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Posted in Personal Blog

A state of conflict, confusion, agitation or disorder. 
I think that adequately describes the past few weeks.
Isn’t it a funny old thing, life?  It keeps you on your toes, adds twists and turns to test you and keep you from becoming too complacent. It makes you realise now precious this gift is, life is to be treasured and respected. Don’t squander it and let it pass you by unmarked because one day you may look back with regret and wish you had grasped the nettle, taken risks, followed your gut and heart and truly lived.
I am thankful that I feel so far I have managed to live a good and full life, that is not to say there isn’t so much more I would like to do. December is and has been since my mum passed a month of memories of a wonderful vibrant life lost but which left those remaining with many memories to hold on to. Mum really did know how to live and make the most of life and fought bitterly to the very end to hold on to it too. 
The year, on mums birthday funnily enough, my husband had a heart attack right in front of my very eyes. To say it was something of a shock would be a mere understatement of the facts. It was horribly frightening for him, as he thought his number was up and also for me trying to help him and comfort him. I am enormously thankful that the girls were not downstairs but in bed at the time and so didn’t witness what happened. 
As it turns out, with hindsight, it appears he has in actual fact suffered from two heart attacks, the first one was 10 days previous to the one I witnessed on the 6th December. It occurred whilst at a friends house down South ~ the paramedic at the time decided the episode was due to low blood pressure and dehydration. Not satisfied with that answer we visited our GP who decided it wasn’t that at all but oesophageal spasm, brought on by stress and excess acid, which could apparently mimic symptoms of heart attacks.  This answer seemed to make sense and so we were reassured and went home, although Dave continued to have chest pain and tingling down arms for a further three days.
So initially, when Dave started to get the pain again we thought, uh oh – another oesophageal spasm, breathe through it and it will pass. Then, when Dave was writhing in pain and clutching at his chest, struggling hugely with the pressure on his chest and the tingling down his arms I decided to ring 999, this definitely didn’t look right.  The care that followed was incredible. I would like to give a huge shout out and thank you to each and every person along the chain who came to our assistance and made a very stressful time less so. From the woman on the telephone who answered my 999 call and was fabulous, she kept me talking until the paramedics and ambulance arrived ~ which was very swiftly. Our treatment from start to finish throughout all departments was amazing. The A&E team, Assessment Ward Team, Cardiac Ward and Cardiac Catheter Team, various porters & Dave’s Consultant were all incredible, friendly, calm, reassuring, supportive and thorough. This hasn’t stopped either ~ Dave had a call from a cardiac nurse after discharge to check everything was going well, he has twice weekly rehab group after Christmas in outpatients and Consultant appointment in the New Year too. PLUS a none emergency helpline for any advice or queries we may have. It is when you have to utilise the NHS like this that you fully appreciated how lucky you are to have access to this medical care. I would like to extend a grateful heartfelt thank you to each and every person we dealt with during this time.
Since coming home we have had to adjust and re-assess our lifestyle and work.  With no income currently coming in life is not easy, we are being frugal and tightening our belts to get through. Dave, sadly had to let his apprentice go as he can no longer supervise and provide a job for him. Instead we are having to look at his work (self-employed, own business) and adapt it so that he can continue within the new restrictions he has been given via the hospital once he is allowed to recommence work. For the moment his business is on hold ~ just dealing with phone calls at the moment explaining the situation and diverting work as it comes in or postponing it until we are up and running again. Yep – I said we, I am now donning the cap of Dave’s assistant and general runner and when back at work Dave will be running it all from behind his desk, organising and delegating the work as the jobs come in. 
Other things have had to change too; diet ~ out goes fatty foods, salt and alcohol, in comes carbs, oily fish and wholegrain everything. A progressive gentle exercise regime and many medications added to the mix mean Dave is feeling quite unsettled at the moment but in the long run I think it will make a huge improvement to our lives. 
Cabin fever though, is starting to set in but taking Dave out for a drive isn’t quite what he needs to reduce stress as he finds my driving frustrating to say the least. In the past he has only been a passenger of mine when inebriated. 4 weeks until he is able to drive again ~ I have a sneaky suspicion he is counting down the days.
So, December has thus far been rather a turbulent and emotional affair ~ however, looking forward to 2015 we hope that we can adapt and find ways forward to suit us as a family and keep our heads financially above water as well as emotionally and physically. The girls are emotionally and physically exhausted, ME doesn’t respond well to emotional stress. We are hoping to have a drama free New Year and one where the girls and Dave can rest and heal and slowly build up their strength.
Thank you to friends and family who have sent such warm and supportive messages and to the few who took the time to ring or email us asking if we needed anything and that the offer of help and support was there just for the asking. Your offered strength and humour which has bolstered us and helped us get through the toughest days ~ you cannot know how much we appreciated that.
So until 2015, I wish you all a Merry Christmas 
and a very happy and healthy New Year.
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