ECG, 8 weeks later a Cardiograph that resulted in immediate admission to Prince Philip Hospital.

The outcome of these tests showed a critical heart valve and the only remedy was surgery… I spent the next 5 weeks in Ward 4 of PPH looked after by the brilliant team of medical and hotel services staff. I was then shipped off to Morriston Hospital where another brilliant team of medical and hotel services staff prepared me for the near 8 hour operation on 31 July…

I woke in ICU and was transferred to the HDU afterwards and a week later I was sent home with a heart that was working a lot better. A year later I am close to recovery, still some pain and discomfort but if I had not gone to the doctor when I did, the outcome might have involved daisies…At this time of uncertainty due to this dreaded virus, I can testify that the NHS is second to none in providing care and support for everyone, all the members of staff that work day in day out looking after the sick deserves the appreciation of the nation again at 8pm…

Let’s get out there and show it for them, but also do not forget the care and support staff looking after the vulnerable at this difficult time and all the key workers that are doing their best to support all of us under this massive cloud of illness and sadly death that surrounds us all…

From every wound there is a scar, and every scar tells a story. A story that says, I survived…

Heart

A Change Has Come…

15 April 2020… Today it appears that this government has realised that social care for the elderly and all the other vulnerable classes does exist and has started to make provision for the thousands of dedicated care and support workers that put in many hours ensuring the quality of life for these individuals matters. Up until now the main group during this period has been the NHS and the work they do within the hospital wards and ICU where the many that have succumbed to this deadly virus have in a lot of cases sadly lost their lives without family to say goodbye, we salute them but there are other services that are also finding it difficult to cope. The number of organisations that provide round the clock care for the elderly, many suffering from dementia, the vulnerable adults, youngsters and children that have special needs and learning disabilities is really immense, some for profit and a large number of organisations are not for profit, but the staff employed are dedicated, empathetic and do their support role extremely well. These care and support workers are the mainstay of these organisations, ensuring that all aspects of community life and services are part of the path to independence and education for those being supported. The role of the care and support worker has never been a job for those looking for recognition, it is a job that can be at times extremely hard and frustrating, but perseverance, patience and the will to improve the quality of life of the service user are some of the qualities that provide the cornerstone of success. It may take some time, but that is a commodity that is in abundance. Without our care and support staff the world of the vulnerable in our society would be a really dark place, no care and support worker wants a medal, they do the role because they have the main qualities of aspiration, capability and dedication to improve the lives of individuals that require the hands on support to enrich their lives. The care and support staff do not want any applause but an acknowledgement of their role during this difficult time is reward enough.

Still the Darkness Persists…

14 April 2020… Three weeks into this lockdown and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel yet…A birthday has passed, never in my 67 years have I spent so many hours in complete and utter boredom… The highlight of the day was reading all the birthday messages from Family, Facebook friends, Councillors, former UNISON colleagues, friends from my employer and people I have known for years… The days are long, drawn out and boring. Today I had a call from the Leisure Centre with an update regarding the exercise class that I was attending before this pandemic took over all our diaries and changed people’s lives forever. I have been sent a couple of web links for home exercise from the British Heart Foundation, hopefully they might be of some use and benefit everyone’s health during these dark times.

https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/support/cardiac-rehabilitation-at-home/cardiac-rehabilitation-exercise-videos

https://www.blf.org.uk/exercise-video

Beach of Dreams…

26 March 2020… Another day in stay at home mode… Had a walk with Alfie, it was nice to get out in the sunshine… Talking of sun and holidays it may quite a while before the virus is eradicated from our lives and as our thoughts turn to resuming normality, so to endeavour the lifting of spirits I have put together some photographs of past holidays in Aruba, Cape Verde and Mexico. We all need to ensure now that our lives will not be blighted forever by the current circumstances by following the rules so that we can walk on the golden sands of our favourite holiday destinations once more…

Give me Sunshine…

Ignorance is Bliss…?

23 March 2020… Start of another week… Many people during this period dying from the virus and people putting up two fingers at the advice being shared not only by the government but by concerned publishers of the print and television media and also by individuals via Social Media… The message is quite clear but being widely ignored… This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better and the sooner the masses realise that everyone within the UK is at risk the less likelihood there is of extensive casualties…The medical staff working in the NHS are brilliant but can only do so much, the rest is up to us… Please adhere to the messages and for those that care… Let’s be careful out there…

Stay at Home…Message of the Week…

You Know it Makes Sense…

22 March 2020… Today will go down in history as the Mother’s Day that did not happen… Sons, daughters and grandchildren will not be able to visit mums on this special day… I do not think for a minute that everyone will adhere to the advice, that is evident by those that are travelling to remote areas and the many that are going about as if everything is fine and dandy… To you people… it is not safe and you are putting at risk the lives of thousands… With my wife being one of the key workers and on shift until Monday at 3:30pm today will be spent with my loyal wee man Alfie, Charlie the cat will be here and there, music through Alexa will be on to see the day through… By what I have seen on television and social media many are ignoring the advice of staying at home or ensuring that social distancing is being practiced…We are all in this together, please think of others and make decisions that allows protection to the many… Avoid the crowds…

Less crowds means less deaths…