Interview HF12

Age at interview: 75
Age at diagnosis: 65
Brief Outline: Heart attack 1971. Angina 1973. Increasingly breathless and tired during 1990s during which heart failure diagnosed. Prostate cancer 2000. Gout and kidney failure 2002.
Background: Retired miner; married with 3 children.

More about me...


He started smoking aged 14 and gave up when he retired.

I smoked, I used to have a fag, I used to smoke about twenty a day, which was Capstan. Used to be the best in those days. If you could smoke a Capstan you were, you were with it, you know! [laughs] So' and then after my heart attack I got a milder brand, which was Embassy! [smiles] Thought I was doing better 'cause I got a milder brand, but it was rather strange, they say smoking is just a habit, because there were days when we had trouble in the mine, I'd worked twelve hours underground, I'd been at work eighteen hours, and never had a cigarette because you couldn't. But when I came to the surface, went to my office, the first thing I did was open the desk drawer and have a fag! And coughed my heart up, you know! [smiles]. 

So after a while I realised it just couldn't go on, you couldn't. The doctor told me about smoking like, and I tried really hard. And different ones would say, 'Come on, come on you silly devil, have a fag, have a cigarette'. And at the finish I had a badge 'Please don't give me a cigarette. I've stopped smoking' [laughs]. And I used to put that on me coat. And I just packed in, stopped. I just stopped and, mind I was bad-tempered you know, bit me nails and after about a month I could manage it alright. I've never had a cigarette since about 19' well 1982 I retired, 1984'1986...1988, haven't had a fag since, cigarette since, have no desire to have one.


He becomes aware of his heart beat and gets breathless if he lifts things.

Shortness of breath, you know, wanting to do things more or less like out of the ordinary, such as gardening, you know. Out of my ordinary scope, of course, I can't, because shortness of breath steps in and you can feel your heart sometimes, you know? You can feel it's there, it starts to... you can feel the beat. And when I start to feel the beat then I know it's time to slow down. If I'm making an effort, such as lifting anything, you know, lifting anything I find I've got to quickly get rid of that load, that weight, because it starts the shortness of breath. And you feel as though there's something there in your chest. And all these sort of things happen but, you begin to live with it, and you automatically, you know, stop or slow down whatever you're doing. And that's how' There's a continual thing there to remind you, you know, there's this little' you just can't explain what it is but it tells you that you're not A1, there's something there. 


He does not want more information about his heart failure.

No, I'm happy, you know. I think a little knowledge can be dangerous and what you don't know about' and as long as, you know, touch wood, I feel quite, quite healthy in other words, you know? Don't mind at all. I mean at my age I can move about and get about, but mind after sitting here and talking they'll probably have to lift me out of this chair! [laughs].

He wonders if anything else can be done to treat his heart failure.

Well, the one thing I would like to ask is, if my heart is in such a condition as what they say, you know, can't have this medication and can't have this done to you and that, because of your heart, why am I not having some treatment of some sort or why isn't something being done? You know, or can anything be done? That's a better way to put it' not why has nothing been done... can anything be done?

Have you ever asked that question yourself of the doctor?

No, I've never asked the doctor, never bothered, no.

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