I wear a “Fitbit” monitor which measures the number of steps that I take each day and more importantly my heart rate. In addition to showing the current heart rate it also records a resting heart rate. It is the latter figure that is of most interest here.
I was admitted to hospital with my heart attack on 18 January and had 2 stents fitted on 22 January. I’m not sure if it is coincidence but my normal resting heart rate of 60bpm started to increase on 15 January and peaked at 68bpm on 17 January; the day before my hospital admission. It has now returned to the normal level of 60bpm and, other than during periods of exercise, I hope that it remains that way.
Thursday 18 January 2018. It has taken me some time to write-up today’s event for reasons which will soon become clear. My chest pain had persisted for the last 48 hours and, as I didn’t feel like walking, I thought that I really should concentrate on my health; or lack of it. I went down to breakfast but didn’t feel much like eating so I returned to my room to search the internet for the nearest NHS drop-in centre. I wasn’t having much luck so I called 111. They took me through a series of questions which ended with the conclusion that I’d had a heart attack or was in the process of having one and that they would send an ambulance for me from Ambleside just 5 miles away.
I quickly packed my bags, checked out and waited for my transport. The hotel staff were good and one of them, a Polish girl, who was a trained paramedic and sat with me until the ambulance arrived. Once in the ambulance I was given an ECG, the first of many that were to follow, and some pain relieving medication. This eased things a little for the hour or so journey to the nearest A&E at Lancaster hospital. I didn’t have to wait in the ambulance and was quite quickly admitted to one of the A&E bays. Another ECG was followed by a shot of morphine, a chest x-ray and blood tests which confirmed that rather than it just being Angina, I’d had a small heart attack – if there is such a thing!
After a couple of hours in A&E I was then moved into the Coronary Care Unit. I saw the consultant the following morning and plans were made for me to go to Blackpool on Monday for an Angiogram/Angioplasty. Apparently Blackpool hospital in the coronary care centre of excellence in the North West. The procedure took about 90 minutes to complete and was relatively painless although I did feel some discomfort when the tube going up my artery passed by my bicep. It was confirmed that one artery was 95% blocked with another being 75% blocked. I was given the option of having stents inserted or waiting until I could have heart bypass surgery. The latter would have been more invasive and the recovery period longer so I opted for the stents. I asked if I could have some before and after pictures as a memento and for a £10 donation to charity I was given a CD to take away with me. Unfortunately I can’t get it to play on my laptop and they are going to try something else and send it to my home address. I’ll upload it to YouTube, if I can, but if you want to know more about the procedure then you can watch this short video.
I was back at Lancaster in time for tea and was discharged just after lunch the following day (Tuesday). My brother came to pick me up and I’m staying with him in Harrogate until the weekend. I haven’t put the repaired ticker to the test just yet, only having walked to the hospital car park. I’ll see if I can get out for a short walk in the next few days. I’m not sure how long it will take me to fully recover from the heart attack but, in any event, I’m barred from driving for 4 weeks so I guess that I’ll be limited to pounding the streets and pavements of Benwick for a while.
Leaving my hotel in Grasmere at such short notice raised something of a logistical problem. My car was in Grasmere, I was in Lancaster my brother is in Harrogate and my home is in Benwick. My brother and his wife came to visit me on Saturday after which they went to pick up my car and take it to Harrogate. The plan is for my nephew to drive me and my car back to Cambridgeshire this coming weekend and for my brother to follow in his car in order to get them both back to Yorkshire.
Tuesday 16 January 2018. I’ve been suffering with a tight/sore chest and minor breathlessness for the last couple of weeks. This was first noticed when out walking on New Year’s day on what was only a minor incline. It eased when on the level and I didn’t really think anything more of it. I put it down to the cold weather but this can’t be the real cause as a visit to the gym had to be curtailed after only 10 minutes brisk walking on the treadmill. The problem recurred on the last two Fenland Group walks and is now becoming something of a concern. So much so that I’ve booked to see my GP on 24 Jan to get it checked out.
Rather ambitiously, I set out today to walk over Loughrigg (1,100ft), down to the tarn and on into Ambleside; catching the bus back to Grasmere. I knew that I was in trouble after just half a mile, having to stop for a breather at regular intervals. I pressed on to the foot of Loughrigg on the Terrace and decided to give it best. I’d climbed 400ft or so and still had another 700ft to the top of Loughrigg. Given my current state of health, it would have been unwise to press on with the planned walk so, instead, I decided to head back to the hotel. I had been walking through frequent snow showers and it would only have been worse at a higher level. The walk was just 3.6 miles.
I think that I’ve resigned myself to being on “the easy list” until I’ve seen my GP next week and will just have to look at the hills from afar.
The Grand at Grasmere is a fine hotel despite only having a 3 star rating and provides a level of luxury way above anything on offer by HF Holidays. My only criticism would be the relatively expensive and unchanging dinner menu. I had Burger and Chips (£15) last night and might have considered Beef Stew (£16) but this isn’t served with new potatoes which are and extra £5. I guess that this is the price to pay for staying in a more upmarket hotel. I’m not keen on eating in the evening, preferring to have my main meal at lunchtime and have decided to eat-out for the rest of my stay.
Breakfast was fine. Porridge followed by 2 fried eggs, bacon, Cumberland sausage and tomatoes. I struggled to finish this.
I was back in the hotel by late morning and decided to catch the bus into Ambleside for a late lunch; jacket potatoe and cheese followed by a look around the shops. I didn’t buy anything but tried on a couple of coats that took my fancy,
There is more snow forecast overnight so tomorrow will probably be a short walk past Allen Bank to the end of Easedale Road. If I’m feeling good then this could be extended to include Easedale Tarn, a place that I’ve yet to visit.
Loughrigg Terrace – walk route
Monday 15 January 2018. Much of the day was taken up with the 250 mile drive to Grasmere, stopping off on the way in Keswick. I had a quick look around the shops but resisted buying anything.
I arrived at my hotel, The Grand at Grasmere, at about 2:30pm and settled in for the afternoon. There was already a chill wind outside and it seems as if it is set to get worse with a dire weather forecast for the next few days. I wanted snow but it seems as if you should be careful what you wish for! With gales forecast for the tops, I’ll probably be confined to lower levels and even that may be difficult. I’ll see what the morning brings?
Sunday 14 January 2018. 12 Fenland Ramblers plus one guest walker met for today’s walk lead by Linda W. It was decided that we would do the coastal section of the walk first leaving the extra couple of miles to the end as an optional loop. We set off down Lady Anne’s Drive. At the end we turned into the woodland/dunes which run inland, a few hundred metres from the beach itself. Coffee was taken after a couple of miles at a bird hide opposite Burrow Gap.
It had been relatively mild in inland but this came to an abrupt end as we turned east to make our way along the beach. We were now walking head-on into a fresh (very cold breeze). Rather than walking all the way to Holkham Gap, we turned off just after Meale House for lunch in and around a large bird hide. Only David and I took advantage of the seating in the hide; somewhat disturbing a very knowledgeable group of “twitchers”.
We then retraced our steps back to the cars in the village car park. I decided to call it a day at this point as I was suffering from a very tight chest and breathing difficulties. This is something that I’ve had since New Year’s day and hope that it goes soon. The remainder of the group went off to do a couple of extra miles in the grounds of Holkham Hall in the hope of seeing the resident deer heard. My walk was 6.7 miles which was more than enough for me.
Holkham – walk route