A Busy Day…

26 February 2020… Most days at the moment are full of boredom, if the weather is ok, take Alfie the dog out, spend an hour allowing him to sniff every lamppost, every tree and even every blade of grass then back home to the humdrum life of little or no physical activity. Today though was a day that was rather different, out of the door at 09:30 to the school where I am Chair of Governors for a shortlisting meeting, this meeting lasted over 2 hours and the time flew, a lovely change from some as they just seem to go on forever… Back home to change and off to the Leisure Centre for my first session of Stage 2 Cardiac Rehab. Somewhat different from the first course I completed, the exercises required a little more effort but I came through without any issue. Next session is on Monday and I am looking forward to it…At least today has proved to be an interesting day unlike the many days that have passed since they sliced me open, had a rummage, changed the valve and sewed me back up… Hopefully there will be more coming my way in the future…

A Change of Season…

21 February 2020… Friday has arrived and that is another week done, a week closer to my 67th birthday.  The time is flying by, March arrives next weekend, Spring is looming and with daylight hours getting longer nearly time to take off that Winter scowl and put on the Spring face.  My biggest obstacle at the moment is finding things to do, after having a very busy couple of years it is difficult to accept that things are never going to the same again. Do I retire now and do some voluntary work, do I go back to work for 16 hours a week, I am finding it extremely hard to make the decision. I have to listen to my body and it is telling me at the moment it is not quite the time so perhaps taking heed of what the chest, arms, legs and back is saying and staying as I am for the foreseeable future. Leisure Centre activity starts next week so that it something to look forward to, it will improve my fitness and lose some more weight. I can assure you that having this operation is a definitive way of dieting and losing weight. Appetite is gone and now I ensure that I have breakfast but meals during the rest of the day can be put aside, just need to eat enough at evening time to satisfy my medication as most is to be taken with or after food…I am not by the way advocating the operation as an alternative to dieting, it is just how it seems. Life will go on, the rain will continue to fall, floods will find it difficult to recede and householders affected will suffer for many more months trying to put a lifetimes work back to how it was… Life is never easy, and a struggle for many, but kindness is something that is lacking and if we all show a little benevolence and humanity to those that are suffering then the world will be a better place for all…

Cardiac Rehab Revisited…

20 February 2020… After completing the initial Cardiac Rehab program after surgery and thereafter the final assessment to see how it had helped my recovery, I was offered the opportunity to start another program of exercise that would benefit my health and heart. Today I had the assessment to see if I was up to the program and the good news is that I commence next Wednesday at 1pm in the Leisure Centre. 16 weeks of twice weekly sessions of an hour on Monday & Wednesday. Bring it on… It is important to become more active after Aortic Valve Replacement surgery to try and get back to as full a life as possible after a cardiac event. It’s also about support to live with your heart condition, to stay as healthy as possible, and to reduce the chance of another heart problem. I will keep you posted as to how it goes…

Milestone Reached…

16 February 2020… This date was my wife’s 65th birthday… something to celebrate but due to the weather in Wales, a somewhat curtailed celebration. Grandson is skiing in Austria so not all the family available so party postponed until he returns… First meal out for me since AVR operation and I have to say I have not missed the social scene, become somewhat hermit like since being discharged from hospital, rather prefer my own company and pleasant solitude. Too much noise and I have to withdraw from the scene… Life has changed and I am not sure whether I like it or not… time will tell…

Rained and Blown Off…

15 February 2020… Storm Dennis has scuppered the cardiac rehab walk today, strong winds and heavy rain has put paid to the opportunity of getting some fresh air with the wee man Alfie… He is not bothered as he does not like getting wet, but going to be a long day stuck inside the four walls…Transport for everyone is affected so not much use going out in the CAT for a spin as there is a risk of trees and fences being blown down across Wales so here I am at my desk listening to the sound of the vacuum cleaner… Never mind life is full of ups and downs… one of the downs was having the AVR operation… one of the ups was surviving it…

Heart of Valentine’s Day…

14 February 2020… Today is Valentine’s Day which is about the heart…To me it means that I have survived to see another Valentine’s Day after having my heart stopped and repaired. There are individuals with Cardiac illness who do not get a second chance, I was lucky enough to have another go at life so decided to share my journey in the hope that it will help and support those that suffer with issues of the heart…Remember life is a gift… embrace it…Give it a try, you have nothing to lose…

Medication Sucks…

13 February 2020… One of the drawbacks of having open heart surgery is the necessity to take medication afterwards… It is all very well for the doctors to prescribe Ace Inhibitors and Blood Pressure medication and they are necessary but some of them have side effects that cause more issue than the AVR operation itself… Having a bit of an outing with Ramipril and Losartan, I only wish I could do without them…

Met the FANs…

12 February 2020… Middle of the week, after a relatively late night for me, well it was 21:30 before I got to bed and being the Chair of Governors of a school attending a briefing about changes to the Education system in the county gives you that  privilege. Early start today with an invite to a FAN meeting this morning at 09:30. FAN is a Friends and Neighbours group that meets once a week, it gives the opportunity for individuals that have little regular friends to meet up over a cup of tea to share stories and observations. As a local Councillor it gives the opportunity for me to experience other areas where constituents share their time… The FAN meet up was interesting, only lasted an hour so plenty of time to try and catch up with a bit of fresh air with my best mate Alfie. Managed to stick the exercise until 14:30, really felt tired then so end of day for me, now to sit at my desk and tend to the mediocre tasks of phone calls and emails…Definitely an earlier night for me and hopefully catch up with reading and watching a film…

Change the Hat…

11 February 2020… Blustery day today, heavy showers and cold… This is a date that will never go from my memory, wedding anniversary, 42 years today, how did I get to this point? Well it hasn’t been without its hurdles and challenges, not many jobs during that time, redundancy has played a part but as one door closed another seemed to open instantly. Steel Industry, Offshore Oil Industry, Shipbuilding in Belfast, followed by teaching staff to fix computers over the telephone, at £1.00 per minute. It has had its variety, ups and downs along the way but I have weathered the storms bravely and survived everything thrown at me. Come 21 June 2019, 41 years later I was told my heart had a problem and needed fixing, another challenge for me but I approached that in the same manner and here I am today tapping away at the keyboard looking forward to a future I might not have had. My memories of being transported to work in helicopters, ferries, boats and trains will never go away, but the biggest memory to date is being wheeled into theatre and coming out the other side… fast asleep but ready to move on… Below are the two biggest projects I worked on… great times…

Decisions, Decisions…

10 February 2020… After a very stormy weekend and a disappointing result for the Welsh rugby team it was back to work today for many and decision day for me with regards to going back to work. I have been absent since 23 April last year and the trip through the summer and autumn was something I will never forget. But the time comes to decide whether the work aspect is going to continue and taking into account my age (67 in 7 weeks) do I really want to return. Since I was discharged from hospital I have been only able to carry out light duties with no physical effort allowed. It will improve with time, but working with vulnerable adults can be difficult at times, but continuing to stay home will not allow me to get back to near full health. So the decision has been made, all going well I will resume work from 16 March 2020. Next stop… Occupational Health Assessment… It will be a phased return, 16 hours a week, perhaps after returning I will make the decision to retire… who knows…

Councillor Philip Warlow – Retired