Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Big Thank You

The Big Thank You!

May I take this opportunity of thanking Trigger17 for kindly informing the blogosphere of my recent absence, and also say a big thank you to the 102 bloggers who took the time to email me expressing their concerns and support. Your prayers and thoughts are most welcome and comforting. May I also say a big thank you to my workmates and colleagues in the Corner Shop for their support and best wishes.

This has been a most memorable Christmas period in the Curly household, but not for the best of reasons; some of us were not looking forward to our first Christmas without a very important member of the family in our midst, yet circumstances prevented too much sentimentality on Christmas Day which was the normal bustle of frenetic activity transporting children and sacks of Santa's presents from house to house as we did the family rounds. It was the normal helter skelter of activity and included some quality time with my father before we were ready to crash out at home, long before midnight!

Boxing Day started with the confused indecisiveness of whether or not to run up to Sunderland early in the day to get tickets for the home match against Leeds United, I had a strange unworldly feeling, rather like being detached from reality, it's difficult to put one's finger on it, but I did not "feel right". Eventually I decided not to go to the match (I must have known we were likely to win, but ugly) and thought instead of taking a walk into the town centre to see which shops were open, perhaps in the hope of finding an early January sale bargain.

I had a light lunch and was just installing the software that came with the new graphics tablet when it happened, it came with a slight light headedness and a quick rise in temperature along with a massive feeling of tight compression on the upper chest, arms, and neck which led to breathlessness and sweating. Years of professional first-aid training told me straight away that I was suffering a myocardial infarction (heart attack) and that a 999 telephone call was required. Whilst Mrs. Curly summoned help the children both wanted to climb up on my knee, and couldn't understand my protestations as I pushed them away and sought to settle on the settee. It was hard to exclude them in such a brutal fashion and emotionally difficult to watch them witness my suffering, but fortunately a paramedic was with me in less than three minutes. Having quickly inserted an intravenous vent and administered morphine he then attached a portable heart monitor which confirmed my own diagnosis. The ambulance and crew arrived less than two minutes later and I lost the fight to remain lucid within one minute of settling into the interior of my saviours' transport.

To make matters that little more worse, as I came to at South Tyneside District Hospital it quickly became apparent that I was paralysed from the neck down! This was unexpected and caused my spirits to sink just that little further, the medical team at the hospital's coronary care unit were unsure how the paralysis had been caused and felt that more specialist resources were required to find the cause of my problems, so I was dispatched by ambulance through the pre-closed Tyne Tunnel to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, a journey that took little more than ten minutes! Sadly my wife and father had to stay behind in South Shields.

I have to say that at all times I felt very comfortable, paramedics, ambulance personnel, doctors, and nurses were all saying the right things to me, I felt reassured and calm (even when my heart rate dropped to 15 beats per minute and looked in danger of stopping.) It didn't take long for the coronary specialists in Newcastle to decide to reopen the theatre late at night to perform an emergency angioplasty, they whisked me through without any formal pre-op preparation and spent over two hours investigating then repairing the blockages found in my coronary arteries. I have their tenacity and skills to thank for being here to tell the tale. I give you many thanks guys. Years of smoking, before I eventually decided to give up in 2006, poor diet, lack of strenuous excercise, had all combined to produce the dreadful circumstances that create arterial sclerosis. The left anterior descending artery in the heart was 70% blocked, and two of the diagonals were 100% blocked, my existence was hanging by a mere thread! I now have the arteries reopened and kept open with three stents, small metal coil like inserts designed to prevent plaques building up in these locations again.

Remarkably by 7.30 on Wednesday morning I was feeling magnificent and fresh as a daisy, and full motion had returned! I returned to South Tyneside District Hospital on Wednesday evening and stayed there until this morning when I returned to my family armed with a carrier bag full of tablets and drugs which must now be consumed every day of my life. I now feel as though I have been reborn, or at least given a second chance. The National Health Service performed to it's best this week (although there were one or two issues that I could talk about) and the ambulance service was notable for it's speed, efficiency. and highly trained life saving paramedics, to these I give the greatest thanks of all.

Therefore, I hope you will excuse my absence over the next couple of days as I try to catch up on some lost sleep, regain some strength, relearn how to properly relax, and begin to plan the future. Blogging may be erratic, and visitors of Curly's Photoshop will be treated to one or images from my archives until such time as I am able to get out and about (armed with the camera) on a more regular basis.

My new life is about to start, a change of diet, a change of regime, a fitness plan, and a permanently positive attitude will help me launch the new me!

Once again thank you all for voicing your concerns and support.

Get well soon Curly...
Welcome back, Curly. Living proof that it shouldn't have to be The End if you don't want it to be.
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