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Interview HF13

Age at interview: 69
Age at diagnosis: 64
Brief Outline: 1988 heart attack. Angina 1998. Heart bypass and stent 1998. Uncertain when diagnosis of heart failure made.
Background: Retired practice manager; married with 2 children.

More about me...

 

She explains what her angiogram felt like.

She explains what her angiogram felt like.

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When you have an angiogram you're fully conscious and they put in a needle in the vein in your groin, here. And it's on a, it's like a wire and it goes up the body and it goes up into the arteries round your heart and then it squirts a blue dye, I think it is, and you lay on the table and you can watch it on a screen there. And then... where there is the blockage the dye doesn't go through, then that's the way they can see where the blockages are. And then, that's it really.

What do you feel, what's the effect of that test on you? What do you feel?

You just get a hot sensation, that's all. It doesn't hurt, but then I think they are fantastic, they're marvellous because they can show up the defect. Now I think, had I had one in 1991 then we'd have known better what was going on. I mean, maybe there wasn't a great blockage then but they could have seen how the arteries were furring up as they were. 
 
 

She has not had a diagnosis of heart failure.

She has not had a diagnosis of heart failure.

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No, no-one's ever actually said 'you've got heart failure' and I don't consider myself with heart failure. Things went wrong on a by-pass but now, it's fine...and I don't think of myself with heart failure.  

The only side effect, psychologically, is you lose confidence to do things. Now I used to drive, but at the moment, I'm trying to grit my teeth again and start to drive. I know I should drive because it's essential, you never know when you might need to, I don't feel I'd be unsafe to drive, it's just having confidence. And I have lost a lot of confidence in what; I'm not sure what I'm capable of doing.  

 

She took advice from her pharmacist about when to take diuretics.

She took advice from her pharmacist about when to take diuretics.

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No, I take them, the time I take them... well, yes, it does affect your lifestyle in as much as how many times you need to go to the toilet. So at one time I used to take one of the diuretics at night when I went to bed, in fact during the last summer, and I spoke to my pharmacist in the village because she happened to be a friend of my husband's anyway, and then I spoke to her and told her when I was taking them and she said, 'Why on earth do you take it at night?'  Well I said I have to take three and I was eking it out. So she said, 'Well don't take it any later than midday'. Consequently it is much better at night; I still have to get up twice in the night anyway. But..so it doesn't really affect, well it does affect your life a bit I suppose but I'm so used to it. 
 
 

Her GP is reluctant to alter her medication and she has to remind him to check her blood pressure and thyroxine levels.

Her GP is reluctant to alter her medication and she has to remind him to check her blood pressure and thyroxine levels.

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For the actual medicines I'm taking, it's the cardiologist. The GP won't touch them or alter them at all. Now he is monitoring my blood levels every month and anything else that I want he would give me, except that with all the aches and whatever, pains I've got, most of them could be inflammation which I can't have any inflammatory tablets because they affect the kidneys.

Yes, it is up to myself... to generate and tell the GP that I think it's now time I had my blood pressure done again. And I'd like another blood test done for the thyroxine because I'm taking thyroxine and it's 12 months or 6 months since they did that.  Because although he takes the blood every month, he's only checking the creatinine and the urea which is from the kidneys and then the extra things I have to remind him [I] take. 'Please, I'll have my blood pressure done today', which is normally very low, fortunately, so that's why I keep taking the tablets. [smiles] 
 
 

She has asked if she could stop taking some of her medicines because of their unwanted effects but has been told to stay on them forever.

She has asked if she could stop taking some of her medicines because of their unwanted effects but has been told to stay on them forever.

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Well the perindopril, the ACE-inhibitor, is the one I believe is causing the renal problem. I’d like not to take that, I don’t know why, it’s just a bit psychological I think. But I was told at one time that it stops the heart getting too big, so I mean you can’t stop taking it, and I have spoken to the cardiologist once or twice because most people - after four years you’ve been discharged from hospital but I still see a cardiologist every 6 months - and I have asked her at different times if I can stop taking this, that and the other, like the simvastatin you know, and she always says, ‘No, you’ve to stay on them for good’.
 

Her GP is reluctant to alter her medication and she has to remind him to check her blood pressure and thyroxine levels.

Her GP is reluctant to alter her medication and she has to remind him to check her blood pressure and thyroxine levels.

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For the actual medicines I'm taking, it's the cardiologist. The GP won't touch them or alter them at all. Now he is monitoring my blood levels every month and anything else that I want he would give me, except that with all the aches and whatever, pains I've got, most of them could be inflammation which I can't have any inflammatory tablets because they affect the kidneys.

And what about blood pressure and weight changing and things like that?

The GP does that, yes, but I have to ask him. I say, ‘It’s about time we did this now, or can we have this done now?’ He’s very good but they don’t remember you all the time, so you just have to remind them.

So it’s up to you to generate … 

Yes, it is up to myself... to generate and tell the GP that I think it's now time I had my blood pressure done again. And I'd like another blood test done for the thyroxine because I'm taking thyroxine and it's 12 months or 6 months since they did that. Because although he takes the blood every month, he's only checking the creatinine and the urea which is from the kidneys and then the extra things I have to remind him [I] take. 'Please, I'll have my blood pressure done today', which is normally very low, fortunately, so that's why I keep taking the tablets [smiles].
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