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Interview HF02

Age at interview: 82
Age at diagnosis: 72
Brief Outline: 1996 pleural effusion in right lung. Heart failure. 1998 ruptured abdominal aorta.
Background: Retired financial accountant; married with 2 children.

More about me...

 

He was not well enough to really understand his diagnosis.

He was not well enough to really understand his diagnosis.

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Well I don't know what they did for four and a half weeks while I was unconscious obviously,  but I think that the thing that came uppermost was that I was terribly weak, hopelessly weak, and I was aware that they were giving me all sorts of food to build me up. But I got frightened by this, and I think at times I was a very poor patient, not that I reacted against the treatment but I think I was... confused about the whole thing and I had to start and learn things right from the beginning again.

I think I was told a few things but I was not in a receptive mood, I couldn't take it in. I mean my life had been blank for four and a half weeks, and I had to be nursed back to normality against all the prognosis and I think a lot of what I was told didn't... receive in my mind. Does that help?

Well they kept drawing blood from me of course, but there wasn't anything very special at all about the treatment I don't think. They'd got the... I was very much congested in the chest and so on and they cleared that up and then they began to talk about me going home. I was very happy about that but they didn't tell me a great deal about my condition. The doctor simply said 'Well you've got heart failure and you need to be careful of what you do,' full stop.

 

Holidays were a problem for him, but now he goes on organized coach trips.

Holidays were a problem for him, but now he goes on organized coach trips.

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Holidays were a problem, I don't think I went on holiday for two years after my major illness, we had arranged that, the year I was ill, we had arranged to go to Fort William, Scotland, and we had to cancel that. And then I don't think we went away for two years.  And then we started to go away on one of these coach holidays. And all we have to do is get a taxi to take us from here to the bus station, they take the luggage and we don't see it again until it comes to our bedroom, and this is what we do and this is very enjoyable, to be able to do that. And I think it's wonderful to be able to do that. I mean last year we went to the north of Scotland to Ullapool and we went to Ireland, who would ever have thought that I could ever do that! 
 

He's prepared for death and isn't afraid.

He's prepared for death and isn't afraid.

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I'm aware that I could die at any moment, I'm aware that I might not be here tomorrow. I've tried to meet that circumstance, it's a mental thing, I have arranged my own funeral, I've paid for it, and tried to set my affairs in order so that whoever tries to look after my estate whoever it is, will have the easiest passage imaginable. I've brought my financial affairs into some sort of simple order and I don't worry about the future. I've done all that I possibly know how to, to cope with that eventuality whenever it happens, whether it happens tomorrow or three years time or what have you.

But I'm not worried about the future. I'm not afraid of death; I'm afraid of dying and there's a difference isn't there. I mean if I went to bed one night and didn't wake up in the morning that would be the way I would wish it to be, just as simple as that, like turning over a page.

 

Explains how he had accepted that he will die and has arranged his own funeral.

Explains how he had accepted that he will die and has arranged his own funeral.

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I'm aware that I could die at any moment, I'm aware that I might not be here tomorrow. I've tried to meet that circumstance, it's a mental thing, I have arranged my own funeral, I've paid for it, and tried to set my affairs in order so that whoever tries to look after my estate whoever it is, will have the easiest passage imaginable. I've brought my financial affairs into some sort of simple order and I don't worry about the future. I've done all that I possibly know how to, to cope with that eventuality whenever it happens, whether it happens tomorrow or three years time or what have you.

My doctor calls me his star patient! And that is encouraging to me, I don't know whether I am really his star patient or not, but he's bolstered me up to that extent and I've something to live up to!

But I'm not worried about the future. I'm not afraid of death; I'm afraid of dying and there's a difference isn't there. I mean if I went to bed one night and didn't wake up in the morning that would be the way I would wish it to be, just as simple as that, like turning over a page.

 

He apologised for bothering his GP when concerned about a bad throat but she was glad because she hadn’t seen him for over two years.

He apologised for bothering his GP when concerned about a bad throat but she was glad because she hadn’t seen him for over two years.

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But I went to see the doctor just before Christmas, I got um… all clogged up in my throat, and thought to myself, well if there’s something going wrong I don’t want it to happen over Christmas and be a bother to everybody, so I made an appointment. And she said, ‘No, everything’s clear.’ She examined me and so on and she asked, that was when she asked for my cholesterol to be tested, and that came back with a clear report. But and oh yes I apologised, this was coming to your point, I apologised for bothering her and she assured me it was no bother because she said this was the first time she’d seen me for over two years, or any doctor. So, which is very good.
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