Temporary setback

"To live, and act, and serve the future hour"
(William Wordsworth)

In September 1998, my health suffered another setback. Three of the four grafts performed in the 1993 heart by-pass began to fail. I was devastated, and went into a period of severe depression. I gave up writing altogether and almost gave up on life.

In November, the Royal Brompton Hospital took a look at my health and my heart. I was expecting the worst, but I got the best. They explained that one of the grafts was completely blocked, and that another two were in danger of doing so. The previous operation (performed at a different hospital) had been done in emergency 'life-saving' circumstances, harvesting the only easily available veins from my legs. These were not particularly good quality, and it was inevitable that in time they would need replacing.

I spent a few months suffering difficult side effects as I was tried on different cocktails of drugs to stabilise my symptoms. The Royal Brompton made a detailed study of arteries they could use from elsewhere in my body, and found some good ones. In late May 1999, I had a second heart bypass. The operation went well but respiratory complications set in shortly afterwards after parts of my lungs collapsed. I spent an additional seven days connected to a life support ventilator in intensive care. However, once my lungs recovered and I was slowly weaned off artificial ventilation, I recovered well.

In 2004 and 2005 I had a number of hospital admissions due to severe angina and low blood pressure. This was subsequently sorted out and I now am receiving treatment for acute angina by the Royal Brompton Hospital.