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Sab

Age at interview: 65
Age at diagnosis: 64
Brief Outline: Sab thinks that the investigation of a chest pain saved him from a heart attack that was about to happen. He had several tests including an ECG and an angiogram. The angiogram confirmed that he had coronary artery disease. Six months ago he underwent Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery (CABG). He joined his local cardiac rehabilitation programme and increased his exercise routine gradually. He plays golf, walks regularly and works in his allotment. He also attends the 'post-graduate' cardiac re
Background: Sab is married with four grown up children and several grandchildren. He is semi-retired and works occasionally as a minibus driving assessor for his county council. Ethnic background' Asian.

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Sab is married with four grown up children and several grandchildren. He worked as a driving instructor and now in his retirement works occasionally as a driving assessor.
 
Sab thinks that the investigation of a chest pain saved him from a heart attack that was about to happen. He had several tests including an ECG and an angiogram. The angiogram confirmed that he had coronary artery disease. Six months ago he underwent Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery (CABG). Sab has always maintained a healthy and active lifestyle so he found it shocking to be a potential heart attack victim and to have been diagnosed with a serious heart condition. Several times he had run 10km for charity and he played golf, worked in his allotment, went to the gym with his wife and for regular walks. So the prospect of having heart surgery made him apprehensive and disappointed. He had coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG).
 
Sab said that the most challenging part of his experience was the initial recovery following surgery. When he woke up from the operation he found himself disoriented, bed-ridden, unable to move and in pain. In fact, the only part of his body he was able to use was his finger to press the button and call the nurse if needed.

 

 

Sab talks about how he felt and looked like following his CABG surgery.

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Sab talks about how he felt and looked like following his CABG surgery.

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I was still under Intensive Care so and then one; I had, the one thing that really was irritating, I had an oxygen in my nose and making… the mask I had with wire… loads of wire from here, here – chest and you don't do nothing, you just lie there, you're almost as good as dead. There's no part of the body you can move. Unbelievable pain, unbearable pain , you can't breathe properly, you can't turn, you just sit still, there's no sleep for three days but you want to close your eyes to sleep but they made no difference and the experience I had, I forgot it and tell is that the dreams that you hallucinate, hallucinations. 
 
And that was a scary part and being on your own in this private room, nobody else then, no visitors and you're looking round and you can't understand, you can't move, you can't really shout, you can press a button for a nurse if you want to and you even shout, "Why is that happening, what's wrong?" and it just feels that you're not in the room. Every day the room looked different so I was thought I was in a different room again – how did I get here? And then, those, for two days was like that and it was so scary to shut the eyes and it was so scary to open the eyes so you didn't know what, which, you know dimension you were in and how do you get out of here. Night time I opened the room and thinking, 'Am I asleep or am I awake?' and it was so difficult. But the support from nurses and the people in charge, it was so brilliant, they were there to make sure that, reassure you that you are alright. And day and night were just the same, there was, you know, you couldn't, it was nothing to look forward to whether it was daytime or night time so those were the first two days. 
 
And the pain was so, you couldn't move, yeah I was petrified of moving. Only the hand that could move and press the button. And then what… I think about two, two days later then you get up and you drag these things with you to go to toilet and the first time they took a tube out, out of m what do they call it, the willy? And you can pee naturally. That was a lovely feeling, you can feel something that you're doing on your own and the first feeling that you have. So I didn't want to get out of the toilet, I was like ‘I’m staying here now’ and then you drag yourself back. 
 
And so that was a horrendous experience and once I started walking and I was, after three days I was walking up and down the hallway to get yourself fit and I then got better, then I had, one of the male nurse give me a shower which was brilliant and from then on the things got better and better then I was eating a little bit more, drinking a lot, I drank so much water. I remember my first day when I realised I was awake that they said the more water I drink the quicker, better I will get. 

 

Encouragement from family and the thought of his grandchildren helped Sab to cope with the first...

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And after the operation and then I realised that now, you know, I mean you look at yourself and completely helpless, a wire coming out of everywhere, you know, and you can't get up and you can't sleep for three days, you don't want to eat, drink, nothing and you know there's no will to do that. So that was the hardest part, then thinking where do you go from there? Where's the next stop, you know, and people answer, convince you that you'll be fine and you don't believe that and because your body's torn to pieces and there's nothing, no strength and, or will. And you think why have I had this done, you know, what's the point of it all? I'm not going to get better. And then my family, my wife, to look at her face and you're thinking, 'I need to get better,' you know and I remember my father had the same, a triple bypass and I went to see him and he was fine and then I had a phone call from my brother saying he was very, very ill, he's back in hospital. So I went to see him again six weeks later and to see him he was from fourteen stone, he was, to about nine stone eight and he looked like a skeleton and he hadn't eaten for three weeks and I could see him and I'm thinking, 'If I don't eat I'm going to end up like him.' So I had to force myself to put something in my mouth and swallow with a tea or water just two spoons each day, that's all I had for three days and that's what really inspired me. I thought, 'I've got to live, I've got, you know, get better. If I don't eat now I'll probably never do it.' So that was one inspiration from him.
 
Then my daughter came from Canada and to see her face that you, and she's a very determined young lady, she said, "You've got to get better Dad, so get yourself up." I love my grandchildren, they want to chase you because I always fight with them and so I thought there was another one, I thought I've got to get better. So it was a brilliant, every day, felt a little bit better than the day before. For three days it was very, very difficult and then fourth day and you can see a light, like somebody had turned the lights on, it was more brighter and every day, every minute from then on it got brighter and brighter and I started walking and then I remember on Tuesday which is the fourth day and the doctor came to see me, he said, "You give me a bit of a fright, but you're OK now," he said, "I was worried, I was concerned but not worried." So and then he said, "How would you like to go home on Wednesday?" So I said, "Can I go home on Tuesday?" And he said, "Why Tuesday?" I said "Because my daughters going back to Canada on Wednesday so if I go home on Tuesday she'll know I'm better." So that's when I came home.

 

 

The cardiac rehabilitation nurse visited Sab while still in hospital and gave him a list of...

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The cardiac rehabilitation nurse visited Sab while still in hospital and gave him a list of...

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A list of things.
 
A timetable type sort of thing?
 
Yes everything written down, beautifully organised so if you forget and you pick it up and you think, 'Oh yes this is what I can't do.' How many minutes you can walk, how many, you know, each day or every other day and so on and so I had a timetable and also write down what I'd done that particular day and I went for a walk, was enjoyable or did you find it hard and you give yourself a marking what level from ten to…one to ten.
 
Did you find it useful?
 
Very useful indeed because you keep your record and you can see how easy or difficult it was the time before and you can slow down or you speed up and then you can also go faster and slower and see how it would do that. And I loved it, I couldn't wait to the next morning so I could do that again. So I was amazed that sometime, you know, before that I was thinking, 'Ooh I'll do it tomorrow, ' but this time I was the other way round, I was, couldn't wait for the day to come so that I can do it again. And then my wife came and, "What did you just do?" "I went to [Town]." "You went to [Town]? Are you supposed to do that?" So I get the booklet out and I'd say, "Well it says here I can do it." So that was my backup which is brilliant.

 

 
 

 

 

Sab talks about what he was able to do at the various stages of his recovery.

Sab talks about what he was able to do at the various stages of his recovery.

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And then for the next few days of being home was very, very emotional and because you can't do very much, you sit and everybody doing everything for you, they're running up and down and every time I moved, "What would you like?" my wife would stand up and [laughs] run for it. And then about three days later I thought, 'Well why don't you go to work and I'll be fine.' Because I knew that if she's not here I will do things for myself. And another friend of mine who also had a triple bypass a year earlier and he came to see me and talked to me about the thing I was going through is normal you know, that you will feel a pain, you don't want, you can't walk, you don't feel like to eat and so this is normal but it get better and, and support from families and friends I think that was the biggest help and encouragement to move on and do that. And then about four/five days later I started walking up and down in the house. It was so cold I couldn't go out for about six weeks and I was so desperate to go and walk. And then as the thing got better, I think about four or five weeks later I went to walk for forty five minutes and I went from [Village] to [Town] and back which is about just under three miles and I felt brilliant. And then I slept for two hours [laughs] because I was exhausted.
 
So from then on, you know, it got better and better and the next, my aim was to go and play golf and I remember going to check up in hospital and say, "Everything's fine we don't need to see you anymore, you are discharged from hospital," which was the more really a reassurance and give me more confidence. And I came home and just carried on, you know, as a normal life – walking and lots of walking and doing things, not sitting down and feeling sorry for myself and that's something you must learn to do. You know it's a wonderful world out there, you need to make effort and believe in yourself and you go and do things that you want to do.

 

 

Sab was determined to build his fitness again and to go back to play golf again. His...

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Sab was determined to build his fitness again and to go back to play golf again. His...

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It took a long, long time. Only at five months after I think my doctor did tell me that because I was so fit, I'm not going to benefit or wouldn't feel the benefit straight away. So I need to get, I've reached the level of fitness I was before we had operation and then you begin to feel that are you better. But when I do feel I don't get any indigestion anymore and the heartburn, you know, we call it and when I'm walking I'm not out of breath either so the last five or six weeks I really begin to feel, yes I played golf, I had been playing golf after fourteen/fifteen weeks but nine hole and then last five weeks ago I started playing eighteen holes and I don't feel out of breath out all. And I now feel I want to go back and have another few more holes to play. So I'm beginning to feel that I'm getting better and better and I feel in myself more confidence now than I did say four/five weeks ago.
 
You were active and a sporty person before have that helped with your recovery?
 
Most definitely yes because that's what motivates you and also give you the idea that where your fitness level is because what you were before and then after. And the golf and the walking that I enjoy and that's my real motivation to get myself to get better and also to go see my grandchildren. I didn't go this year to Canada and my wife did. I really missed that. I didn't want to take a chance to go on the aeroplane because of the leg but I'm getting fit for them because they don't believe that you sit down and give you sympathy, they just ask you to chase them and fight with them which I do with them and that was my motivation as well. Aim to get fitter so I can go and, they don't, not going to catch me when I run [laughs].

 

 

 

 

Sab is a retired driving instructor but after his triple bypass surgery he was afraid to drive...

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Sab is a retired driving instructor but after his triple bypass surgery he was afraid to drive...

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I didn't drive for six weeks and then about seven or eight weeks but then I didn't want to drive. I just didn't want to go on the road at all. I thought no this is much better life walking [laughs] and then my friend who lives in [Town], it's about thirty miles away and I think my wife and his wife, they came to see me and I think my wife talked to them about I didn't want to drive. And then when they went home they phoned up and say, "Why didn't you come over for a meal?" and my wife agreed, you know, without telling me and she said, "Right we're going to go there," and she said, "You drive," I said, "No, no, no I don't want to drive thank you," and she said, "Come on its only up the road," so I yeah, I drove and we got there and I was petrified, absolutely petrified and of course as I'd been a driving instructor and I drive my hand here and every time I went over the bump it really hurt. I mean we got there and I was really pleased. I thought, 'Whoa that's great,' and I ached. I ached so much I couldn't eat food, you know, after I'd driven and then I took some tablets, painkillers, and then I had to drive back and it was in the evening, very quiet, nobody about and then the pain got better and I really started enjoying it. "Oh this is alright." And I came home and that was it after that. Then I went to, it was my wife with me and the little short journey I'd driven after that and then my brother phoned up. He said, "Why don't you come and see me who lives in [City] and whoa. I thought about, driving on the motorway, I thought, 'Whoa I don't think I can do that,' and I said to my wife, "I'm going to go on my own," and she was petrified, more worried about it than I was. So I drove and I really, really enjoyed it, you know, it was just no problem. Bit of pain again my chest pain because of the way I held the steering wheel and when I got there I took some painkiller tablets and coming back again was brilliant so after that I never looked back and I drive whenever I want to every day.
 
 

 

 

Sab describes his exercise group as brilliant and looks forward to go every week.

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Sab describes his exercise group as brilliant and looks forward to go every week.

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After ten weeks, there was some new classes, they're even funnier with [Name] who's unbelievable, you know, we call her Mother Theresa for me [laughs] and the people; one chappie who's old English man. He said, "Memsaab" to me. I said, "No I'm not Memsaab," so I grab his hand and put it between my legs, I say, "Memsaab don't have this," and he laughed his head off. He said, "What's the wrong word?" I said, "Memsaab is a lady, just Sahib is a man." [laughs] So that was a laugh. He said, so he said, "I'm not going to call you that name again." I said, "No you're not holding my hand next time." So and everybody there are brilliant and they're such a funny people and she said, "Sometime, because I give them a cake, some of them been there seventeen years, they don't want to go away," [laughs]. So that's how brilliant this place is, you know, the people make a friend and amazing atmosphere and so I miss it because I've been working or been having a hospital appointment on Wednesday that I haven't been for the last three weeks so I really miss them so hopefully I'm going next, not tomorrow, but next week, Wednesday.

 

 

Sab's cardiac instructor designed an exercise routine that he follows everyday at the local gym.

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Sab's cardiac instructor designed an exercise routine that he follows everyday at the local gym.

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There's one of team session and one the other one cardiac. I'm finished with the, the first, the ten weeks of programme they'd done, gentle exercise, getting the heart muscle going but now I'm doing cardiac training for, sometimes on my own in there or there's no supervision at all.
 
And how do you feel about that, do you feel confident?
 
Brilliant. I feel really lovely because they give me a programme, like a little card so that all items are written on it what I should be doing so every day I do the same. I go, there's seven or eight machines so which I go circuit, like a circuit training so I do warm up and then I'd do this machine and then I'd do and something else then I'd go back to this machine and so on. And I do half way for half an hour and then I do a treadmill and then I do another half an hour on the other machines and I finish an hour later then cool down, cool down exercises and then I come home. Put the card back until next time. So very nicely organised.
 
And who made that card for you, the cardiac card?
 
[Cardiac instructor], a lady called [Name] who is a brilliant, brilliant…
 
Rehabilitation?
 
She's an unbelievable person, such a wonderful lady and such a motivator and she promises you if you work hard she give you cake so we get cake [laughs] end of the session. So all the hard work you do you put it back. She's a lovely cake maker.

 

 
 

 

 

Sab said that Phase 4 sessions provided him with the confidence to do a little bit of running...

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Sab said that Phase 4 sessions provided him with the confidence to do a little bit of running...

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First you're scared of doing things and then you can't wait to do things so then they would say, "No wait. Don't do that just yet." I'd go, "Oh can I go and play golf?" and one of the chappies, [Instructor’s name], training me, they say, he's a golfer as well so he understood how much that pleasure you get playing golf and how important it was. And he said to me, "Oh I'll tell you what, what I want you to do. You can go and play golf but only pitch and putt. If you promise me that's all you're going to do I'll allow you to do that." So I said, "Yeah." So for three weeks that's all I was doing. Every other day I would go to the golf course and just putting and putting and then little pitching, three quarter swing, no big swing and then finally one day he said, "You can take, you can go and play nine holes and no more than three quarter swings. Whereas if you swing here you'll hurt” So I just, this little bit here. I said, "OK I'll do that." So that's what I started and then I came back to him, he said, "Nine holes?" I said, "Yeah." "Did you do the full swing?" I said, "I was naughty one full swing I took accidentally." And he look in my eye, he said, "I don't know whether you're telling lies or true," I said, "Well you, you work it out." "Did it hurt?" I said, "No." He said, "That's fine. If it didn't hurt that's OK." But when I came home after nine holes I ached so much. Oh I was in pain and I went to see a doctor because I was a bit worried. He said, "No it was muscle pain, not the chest pain. So your muscle because it's not there, they will ache." So I felt really brilliant, I thought, 'Fine.' It's the more you do exercise the better they will get. So that's, from then on I never looked back.
 
And how often do you play golf now?
 
I play golf twice a week, sometimes three times depends what mood my wife is in [laughs] so definitely twice a week and I, there is no pain now, you know, I don't get much tired either so I come home and I really, really enjoy it.
 
I have a motivation. I always give myself some sort of target every day. When I go to gym and I go, I said to this girl, now that I a more reps so I do thirty of each, there's a seven machine so I do thirty this bending and up and down and with the legs, arms, curls and then I go on a treadmill for ten minutes and I do all of them in one go and without stopping and I can do it, last two occasions so I'm beginning to believe that my fitness is getting better and better. First I always wanted to run because I give myself , next year, March, April time there's a 10k in [place] for Run for Life and I love taking part so that's my next target so I've got to get fit for that next year. So I'm beginning to believe I can do that and first time last week I run for two minutes on a treadmill and I felt really brilliant for just two minutes so I'm hoping that each time I do it, a little bit more and get fitter and fitter and you feel confident because you think when you're running everything inside going to hurt but it doesn't. It really feels good.

 

 

 

 

For Sab it is important to have a dream and work towards it. His goal is to do a 10k run in a...

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For Sab it is important to have a dream and work towards it. His goal is to do a 10k run in a...

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So I think when you're given a second chance that you choose, you have a choice to do what you want to do and before that you did it, you didn't worry about it, you didn't think nothing would happen to me so it does change your life in that sort of way. So I appreciate a lot more now.
 
And what does the doctor think about you running a 10k next year?
 
He thinks that's a good thing to have in your head and there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to do that.  But I think it's nice to have that, I call it dream. I'm a great believer in dream, if you don't have a dream you're not going to have anything else you know but you must; whatever you want to do in your life, if you try hard enough you can achieve that and I done all my life the things that was impossible for me to reach and I'm thinking, 'Well if I don't try it, I'm not going to be able to reach.' I remember my grandmother saying that if you want to go somewhere, take a step. If you don't take a step you're not going to get anywhere. So every step you take, you get near your dream. So that's what I'm doing I'm taking steps whether I get there or not but so far I have managed to get there. Then when I get there I'm thinking, 'Where do I go from here?' So I plan it and think I'm going to reach that point so I do that. So I never, you know, have that sort of attitude thinking, 'I can't do that.' There's no such a thing as 'I can't.' You can do anything you want but you need to ask yourself, go and do it. You know what you want to do and do it. There's nothing you can't reach.

 

 

Sab assessed the shortcomings of his work as a driving instructor and decided to retire. He works...

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Sab assessed the shortcomings of his work as a driving instructor and decided to retire. He works...

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No, no just a, I'm not doing driving school anymore, I've given that up.  It wasn't stressful just I thought it was time to give up because other people on the road, I was worried about in case somebody bumped you while you're teaching someone to drive and I was petrified of getting hurt again so that was a main reason and so I thought there's no need to and I retired and I've got a very good pension so that was a blessing in a way that I become ill at the end of my working life if you like so that made it easier but the; being examiner is much easier because the people can drive so you sit next to them and conduct a test and it's wonderful to go and meet people and stay with the people. That gives you a bit more confidence as well. I didn't want to sit home and do bits and pieces outside you know and I wanted to go out.
 
So I'm still worried about anybody, like having a head on collision or hitting you anyway in the car and impacts of that accident might hurt you, you know, your chest or in general health so that scared me a bit because what they done to me. And before that I didn't have that feeling. It seems to be fading away as I go along but that was the main reason to start off with and I'm thinking it is a hard work to get someone ready for the test and stressful as well. So I thought I'm going to take that out and make it easy for myself but, you know, this is another lovely thing about being retired that you have a choice that you give yourself; you take some of the element out that you're worried about and make a life easier which I have done. So that makes life much easier.

 

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