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Interview HF40

Age at interview: 84
Age at diagnosis: 82
Brief Outline: Has had arthritis for many years. In 2001 became unwell with chest pains and soon afterwards heart failure was diagnosed.
Background: Mother and housewife; widowed with 1 child.

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She did not understand her treatment or illness and her son arranged for her to have tests in...

She did not understand her treatment or illness and her son arranged for her to have tests in...

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(This interview was conducted in Punjabi and the transcript translated into English.)

The clothes that I was wearing were the ones I went to hospital in. They took me in a wheelchair and put me on a stretcher and we went to the hospital. My sister's son had also arrived and I asked him to come with me and stay with me because I was scared. He told me that there was no need to be afraid, the doctors would examine me. So I went to hospital and there they took some x-rays and did lots of tests. I don't know what exactly they were testing, blood tests, etc. 

Before that time, actually, I'd had my blood tested ten times. I don't know why though. I kept on asking what was wrong but they would never say what was or wasn't wrong. In this way, having tests and more test, quite a lot of time went by and I myself thought, 'Oh well the problem would go away itself, after all it's only acid indigestion.' But on this occasion they kept me in hospital for four or five days, giving me different medications, doing different tests, and I started feeling slightly better. On feeling better I came home, with medications, and one day the doctor actually visited me at home. But those medicines did make a difference. 

After that I went to America. I discussed it with the doctor and told him that I'd really like to go, my son and grandchildren are there, and when my son learnt I was in hospital he kept on phoning because he was very worried too and wanted to visit me. He asked if he should come over but I said, 'No, don't you come over, there's no need. I'll come to America by myself. From this side I'll be very well looked after.' The nurses were told everything and the flight attendants and they really looked after me. 

Did a nurse go with you? 

No, no, there were only the airline people, their staff took care of me. So I got to America and my family had me checked out by a doctor there. And the doctor said that I was taking the correct medications and that I would have to take them for the rest of my life. I told him that with the medications I do seem to be a lot better. And in America I generally stayed in the house, I carried on taking the medicines and I stayed there a month, just less than a month. And I came back here because there my healthcare was extremely expensive and so I didn't want to stay. I wasn't registered there either, nothing, it was all done privately by my son. 
 

She experienced palpitations at the same time as pain in her arms and chest. (Video and audio clips in Punjabi, text in English.)

She experienced palpitations at the same time as pain in her arms and chest. (Video and audio clips in Punjabi, text in English.)

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(This interview was conducted in Punjabi and the transcript translated into English.)

Lots of palpitations and pain, pain here in my chest and stomach, pain in my arms and palpitations. They then got me into a bed. I don't know exactly what tests they did but after staying in hospital I did improve. After staying in hospital I did feel better. 

They didn't give you an operation though?

No, no operation. 

Just tests?

Yes, they checked me over completely and gave me medications, and with them I'm fine. 

Did that all take place two years ago?

Yes, two years ago. About one-and-a-half years ago. Well the problem was going on and really looked into about two years ago. Before that the doctors kept telling me it was acid indigestion but they didn't really know what it was. Then there was that main problem, when I went into hospital and they did all the tests. But I hadn't had any major problem in terms of my heart. I was okay. 
 
 

She has a lot of help from friends with her shopping as well as from local Indian shops. (Video...

She has a lot of help from friends with her shopping as well as from local Indian shops. (Video...

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(This interview was conducted in Punjabi and the transcript translated into English.)

Before I had someone to do the shopping but now my friends get everything for me. My sister's son gets a few bits and pieces for me, vegetables etc., milk and so on, they'll bring those. They fetch these on one day of every week. Small items, well where I live in [place name], there are one or two of us ladies who have a good group going. They fetch me those things. They say, 'Let us know of whatever you've run out of and we'll bring it for you.' But, you know, some things just go off after they've been there a while. I throw them out and only order small quantities. There are shops very close to us, there are some small Indian shops. I can tell them to bring over things too and they never say no. Just small items, you know. They know that I'm not able to carry them. 

Yes. Do you tell them what you want over the phone or do you go to the shop?

I go to the shop, it's really near. It's like going out of here and up the road. It's slightly far but not much. And whenever I do go to those shops I tell them what I need or I'll ask one of the ladies who lives in our place to go and let them know that I need these particular things, and then they'll bring them over. I've also been using the lift as well for a long time and not the stairs. The doctor advised against using the stairs.

 

 

She was well looked after by airline staff when she flew to America. (Video and audio clips in...

She was well looked after by airline staff when she flew to America. (Video and audio clips in...

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(This interview was conducted in Punjabi and the transcript translated into English.)

After that I went to America. I discussed it with the doctor and told him that I'd really like to go, my son and grandchildren are there, and when my son learnt I was in hospital he kept on phoning because he was very worried too and wanted to visit me. He asked if he should come over but I said, 'No, don't you come over, there's no need. I'll come to America by myself. From this side I'll be very well looked after.' The nurses were told everything and the flight attendants and they really looked after me. 

Did a nurse go with you? 

No, no, there were only the airline people, their staff took care of me. So I got to America and my family had me checked out by a doctor there. And the doctor said that I was taking the correct medications and that I would have to take them for the rest of my life. I told him that with the medications I do seem to be a lot better. And in America I generally stayed in the house, I carried on taking the medicines and I stayed there a month, just less than a month. And I came back here because there my healthcare was extremely expensive and so I didn't want to stay. I wasn't registered there either, nothing, it was all done privately by my son. 

 

 

 

She trusts in God to look after her and says you must be determined. (Video and audio clips in...

She trusts in God to look after her and says you must be determined. (Video and audio clips in...

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(This interview was conducted in Punjabi and the transcript translated into English.)

'I live here alone but my son phones me twice a day, first in the morning at 5 o'clock. In America it's 9 o'clock at night. There's about an eight hour difference. He always says, 'Mum, you must look after yourself.' I tell him that I do and that the rest is taken care of by God, he's my keeper. That's how it is for someone on their own, isn't it? You can't spend your time worrying, you have to stay determined and always try. That's how my life is, dear. 

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