"To live, and act, and serve the future hour"
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.