Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Could you do it?

Thank you so much for the comments again, you've all been so kind and have given some helpful suggestions.  It's also reassuring to hear about the experiences others have had, makes you feel like you're not alone, even though it may feel like it at times.

Yes I do think women, generally speaking, are more health conscious - men don't usually like going to the doctor, and often aren't as willing to make changes or take responsibility for their health.  Joy, you asked if husband (Steve!  I guess there's no reason not to give his name) would be willing to use a Wii Fit - a resounding No to that, it's not his thing at all.  I've got a couple of exercise/dance videos (not that I use them much....the initial enthusiasm soon wears off!), he flatly refused to do them with me, even at home with just him and I.  It might work though to get him to choose what he wants to do in the way of exercise, especially if he feels like it was his idea!  I don't want to feel like I'm chivvying him up or chasing round after him all the time, I'm his wife not his mother.

A step counter I think will be a good idea (not a Fitbit type thing though - too much technology will just confuse him - and me).  When he was working as a shunter, yard supervisor and driver trainer at a large haulage firm, he used to wear one then and frequently did more than 12,000 steps daily, he did enjoy seeing how much walking he was doing without even realising it.  We'll have to get a couple, no idea where his one went, it was a few years ago.

I admit I have found it all a bit scary at times - we've found that, whilst all the doctors and cardiac nurses have been unfailingly kind and always cheerful, they don't sugar coat anything - they tell us the truth, however scary it might be.  Not that I'm complaining - I would much rather know exactly what we could be facing.

The talks given at the cardiac rehab classes have been the most illuminating.  Yesterday, along with risk factors, we were told what to do in the event of our spouse having a heart attack at home.  It might be useful to others if I say what we learnt, especially since the advice has changed since I did a St John's first aid course paid for by my employers about 25 years ago.  They used to say to do 5 chest compressions, followed by 2 breaths into the patient's mouth whilst pinching their nose.  Well, the advice now is not to bother with the breathing, chest compressions only.

We were told that the first thing to do is to phone 999 and open the front door.  Then drag the patient onto the floor, if they're not already on it, and put them on their back.  Start chest compressions immediately - don't bother trying to find the 'correct' spot, just do it in the centre of the chest, one hand on top of the other, and press down hard with the heel of your hand....harder than you might think, an adult body can take a lot of pressure.  You must do it at a fast speed - aim for around 100 compressions a minute, it might be helpful if you do as that footballer/actor bloke Vinnie Jones did in those adverts on the TV....sing to yourself the BeeGees song Staying Alive as that's about the correct rhythm.  The most important thing is to keep going, don't stop until help arrives.  Obviously it would be better if there was someone there to help you and take over when you get tired, but if it's just you, you're the patient's only hope until help arrives so keep going, even though it's hard and you will get tired.

The reason for keeping it up is that it keeps the patient's blood circulating around the heart and brain.  If you don't, heart tissue can start to die within 20 minutes - yes, as short a time as that.  And once it's died, that's it, it doesn't regenerate or heal, it's dead.  Even if you survive the heart attack, if your heart tissue had died because of lack of blood circulation, then you've got a damaged heart for the rest of your life.  

So yes that was scary, but incredibly informative.  I didn't know that before, now I do, so feel better able to cope if the worst happened.

And on that cheerful note, I must finish by saying welcome to SusanM, Yarrow and Scarlet - please accept my apologies if you've commented before and I'd forgotten.


  1. Fantastic advice. My first aid knowledge is not great now that I don't have to do updates any more so I'm out of touch.

    A shame about the Wii Fit but it isn't dance and exercises, it's games and sort of activities and I found it all great fun when I had one. I wish I hadn't got rid of mine.
    A step counter sounds like a good way to go especially if it's not a new thing for Steve.

  2. Very interesting post.Actually, it's the brain one is aiming on keeping alive - that can be damaged after 3 minutes without oxygen.


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