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Interview HF37

Age at interview: 54
Age at diagnosis: 49
Brief Outline: Diabetes for many years. Heart attacks 1992, 1995, 1998. Not sure when heart failure diagnosed, possibly 1998.
Background: Receptionist/telephonist; single with no children.

More about me...

 

His cultural background makes it difficult to alter his diet and lower his cholesterol levels.

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I think one of the things is very interesting but I think, I'm not sure if I'm right or wrong [laughs], after the heart attack, the first heart attack or just before I had a heart attack the first time, I should have been on the cholesterol tablets. I was very, it was very high, I was told it was very high, but nobody prescribed them to me, and I don't know why. And when, you know when I learned a lot about my experiences, how the cholesterol and everything, I was wondering why I didn't get cholesterol tablets rather than they advise... well they advised me to lose weight, this is a normal thing to lose weight, the diet, the food and all this, but I wasn't really keeping to it, you know what I mean. I mean to say that's one thing which I think, I should have been on cholesterol tablets a long time ago... otherwise you know they, I think they do their best to control the, the heart and you know to protect from another from heart attack.

When they told you, when they suggested that you lose weight and do more exercise did you try to do that?

Yes I did but I think it's, again it's to do with the culture and the background. I mean to say, if you, if you come from a different background the kind of food, or the type of food you're eating is totally different which is [long pause] which is affecting the cholesterol and the fat and weight, so that's... I try to but may be it was not enough. 

Can you tell me what cultural background you're from and what you do eat?

Middle East, Middle East, and so most of the things is high cholesterol. It's like lamb and... the kind of rice, sweets, cakes and the oil we use, everything is oil, oil, oil, fat and butter and all this kind of thing. It's not like, it's not like the English diet where everything is healthy and vegetables, boiled. As I said even the vegetables are in the oil and fat. So the kind of foods is very very important of course.

 

He can feel insecure and anxious at night unless his girlfriend is with him.

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Yes I live on my own but in a way, that's another thing after the third heart attack... because the, when everything is happening early in a morning that is one of the things, well not early but you know about 7 o'clock, 8 o'clock in  the morning or something, which is very difficult to get hold of anyone and there I feel some kind of insecurity when I sleep at night. So though I got my flat and everything, most of the nights I stay with my girlfriend, who lives in a different place, so I'm there almost every night. That gives some kind of security, and I feel it myself, if she's not there I stay till 1 or 2 o'clock in a morning or 3 o'clock in a morning. If she is there by 11 o'clock I am sleeping, and thank God she's always there! [laughs].

So you actually get a better night's sleep?

Yes

You're more relaxed if you're with someone?

With someone yes. This is very, very important because it's all kind of thinking in your mind, what would happen with this... I when I go to bed if I'm well, you know I get, make sure the telephone is there, make sure the spray is there and this nitrate spray, spray for the heart problem is there, and this sort of thing is a kind of security. 

 

He wonders if he should have been prescribed statins after his first heart attack.

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I think one of the things is very interesting but I think, I'm not sure if I'm right or wrong [laughs], after the heart attack, the first heart attack or just before I had a heart attack the first time, I should have been on the cholesterol tablets. I was very, it was very high, I was told it was very high, but nobody prescribed them to me, and I don't know why. And when, you know when I learned a lot about my experiences, how the cholesterol and everything, I was wondering why I didn't get cholesterol tablets rather than they advise.. well they advised me to lose weight, this is a normal thing to lose weight, the diet, the food and all this, but I wasn't really keeping to it, you know what I mean. I mean to say that's one thing which I think, I should have been on cholesterol tablets a long time ago... otherwise you know they, I think they do their best to control the, the heart and you know to protect from another from heart attack.
 
 

He can no longer run to catch a bus nor can he climb the stairs easily.

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I was physically active before, in a sort of walking, and I used to like sport and well a long time ago I was disco-mad - of course no longer I can not do that these days!  And carrying stuff is... walking is, walking is very slow, it's not like before. In the meantime if I, if I was to walk for you know, I have to make sure that the energy would last me this distance, so I don't walk fast.  But if I'm, the second thing is I cannot run. I mean to say the other day I was, I can see the bus is coming and I wanted to run to catch the bus, but I said, "No, no it's alright I can always delay for another 15 minutes rather than you know get an experience,' otherwise if it was before I would run even behind the bus [laughs] I don't mind, but not now. Going up the stairs, up the stairs, climbing the stairs is very, very difficult, let's see - carrying heavy stuff, these sorts of things. 

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