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Sab

Age at interview: 65
Age at diagnosis: 64
Brief Outline:

Sab thinks that the investigation of a chest pain saved him from a heart attack that was about to happen. He had several tests including an ECG and an angiogram. The angiogram confirmed that he had coronary artery disease. Six months ago he underwent Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery (CABG). He joined his local cardiac rehabilitation programme and increased his exercise routine gradually Sab was originally interview for heart attack but some of his experiences like what it’s like having an angiogram and an angioplasty are also relevant to heart failure patients.

Background:

Sab is married with four grown up children and several grandchildren. He is semi-retired and works occasionally as a minibus driving assessor for his county council. Ethnic background' Asian.

More about me...

Sab is married with four grown up children and several grandchildren. He worked as a driving instructor and now in his retirement works occasionally as a driving assessor. Sab was originally interview for heart attack but some of his experiences like what it’s like having an angiogram and an angioplasty are also relevant to heart failure patients.

Sab thinks that the investigation of a chest pain saved him from a heart attack that it was about to happen. He had several tests including an ECG and an angiogram. The angiogram confirmed that he had coronary artery disease and six months ago, underwent Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery (CABG). Sab has always maintained a healthy and active lifestyle so he found it shocking to be a potential heart attack victim and to have been diagnosed with a serious heart condition. He has run 10k for charity several times, played golf, worked in his allotment and he and his wife went to the gym and for regular walks. So the prospect of having heart surgery made him apprehensive and disappointed. He had coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). 

Sab said that the most challenging part of his experience was the initial recovery following surgery. When he woke up from the operation he found himself disoriented, bed-ridden, unable to move and in pain. In fact, the only part of his body he was able to use was his finger to press the button and call the nurse if needed.  

Sab is full of praise for all the hospital staff that took care of him: surgeon, nurses, auxiliaries, and so on. He describes them as professionals but also as caring and sympathetic. Sab felt well cared and informed and hasn’t had a need to look for information elsewhere. A cardiac rehabilitation nurse talked to him about what to expect in weeks after his discharge from hospital and provided a sheet with exact instruction of what activities to do and when: like climbing stairs or washing the dishes.

Recovering from a triple bypass graft surgery is a slow process that requires patience and perseverance. There were times during the first few weeks that he felt apprehensive and worried but he was always able to contact his GP or the district nurse to get their advice or a checkup. He recuperated well and without complications and thinks that his fitness levels prior to surgery greatly contributed to it. 

In line with the nurse instructions, Sab increased his daily exercise until he was able to walk to and from the nearest town totaling fifty minutes. Afterwards, he joined the cardiac rehabilitation programme. Where the nurse and physiotherapist were always at hand to reassured and check on his progress and wellbeing. After he completed this programme he went on to join another class run at his local gym by a trained instructor. He still attends that class alongside other people who have had experiences of heart disease(s) and enjoys it a lot. Sab’s goal is to recover the physical fitness he had before his operation and in addition to his gym routine he is playing golf, walking regularly and working in his allotment. He also has managed to run for two minutes and he is thrilled by it.

Sab and his wife have been married for many years and he says that they have always have had a close relationship that became even closer after his illness. His friends, children and extended family’s love and support have also played an important part in aiding his recovery. One of his friends had triple bypass surgery before him and for Sab this particular friend became an important source of information and support every time he felt worry about a post-operative symptoms or frustrated due to the pace of rehabilitation.

Sab’s feels that he has been given a second chance after his surgery and he is determined to live life to the full; appreciating everything life has to offer and ignoring the ‘silly’ things that used to worry him before.

 

The angiogram showed that Sab wouldn’t benefit from angioplasty and stenting and doctors concluded that he needed a triple bypass instead.

The angiogram showed that Sab wouldn’t benefit from angioplasty and stenting and doctors concluded that he needed a triple bypass instead.

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So he found phoned up and we had that done and it was showing a little blip and then from then on he sent me for more tests so for the next six, seven months I did all the tests, treadmill and so on and finally I went for an angiogram and then they found out that is was much worse than it actually showed and the doctor agreed that they couldn't put the stent in because that would be more dangerous, it would be more than one stent so they decided they wanted to do a triple bypass so then asked me to wait for a date and then they give me a date on December 1st, Thursday and do the operation at 1.30 and, and that's when the operation took place and instead of doing triple bypass then I was told it was a five grafting that they had to do because it was, artery was so bad.
 

During a routine check-up at the chest clinic Sab told his consultant about his chest pain. Tests showed he needed bypass surgery.

During a routine check-up at the chest clinic Sab told his consultant about his chest pain. Tests showed he needed bypass surgery.

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I had an appointment with a chest clinic in the [name of hospital]. So we went to see the my own specialist, the chest was fine, I had a bronchiectasis and he was saying that we now those tablet's working and I don't need to see you for another year which I was very pleased. Anything else you want to talk about? And I sort of said no, that's fine. My wife jumped in and said, "Tell him about the pain you had," and he sort of looked at me and said, "What pain?" So I explained to him so he said, "We'll do a GC," what do you call it?

ECG.

ECG, I always get the words wrong. So he found phoned up and we had that done and it was showing a little blip and then from then on he sent me for more tests so for the next six, seven months I did all the tests, treadmill and so on and finally I went for an angiogram and then they found out that is was much worse than it actually showed and the doctor agreed that they couldn't put the stent in because that would be more dangerous, it would be more than one stent so they decided they wanted to do a triple bypass so then asked me to wait for a date and then they give me a date on December 1st , Thursday and do the operation at 1.30 and, and that's when the operation took place and instead of doing triple bypass then I was told it was a five grafting that they had to do because it was, artery was so bad.
 

Sab talks about how he felt and looked like following his CABG surgery.

Sab talks about how he felt and looked like following his CABG surgery.

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I was still under Intensive Care so and then one; I had, the one thing that really was irritating, I had an oxygen in my nose and making… the mask I had with wire… loads of wire from here, here – chest and you don't do nothing, you just lie there, you're almost as good as dead. There's no part of the body you can move. Unbelievable pain, unbearable pain , you can't breathe properly, you can't turn, you just sit still, there's no sleep for three days but you want to close your eyes to sleep but they made no difference and the experience I had, I forgot it and tell is that the dreams that you hallucinate, hallucinations.

And that was a scary part and being on your own in this private room, nobody else then, no visitors and you're looking round and you can't understand, you can't move, you can't really shout, you can press a button for a nurse if you want to and you even shout, "Why is that happening, what's wrong?" and it just feels that you're not in the room. Every day the room looked different so I was thought I was in a different room again – how did I get here? And then, those, for two days was like that and it was so scary to shut the eyes and it was so scary to open the eyes so you didn't know what, which, you know dimension you were in and how do you get out of here. Night time I opened the room and thinking, 'Am I asleep or am I awake?' and it was so difficult. But the support from nurses and the people in charge, it was so brilliant, they were there to make sure that, reassure you that you are alright. And day and night were just the same, there was, you know, you couldn't, it was nothing to look forward to whether it was daytime or night time so those were the first two days.

And the pain was so, you couldn't move, yeah I was petrified of moving. Only the hand that could move and press the button. And then what… I think about two, two days later then you get up and you drag these things with you to go to toilet and the first time they took a tube out, out of m what do they call it, the willy? And you can pee naturally. That was a lovely feeling, you can feel something that you're doing on your own and the first feeling that you have. So I didn't want to get out of the toilet, I was like ‘I’m staying here now’ and then you drag yourself back.

And so that was a horrendous experience and once I started walking and I was, after three days I was walking up and down the hallway to get yourself fit and I then got better, then I had, one of the male nurse give me a shower which was brilliant and from then on the things got better and better then I was eating a little bit more, drinking a lot, I drank so much water. I remember my first day when I realised I was awake that they said the more water I drink the quicker, better I will get.
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