Staying Alive

Posted on 16/08/2020 By

Cardiac Rehab... Staying Alive

Cardiac Rehab… Staying Alive

Staying Alive:

It’s seven o’clock on August 12 2019 on Dream Island. Richard tells Bobby the boat will be coming at 09.30. It’s time to pack and leave the island. A few more days in Solva, with Rosemary to pick me up. Dinner at Something’s Cooking that evening. He loves his fish and chips after a week of basic cooking. And it will be nice to see Tundi.

The Dale Princess.

Here comes the Dale Princess.

Goodbye Skokholm. See you next year.

Goodbye Skokholm. See you next year.

Goodbye Skomer too. See you next year.

Goodbye Skomer too. See you next year.

See you later, Tundi.

See you later, Tundi.

And here is the Dale Princess. Our boat and old friend for the last twenty four years to the islands. It’s a glorious morning to say goodbye to Skokholm. See you next year. Passing Skomer, full of memories. And finally Martins Haven and the mainland. The last time to hump heavy luggage off the boat and up the hill out of the cove. But, as we know, he never made it. Or rather he did – in an ambulance. As Richard said at least he waited until he got to the mainland. The rest is history. Related before in a Very Serious Event.

But, for this story, we mustn’t forget what he was told in Swansea Morriston Hospital. He was very lucky. To survive, of course, but in particular that an hour earlier he had been on a remote Wildlife Island. The paramedics probably saved him in Martins Haven before the drive down the M4 at break neck speed. On the island… who knows? But there was one other significant event in Swansea hospital. Nowadays an inpatient only needs a smart phone for all communications with the outside world. A deluge of good wishes flowed his way on Facebook. Including old work mates from years ago. Some of whom had had similar experiences. One, another Richard, told him he must go to Cardiac Rehab. He did and that is the most important single thing he did towards recovery.

Bobby, with Eamonn, on the trolley in the ambulance.

Having a heart attack.

Map of the Pembrokeshire Coast and St Brides Bay.

X marks the cardiac spot.

"The Road to Recovery Following Your Heart Attack".

In Welsh too. He couldn’t attend in Wales, of course, but the seed was sown.

He was offered an eight week course at Epsom General. Those eight weeks were great. Recovering from a heart attack is as much mental as physical. You are under medical supervision. Mary and Nikki – Cardiac Nurses. Steve – trainer. Blood pressure, weight, heart rate, camaraderie. Suddenly he did have a future. The once a week gym work at the hospital was combined with a fitness programme for the rest of the week. Over eight weeks the weight kept reducing and the fitness improving. All too soon it was over. How could he carry it on? Eventually he found a solution. Friend Rob said why didn’t he try the YMCA gym at Redhill?

He was referred by Epsom General with support from his doctor and joined Cardiac Rehab referral in the YMCA gym at Redhill. It was a revelation. John the trainer devised a programme for him that gave settings and times for each piece of apparatus. He made friends with kindred spirits, but also bought a pair of Bluetooth head phones to listen to his favourite music. Within a short while he was going three times a week. John upped the programme targets. This was great. Then came lockdown. How disappointing was that! After a short while, all the Cardiac Rehab group got an email from Wayne. Top cardiac trainer at the YMCA. Would we like to try an experiment? ZOOM GYM. We all did. Upwards of 25 settled in eventually to three days a week. One hour.
Warm up, work out, cool down. Muted while Wayne dishes out instructions, encouragement, banter and endless enthusiasm. Just recently they had a coffee morning in their own houses to celebrate 2000 attendances at zoom Cardiac Rehab gym. Bobby can’t believe his luck. He feels better now than before the heart attack. He is still slowly losing weight. Walking, cycling. He has his down days. GAD is sometimes lurking, but all he needs to do is to read this and remind himself that he was so lucky a year ago. So lucky with Epsom General, St Georges Hospital and the YMCA. But then I told him…. Being lucky is one thing. You have to make best use of your luck and I think he has.

This story was written on an iPad sitting on a swing seat all morning at Wisley Gardens. Read on for cardiac rehab tit-bits.

Swing seat by the river at Wisley Gardens.

Swing seat by the river at Wisley Gardens.

A very expensive swing seat made by "Sitting Spiritually".

A very expensive swing seat made by “Sitting Spiritually”.

Cardiac Rehab Titbits… Diary of a Heart Attack.

At first he was banned from driving. Bobby 2 came out and was wheeled to the bus stop. Then half way to Dorking. Then the whole way. Back home on the 93 bus. Waitrose were great. Each week he posted “Diary of a Heart Attack“ on Facebook. Based on Bobby 2, bears, and a T-shirt story. Here’s just a few. Music instead of stories. Even when he was allowed to drive, he wheeled Bobby 2 to Dorking for Cardiac Rehab. About two miles. Initially cardiac medication was in conflict with von Willebrands. The solution for three months was twice weekly visits to St George’s and the Ruth Myles unit. To be honest, it was no ordeal for him. Getting there was combined with fast walks. Morden Hall Park. Even towards central London. Many stories were written, including all those on the local tube trains. And, of course, regular contact with haemophilia nurses Roisin and Wandai was good for his mental state. As was going to an Airshow by train just six weeks after the very serious event. Catching a train to Wales for a long weekend to bring me back. I had a lovely time with Rosemary and learned to speak Welsh. Staying in London for Christmas. Climbing Swifts Hill in February, despite thinking he never would again. Going on the last course with the Gentle Author in Spitalfields. Lockdown has been difficult, but has been offset by the fitness programme. Country walks nearly every day. Zoom has transformed everything. Al-Anon, mindfulness but, most of all, Zoom gym from the YMCA. As far as the cardiac referred group are aware only the YMCA has offered this simply brilliant service. Long may it continue.

So… if you have a heart attack. Don’t die. If you survive you are dead lucky. Take advantage of our wonderful health service. And, most important of all, be sure to go to Cardiac Rehabilitation. And keep it up. Forever. You could be a new person. Thanks Richard.

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 1. Puffins (T-shirt).

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 1. Puffins (T-shirt).

Fame:

Cardiac Rehab. Battle of Britain Airshow, Duxford… Spitfire.

Cardiac Rehab. Battle of Britain Airshow, Duxford… Spitfire.

 

Cardiac Rehab. Duxford... Gladiator.

Cardiac Rehab. Duxford… Gladiator.

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 3. Bob the Red Squirrel.

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 3. Bob the Red Squirrel.

Queen: I want to break free.

Bertie outside the entrance of St George's Hospital.

Cardiac Rehab. St George’s Hospital. Twice a week. Three months.

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 5. Tour de France.

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 5. Tour de France.

Katie Melua: Wonderful Life.

 

Bertie in Rosemary's arms in the doorway of her conservatory.

Cardiac Rehab. Going back to England. Diolch. Rosemary.

Cardiac Rehab. Saying thank you in St David's Cathedral.

Cardiac Rehab. Saying thank you in St David’s Cathedral.

Cardiac Rehah. Meeting Hefyn, whose place in the Mindfully Bertie team will be announced soon.

Cardiac Rehab. Meeting Hefyn, whose place in the Mindfully Bertie team will be announced soon.

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 6. Shredded Wheat.

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 6. Shredded Wheat.

Simple Minds: Alive and Kicking.

 

Sign in the Café at Morden Hall Park: "We all need places to sit in, places to play in, places to stroll in and places to spend a dayin" Octavia Hill (1883). Underneath is written: This is why Morden Hall Park is so important and every pound you spend here today helps us to look after this special landscape forever, for everyone.

Cardiac Rehab. National Trust, Morden Hall Park. Walking to St George’s.

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 7. “Farewell old friend”. Vulcan and Red Arrows.

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 7. Leonard Cohen. One of Diddley’s t shirts which he has slimmed down to.

Reba McEntire: Starting all over again.

 

 

Bertie sat on a bench at Balham Tube Station.

Cardiac Rehab. The tube train blogs.

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 8. ”Mind the Gap”. He actually bought that T-shirt at the London Transport Museum purely for this picture. That's what rehab does for you!

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 8. ”Mind the Gap”. He actually bought that T-shirt at the London Transport Museum purely for this picture. That’s what rehab does for you!

Sia: Never Give Up

 

Cardiac Rehab. The birth of Great Grandson “Bobby”. Seen here with Little Jay.

Cardiac Rehab. The birth of Great Grandson “Bobby”. Seen here with Little Jay.

Bertie getting his Blood Pressure checked!

Cardiac Rehab. Another week at St George’s. Meeting those wonderful haemophilia nurses Roisin and Wandai.

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 10. “The Railway Children”. Getting thinner.

Diary of a Heart Attack: Week 10. “The Railway Children”. Getting thinner.

Emerson Lake and Palmer: Lucky Man.

 

Cardiac Rehab. Last week at Epsom General.

Cardiac Rehab. Last week at Epsom General.

Cardiac Rehab. Last week at Epsom General. Thank you Mary, Nikki and Steve.

Cardiac Rehab. Last week at Epsom General. Thank you Mary, Nikki and Steve.

Cardiac Rehab. Autumn. Morden Hall Park. Walking to St George's.

Cardiac Rehab. Autumn. Morden Hall Park. Walking to St George’s.

Dairy of a Heart Attack: Christmas Special.

Dairy of a Heart Attack: Christmas Special.

Brenda Lee: Bring me sunshine.

 

The Ball Family in front of an illuminated Mary Poppins poster.

Cardiac Rehab. Mary Poppins. A Christmas family occasion.

Cardiac Rehab. Climbing Swifts Hill again.

Cardiac Rehab. Climbing Swifts Hill again.

Alresford. Flying Scotsman.

Cardiac Rehab. Flying Scotsmen at the Watercress Line shortly before lockdown.

Cardiac Rehab at the Black Cat Café Worthing. Little Jay and Bobby.

Cardiac Rehab at the Black Cat Café Worthing. Little Jay and Bobby.

Cardiac Rehab. Last day in London. Fournier Street, Spitalfields.

Cardiac Rehab. Last day in London. Fournier Street, Spitalfields.

Bertie outside Laurel Cottage (sitting on the fence) with Trevor and Eamonn sitting on a Bobby 2 behind.

Cardiac Rehab. Laurel Cottage on VE Day.

The biggest cock in the world stays safe. Dorking's famous cockerel on a roundabout on the A24 in Dorking, wearing a knitted Coronavirus Face Mask!

The biggest cock in the world stays safe. Dorking’s famous cockerel.

Cardiac Rehab. My, you have grown Bobby! Bobby and Jasmine.

Cardiac Rehab. My, you have grown Bobby! Bobby and Jasmine.

Cardiac Rehab in the Surrey Hills.

Cardiac Rehab in the Surrey Hills.

Cardiac Rehab. Zoom gym, celebrating Fulham's return to the Premier League.

Cardiac Rehab. Zoom gym, celebrating Fulham’s return to the Premier League.

Lighting a Lucky Candle for Diddley.

One day we will be back at Sutton United. “Up the “U’s”

One day we will be back at Sutton United. “Up the “U’s”

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Dream IslandIllnessIslandsMemories    


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