Saturday… Joy and Confusion…

I hoped to find enough Spring growth to do a Six on Saturday post today. Unfortunately, these were all I could find but such a joy to see.

I also hoped to create a post about my hospital appointment on Thursday. Sadly, the stuff they injected into my arm that day had a weird effect on my brain, rendering me incapable of coherent thought. I slept most of yesterday but feel like my old self today.

I had some amazing news which, although very welcome, created confusion and many questions.

The procedure went well; the only painful bit was putting the catheter in my arm. The lights in the room were lowered, and the machines fired up and stickers placed on my chest. Once the drugs were administered, my heart began to hammer as if trying to get out of my chest. This was only supposed to last a few minutes, but it felt much longer as different parts of my heart were watched and recorded.

So many questions were asked about how I had been feeling lately, and I explained my weakness and breathlessness. The doctor seemed puzzled, and then she said the most amazing thing. That my heart had managed to bypass the blocked artery! It had found another source and was performing beautifully. I couldn’t believe it. All this time, I have been suffering from painful angina, terrible breathlessness and lack of strength, which was all due (I thought) to the totally blocked artery. To be told that my heart was perfectly fine and happy seemed unreal and impossible. My doubts must have shown on my face because she tried to explain it better. There was no way that my heart was causing any of these symptoms; something else was wrong. She advised a full respiratory investigation, as this was where she thought the trouble lay.

So, despite the wonderful news, I had more questions than answers. Worrying questions. I am asthmatic, so well used to that, but it has never made me constantly breathless. And if this pain in my chest isn’t angina, what the hell is it?

Of course, I am delighted that I won’t be having a heart attack any time soon, but I face another long wait for this new investigation. Now that I know I will be around for a while, I have decided to pull myself together, exercise more, lose a few pounds and concentrate on my writing…

Thank you, everyone, for being there for me. Your support was much needed and very appreciated. Bless you, all…

Not One of my Better Days…

We waited nearly an hour in the waiting room before it was my turn to see a member of the cardiology team. I was a nervous wreck then, but I tried to answer his questions sensibly without rambling on.

After running a stethoscope over my chest and checking my swollen feet, he turned to the computer and brought up the images from the angiogram I had back in August. He studied these images for several minutes, allowing me to see them myself.

It was weird watching my blood travelling through the arteries. I saw the stent that had saved my life all those years ago.

The verdict was coming, but I didn’t want to hear it as I knew the next step would probably be a bypass, involving opening my ribs to get to the heart of the problem. Sorry about that; I couldn’t help it!

I didn’t fancy that much, even though, if successful, I would be back to normal and be okay. But I wasn’t prepared for what he did say.

My heart, apparently, was quite happy, as some of the other arteries had rallied around and taken over the job of the blocked one, supplying my ticker with the blood it needed. This is something that usually happens on the right side of the heart. He did add that this, although handy, was not ideal as they would prefer to fix the problem properly…

I took a deep breath and waited for him to continue.

… only not someone of my advancing years. But…

He looked puzzled when he said that, and there always has to be a but, doesn’t there?

My symptoms of severe fatigue and breathlessness, in his opinion, didn’t fit with my heart’s current state and could mean that something else was going on. He added that he would arrange for me to have a stress test, where they put my heart through hoops to see its reaction.

He seemed happy with his decision, but I wasn’t quite finished yet.

I had to ask the million-dollar question.

“If you do find anything, what will that mean?”

“Then we would be forced to operate…”

I hope I don’t have to wait four months for this appointment!

Listening to music has helped me to cope with all of this, so I wanted to share one of my favourites with you all…

The Hospital…

The view from my hospital window…

The QA hospital is one huge building, been around since 1904. Parts of it are old and past their best. After twelve hours of sitting in the emergency department, they sent me to one of these old wards.

This ward was not the cleanest place I have ever been in. It was shabby and untidy, and the staff seemed like robots on automatic pilots. An assessment ward is where they put you if unsure of your treatment. Eventually, I would be moved and secretly quite glad of that.

After a few hours, a couple of porters turned up to take me somewhere else. I thought I would walk there, but no. I was told to climb on the bed, and off we went.

I assumed, wrongly, it turned out that my destination would be nearby, but it was on the other side of the hospital, so it was a long ride.

The ward I found myself in couldn’t have been more different. The minute they pushed my bed and me through the door, the patients already there cheered and welcomed me.

It was at the top of the building. It looked new, bright and airy, spacious and cheerful.  I was really impressed. The view from the windows was amazing. I could see the sea and most of Portsmouth, including the Spinnaker Tower.

The difference didn’t stop there. In the other ward, you always had to ask for things, like fresh water or help. Here in this ward, chilled water arrives regularly as if by magic. I would only be there for a few days, but those lovely ladies made a sorry occasion much better.

So, time to tell you the bad news.

It had been eleven years since my first heart attack and subsequent stent, so I was expecting more of the same. After my arrival in the Cath Lab yesterday, for what was going to be quick and easy like the last time, I was confident that my troubles were over.

The time went by, and after a while, I knew something was wrong. And when the technician approached me with one of the saddest faces and quietly said, ‘I am sorry, my hopes fled.

There was a blocked artery, but it was hiding behind the stent they put in last time. I wonder how often that happens? They had tried several times to clear the blockage and had to admit defeat. I had the feeling this didn’t happen very often, judging by his face. Later, the consultant explained that it resisted because the blockage had been growing for a while.

Hearing this, I felt really guilty. This had to be my fault, as I have ignored the signs for ages, not wanting to upset Anita and cause her more problems. Her heart problems are so much worse than mine!

So, I have come home with new medication to ease the problem, but if it doesn’t do the trick, there is another procedure they can do to solve the problem. They seemed reluctant to do it yet, so I wonder why they didn’t do it while I was spreadeagled on the table…


I’m Back!

A Very Happy Chinese New Year of the Tiger…

Image by JL G from Pixabay

The year of the Tiger brings bravery, wisdom and strength, all of the attributes I need right now.

I love tigers, so maybe this year will be wonderful after all…

(This post has been a long time coming, and at times I didn’t think I would be writing it)

Worry is a terrible thing, it steals the quality of life from right under your nose, reducing your world into a place of doom and gloom. We have been sitting on a massive worry these past six months and have refused to start the new year until we had good news.

I desperately tried to keep everything normal, finish my WIP and keep the website going, but I have to admit it was a poor imitation of the real thing, and I apologise for that.

I have not been sharing much of this with our friends and followers and this may seem strange after all your incredible support when Anita had that massive heart attack in 2020. Your love and good wishes pulled us through that terrible time, but when disaster struck again last year, it seemed far more serious, and we really felt that talking about it might make it worse.

Anita’s heart is still severely damaged, and despite having two stents and a pacemaker fitted, it only barely functions. When a series of lumps started to appear around her neck last year, the alarm bells started ringing again.

Because of the raging virus and all the hospital delays, it took months to have the lumps investigated. The consultant mentioned cancer and after deliberation, they finally decided to remove part of her thyroid. Surgery was a problem as they didn’t think her heart was strong enough, but they said that delaying it was not an option.

This was a nightmare time for all the family, especially Anita, for she can’t abide hospitals at the best of times. She has never been seriously ill and to be struck down by two life-threatening illnesses almost at the same time seems very unfair. She made it through this surgery without incident, but we had to wait two agonising weeks to get the results of the tests.

By this time, we were all terrified and sick with worry, dreading the news.

On the day of the appointment, I felt sick to my stomach but somehow kept a smile on my face. I think I held my breath when she was called into the consultant’s office, but five minutes later the door opened and she rushed out of the room, a massive smile on her face. We watched in amazement as she ran out of the ENT department to a standing ovation from the nurses.

By this time, we knew the news must be good, but I wanted to know how good. Just before we all reached the lifts, I caught her arm and made her stop walking. ‘Well,’, I said and waited.

She stood there laughing at me as if she just won the lottery, and I didn’t think she was going to say anything.

Quietly, and for the first time with a serious face, she looked at me and said, ‘there is no cancer…’

All the way home in the car, she kept repeating those words and her relief was wonderful to see. Despite the odds, her poor old ticker had survived the surgery and she was cancer-free.

But four days later, we had to rush to the hospital as she was having trouble breathing again. She is now back home, but it seems that worrying isn’t going anywhere after all.

She is looking better, although still very weak and breathless much of the time. The list of her medications grows ever longer, but … and you may have noticed this, none of what happened has stopped her writing her poetry.

Now all I have to do is get my own head back together!

The Fragile Heart…

image by Jaye Marie

The First Day

Luckily, we left in plenty of time to reach the hospital. Just as well, as it turned out, for when we arrived there were queues of cars on all the roads approaching the main gates.

We joined the queue and fifteen minutes late, crawled through the gates to find road works, traffic cones and red barriers all along the road that lead to the car parks.

This is when Anita began to panic.

She had been relatively calm in the car up until this point, even though I knew she was hating every minute, the closer we got to the hospital. Clearly upset, and probably taking this as a bad omen, she demanded to be taken home. A request we tried to ignore. At our peril, I might add, but the moment seemed to pass, and we were safe.

Finding a place to park was a nightmare and fraught with visions of another meltdown, so when we spotted one, we all breathed a sigh of relief.

Anita was called promptly at her allotted appointment time, and the procedure revealed no clots in her heart whatsoever. A year ago this month, there was a massive clot in her left ventricle and now it had gone! This was such great news, but why was Anita still so breathless?

On returning home we were all completely shattered and turned in early, just to be better equipped for another day at the hospital tomorrow.

Day Two

We left even earlier for the appointment just in case the situation at the hospital had deteriorated even further, and of course, we arrived far too early. We didn’t fancy leaving Anita in Outpatients on her own for longer than necessary. We couldn’t be with her (covid precautions still in operation), so we all sat in the hospital lobby, a very pleasant waiting area and twiddled our thumbs. I mean, what do you talk about on these occasions?

Anita seemed more relaxed today, even though this test was more important and complicated. Yesterdays test was to see her heart working and this one was to check all her arteries using a dye. The possibility of a stent being needed has been mentioned.

This was where todays nightmare began.

They couldn’t they find any veins in Anita’s arms! At this point, I was in the waiting room, (one person allowed today, and only if they didn’t need the chair) and Anita kept appearing in her hospital nightie, waving, as yet another attempt failed! When they finally found one, using some new-fangled machine, we all felt like cheering. Me mainly, because Anita was taking all of this so well and even looked as though she was enjoying it.

This doctor wasn’t as forthcoming as yesterdays, all he said at the end of the procedure was that he had managed to obtain good clear images and they would be sent to the consultant for analysis.

More blooming waiting!

Update on Anita and Deja Vu

After the longest four days, we arrived to collect a pale and fragile Anita from a bench outside the hospital. She could barely walk and still seemed to be in so much pain, even though the terrible breathlessness had gone.

We knew they would have liked to keep her for a few more days but Anita insisted on coming home. And as number one son said, the antibiotics can work just as well on our couch, and he had a point although I did wonder if it was too soon to come home.

On those first days home, Anita was far from well, not comfortable, had no appetite and had trouble drinking anything but the dreadful paleness had gone, and she looked a little better.


We finally managed, over the phone, to prise some proper information from the hospital doctor, and it wasn’t good.

The pneumonia was caused by a bacterial infection in Anita’s lungs, resulting in fluid around her heart. The pain came from a clot they think originated in her heart.

Her heart is still irreparably damaged from last year’s attack and in their opinion, cannot hope to perform well enough to stop this happening again, but they have adjusted her meds to help improve the situation.

The communication has been bad this time, with so much conflicting information. To be honest, sometimes I think they don’t understand how she is still here. At one point I thought they were merely keeping her comfortable.

But… and this cheered us all up … the doctor did say that Anita’s heart is unbelievably strong, even though only half of it is working. Apparently, the half that is working is doing a wonderful job.

We were not surprised by this as we all know about Anita’s legendary determination…

Myself and the rest of the family are deeply grateful for all your wonderful messages of hope and caring, and especially all of the hugs!

Stolen… #Poetry

Image by Marisa04 from Pixabay


I feel like a shooting star
A bullet from a gun
The moment she walked by
Time froze, I could not speak
It’s no wonder Venus de Milo
Lost her arms, shocked at beauty
Far greater than her own
How could I, a mere mortal compete
Dare to hope she would look at me
Undo time from its frozen hold
Let me speak,
my worth will steal her heart
There is another,
whose silver tongue spoke first
I swear that she will never belong
To one who steals her from me…

© anita dawes 2020

Too Much Information!

Life in the Dawes household is on a knife edge now, as the date for Anita’s next and hopefully successful visit to the hospital draws ever nearer.

They plan to be fitting Anita with a pacemaker/defibrillator on Wednesday next week to persuade her poor old heart to start behaving normally. In preparation, we have been bombarded with a cart load of instructions, safety checks and medication updates.

There is so much to remember, and even more information that we really didn’t need, but you know doctors, they must tell you everything, including, in great detail, everything that could go wrong.

Me personally, I like to know what might happen to me, even the bad stuff, but Anita would rather not dwell on that side if things. She hasn’t said as much, but I know she would rather carry on as she is, even with all the breathlessness and fatigue, than walk into that hospital again. If we do get her there, she will be doing it for us, her family and not for herself.

So when the consultant began to describe, in detail, about how he would be feeding several wires through her veins into and around her heart, and that she would be awake while this was all going on, I could clearly see her having second thoughts. 

He then made a tricky moment even worse by rattling off everything bad that could happen while she was on the table. Anita didn’t need him to describe everything she would hear and feel either. I could tell by her face that she desperately wanted to tell him she had changed her mind.

Apart from childbirth some fifty years ago and a broken leg a while back, Anita hasn’t had much to do with doctors and hospitals. Just by osmosis through me and all my many medical problems. For sisters, we couldn’t be more different, even though we look alike…

So, understandably, she is becoming extremely nervous and hating every minute. It wouldn’t take much to have her making for the hills!

These next few days will be an extreme test of everyone’s patience, tact, and diplomacy as we all try to convince ourselves and each other that everything will be fine. Anita will have a Covid test on Sunday and be confined to barracks until the day we leave for the hospital…