Granddadums!

Issy and myself plus Kyles Mum and Family have been party to a ‘little’ secret for a number of weeks and so it is with great delight following the first scan the secret was let out of the bag. Our lovely daughter Anna and her wonderful partner Kyle are to be parents. Rather than rehash the lovely story I recommend a trip to We’ve been keeping a secret… | AnnaTheApple

This is a very special Christmas present as Anna joins our other lovely daughter Rachel in motherhood. So ‘little chicken wing’ will be joining Ellie and Megan in clans James, Powell, Southin and Cuthbertson!

So a new title gets added to Grandad Moops of Grandadums!

18 Months on!

OMG…..When I wrote my last post we were just getting the first inkling of the pandemic! It’s now Christmas Eve, great swathes of the UK are in lockdown – we head to Tier 4 or as we call it -“Stay at home, do bugger all”.

As I was deemed to be at more risk than the norm – over 60 + heart attack last year – I shifted into working from home full time from the week before the official Lockdown started. To say the pandemic caused me both concern and worry is an understatement. Whilst I could work at home my wife, of course, was at the frontline being a nurse. More than that things were starting to look very, very bleak.

From a work viewpoint we shifted into a steady cadence of morning company ‘huddles’ on Teams and full on online collaborative working. Reflecting on the year it is true to say all has gone very well. In the first part of the year I officially took over as ‘the boss’ being appointed Associate Partner by Reply. At first the fear was the same as every other business – what is going to happen to our customers? In the end we lost some, some simply paused work and we gained a number of new ones. All in all a good working year.

From my point of view I made sure I got exercise (and continue to do so) everyday although like most people I did add a few pounds rather than lost a few. Once we had the lovely Collette and Slimming World back those had started to drop off again! (Of course that’s now stopped so it will be Zoom Slimming World this time! Once Christmas is over – err Boxing Day – it’s back on it again!

So to my health, well I can report that from the heart point of view all goes well. My minor moans are the side effects of my drugs. Glossing over the ‘Number 2’s’ issues with the drugs my main moans centre around the joints and muscular aches and pains – something as my wife says ‘is better than the alternative’!

Slowly the mental side of what a heart attack does to you was becoming almost back to normal. Then the pandemic re-kindled the fear of dying into my head again. It is irrational and feels quite stupid at times but early on it was quite prevalent. A much needed trip to Asda really caused me anxiety as people seemed to disregard all the sensible information we had been given to protect ourselves and made me feel at risk. Then as my annual heart health review raised its head I became a little down about the whole thing. The support of my wife and daughters + the other halves and of course great friends and colleagues helped me to ‘survive’ those dark days.

Today I’m in a pretty good place – I feel very healthy, I’ve pretty much come to terms with my mortality and I no longer have exaggerated pandemic fears. My wife is testing twice a week and will get the vaccine next week. I think I’m due it Feb/March time. I’m starting to look for the tunnel end (I always fear the light at the end of the tunnel may be a train coming the other way) and for the chance to once more sample the delight of a holiday!!

So a Happy Christmas to anyone who reads this and a much better New Year!

8 months on!

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Well 8 months has passed and I’ m feeling really good. I’ve had a few problems coming to terms with what happened but now I think I’ve cracked it. At odd times I’ve had a fear of dying, of what happened repeating. It’s strange but the times it happened there was no real reason why, no stress or even not feeling good it was just in my head.

It is a side of my illness I hadn’t really considered. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised as it is such a life changing event. My saving grace through all of this has been my lovely wife – first and foremost, my daughters and of course my friends and colleagues. I think without my wife I would have sunk into depression – glad to say the reason for my life pulled me through!

The other aspect of my life I’ve had to come to terms with has been the drugs. Going from nothing to 7 tablets a day has been a shock! Not only the side effects but the fact I have to remember to take them. I have 4 in the morning and 3 each evening. So far I’ve not missed taking them   but its been close a couple of times! And of course going abroad now has a new dimension! How many doses do I take with me? Will I have any issues at security? Well so far I’ve been to Canada and the USA without a hitch. I have to put all my prescription I’m taking with me into a see through bag so that seems to of solved the problem.

So onward and upward!

Moving on up!

One of the good things about my illness is learning about the excellent services our wonderful NHS provides.

I’m now 5 weeks into the 12 week cardio rehab program the NHS provides.

The tea are excellent and besides exercise they also provide informative sessions that fill in the gaps of the whys, hows and where forest of heart attacks.

Held at the wonderfun new Gosport Leisure Centre the weekly meetings have been excellent both for the exercise but also being able to meet other suffers like myself.

It has also, of course, really helped my fitness!

We are very lucky to have such a great NHS!

Heart attacks can start slowly….

One of the things my Heart Attack has taught me is how to recognise it’s happening. The strange thing is looking back it is now clear my symptoms started in earnest a couple of days earlier. This reflection was helped by my step-Mum sending me this link:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/sep/22/would-you-recognise-a-gradual-onset-heart-attack?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

I realise now that my heart attack started a couple of days earlier when I started to feel unwell and a little breathless. At the time I put this down to hay fever and a cold. Now I can understand it was a little more than that.

So guys, and I deliberately say guys, please don’t be macho when this sort of thing starts – think the worst and it will save your life! A dead macho man is no use to anyone.

Latest Update

  • My recovery continues at a pace. Lots of news all good….
    • I’ve now been discharged from Barts care back to my GP following my final review. So all good.
      My Cardio rehab course continues at a pace – a combination of fitness training and information sessions
      I’m back at work full time and up to speed again – albeit with a more sensible approach to coping with the stresses and strains!
      Taken delivery of electric assist push bikes for myself and my lovely wife allowing us to discover the joys of cycling with out the full strain of the hills!
      Enjoying the exercise and the occasional afternoon tea!
    • Finally to day we are looking forward to some well earned R & R in Canada staying with our lovely friends Lynne and Glen. We will be flying from Heathrow this evening.

    This has been quite an adventure so far and not one I would wish on anyone. But it has made so proud of our wonderful NHS, Ambulance service and the staff at our London tube stations.

    My wife, an NHS nurse herself, recently visited my path from tube station to ambulance to Barts thanking all those who helped me on the way to regain my health.

    For today I have one last wish and it is for the man who rather than help me off the tube in my hour of need pushed me of with a ‘get off you drunk’ it is I hope he never has a heart attack and if he does he is helped by someone sympathetic rather than like him.

    Almost back to normal

    So as I head towards 5 weeks since my heart attack preparations for returning to work have started.

    On Wednesday I visited my GP for a check over and tuning of my meds. He advised a gradual return to work over 6 weeks starting on Monday 😀. Never thought I’d look forward to work but I am!

    With my illness has come a change in my thinking and approach to everyday things. On Tuesday my iMac had to go back to the Apple shop in Southampton – in the past I would have manfully struggled carrying the box from the car park to the shop straining something in the process…

    Now….

    I use a sensible trolly to transport it! A bargain from B & Q for £24!

    Other changes include reducing down the weight of my lap top and lap top bag rather than taking the kitchen sink and the power to run the world, re-thinking my travelling for work – no more 4am starts and 10 pm returns – so better planning required.

    On Friday it was our companies ‘Town Hall’ meeting so rather than heading up to London for this one I sent in a number of video pieces – not something I will do each time but right for this occasion.

    Anyway, off to work Monday and I’ll aim to update this blog next weekend.

    Recovery

    I’m pleased to say 3 weeks on from my heart attack and I’m starting to feel ‘back to normal’. For those weeks and for the next couple I am being shielded from all things work! This has left me able to consider all the things I’ve put off for a number of months/years and in particular I’ve been able to fully relax.

    Today it was very, very hot and so it was time to move ‘my office’ to the garden!

    So I setup my two iPads – one for Netflix and one for my blog and other stuff such as learning new skills on Plurasight! It is a beautiful spot and in the shade but with a nice breeze heading into the garden from the Solent.

    One of the important lessons this whole event has taught me is not to take anything for granted. We all need to listen to the noises are bodies are making and do something about it before its to late. I have also learnt I can’t solve all the worlds problems on my own. Of course it is sometimes easier to say it than do it!

    I have been very lucky. A lot of things all fell into place that made sure I’m still here today. Not least my lovely Issy’s schooling of me to understand what a heart attack is really paid dividends.

    Part of my rehabilitation is to remember what it felt like for me during a heart attack as everyone’s feelings are different. Those symptoms are now emblazoned in my memory.

    So many kind wishes

    In this time of social media and so many ‘friends’ on Facebook and LinkedIn it has been really special how many people have contacted me and sent me best wishes and hope I recover quickly.

    I’m quite touched by it all. I decided to keep the social media bit to a minimum and just use my blog to give details of what happened and my recovery.

    One of the lovely things that happened was my company sent me some beautiful flowers – this was a first for me!

    I’m now getting in the swing of all the medication – Sunday’s look like being ‘re-charge’ the weeks containers. No small task!

    I’m glad to say I’m getting stronger each day – by that I mean I need less naps! Won’t belong before my wife is leaving me a little list of jobs to do! One backward step is I’ve managed to get a chest infection so even more tablets!

    First Week or So….

    I’m pleased to say that at the end of my second week post Heart Attack I’m alive and feeling OK. I have had a number of up and down days and have still to get my strength back but this last week I have managed to walk to the shops and back and drive my car again! Small but important steps.

    Of course there is no gain without pain….well not really pain but coming to terms the lack of energy any excursion creates! I think part of my issue is coning to terms with all the new tablets I’m taking!

    The other challenge is boredom! My team at work have now completely isolated me from the goings on at work! A very good thing I think. I have though been providing friends and family with ‘3D printed’ things!

    I’ve also been watching a number of box sets including Stranger Things season 3!

    Well that’s enough for now I’ll try and find more interesting content for next week…