/posts/ 2024/a-bad-start-to-the-year

A Bad Start to the Year

Jan 28, 2024

#health #life 

On the 30th of December, I sat on the sofa finishing a few bits of coding on the Hackspace API for Leigh Hackspace. I moved to put myself in a better position because I felt uncomfortable and felt an ache in my arm, much like banging your funny bone. Within a few seconds, it felt like my entire back had locked up and I couldn’t do anything to get in a good position again. After grumpily stomping through the house for a few minutes Jo suggested we head up to bed for an early night, but after a minute or so the ache suddenly moved to my chest.

I’m usually stubborn when it comes to medical matters, refusing to go to the doctors if I’m not in too much inconvenience, but thankfully this time I thought to myself that this wasn’t normal, nothing I had experienced before, and decided to head into A&E to get checked out.

As it turned out, I had a coronary incident, a heart attack in common lingo. Thankfully it was a ‘small big heart attack’ in the words of the consultant. I didn’t need any surgery, or a ‘stent’ placed in my artery, as by the time I got to the Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital the block had cleared itself. I have also been diagnosed with heart failure; scary big words but all it means is that my heart is operating below expected.

As you can imagine this was the singular most frightening experience of my life. I’m now approaching a month after the event and I think for the first time I can write about this without having some sort of anxiety attack over the thought of it. For a few moments in the hospital, I had thought it was the end, not because I was actually at any risk, but more that my unhealthy lifestyle had finally caught up to me and was presenting real, in your face, issues.

I have several risk factors, I’m obese, Type 2 Diabetic, and have high blood pressure. I didn’t know at the time that I also had high cholesterol. My blasé attitude about my health was down to not seeing any real impacts on my life, I was just a ticking time bomb waiting to pop.

…and it happened.

My old life is over. I can’t do this to myself any more.

In the past month after leaving the hospital, I have started eating a healthy, balanced diet. I’ve dropped nearly 10% of my body weight (which is insane to think of as I type this!), my T2D is under control, and my blood pressure is the best it’s been in years.

Don’t be me. Everything that happened to me was easily preventable if only I cared to change. No doctor is going to dismiss you if you want to get an ‘MOT’ and check yourself out, catching the contributors early can stop it.

Without these wonderful people, I might not be here today. At some point I’ll be doing some fundraising for them, but that will be after I recover a bit more.