It's been 11 days since my heart attack, 11 days since my last cigarette and 7 days since my procedure to implant the stents.
The hardest thing has been not knowing how far to push, or how far not to push my recovery to build up strength again and get back to normal living.
I was collected from the hospital last Saturday by my Niece, and driven directly to her Mother's (my eldest Sister) home, where it was planned for me to stay until the Monday. My Sister Barbara is 13 years my senior, a very fit, energetic woman, but can't make a cup of tea to save her life.
Although I did not lounge in bed all day but got up as normal I have to admit to not bothering to get dressed all the time I was there. It was far easier and more comfy to stay in PJs as I was not going to leave the house throughout the whole of my stay.
It was lucky that the weather for the weekend was sunny and warm which meant although I couldn't get out and about we could spend most of the days sitting, eating, drinking and yacking, in the garden.
I actually did more pottering those 3 days than I first thought I would due to the fact that all the time I was there I only allowed Barbara to actually make me 2 cups of tea. The rest I made myself on the pretext of needing to get some exercise and not sitting lounging all day. I didn't have the heart to tell her that her tea was vile, as she was so good to me and waited on me hand and foot.
On Monday evening I was collected by my Daughter Sarah, and Co. to be taken back to their home and stay until my daughter deems me fit enough to be left to my own devices once again and allowed back to live by, and take care of myself.
On Tuesday when all went off to work I was left in the capable hands of my youngest Granddaughter Jess (15), to be there "just in case", and more importantly to make me tea. I was also made to promise that I would do no more than lounge around, play on the comp and wander out to the garden.
I think Sarah forgot that I had just spent the last 3 days doing exactly that and really should start thinking about being a bit more active. But that also turned out to be another day that I had my shower and got directly back into another clean pair of PJs.
It turned out a fun day. Jess is great company. We watched a couple of dvds, she cooked cakes, and I taught her to clean out the aquarium, (my aquarium - in Sarah's house - my job to clean out each week - Long story, just don't ask), as I wont be able to lift heavy buckets for many weeks.
The following day on Wednesday I am now getting a bit worried that I'm not getting enough exercise to start building up my strength and more importantly my heart. So with just Jess and me spending another day on our own together, armed with a mobile and my nitro pump spray, Jess and I set off for slow, steady, 20 minute walk in the sunshine.
Thursday I had a change of keeper. Jess was back to school but my eldest Granddaughter Aimee (20) was stuck with me. Now Aimee is not so easy to lead in the direction one wants to go. She took her caring of me very seriously. I wont go into details but I was lucky to be able to be out of her sight long enough to go to the loo on my own.
I had a bit of a fight on my hands when I suggested a 30 minute walk in the sunshine to give me some exercise. "Too soon. You are meant to be resting. You don't need to be walking around yet." - In the end we did have a lovely 30 minute walk. Timed by Aimee. I had after all said I wanted a 30 min walk and that is exactly what I got.
However, when Sarah and Jess came home later that afternoon, they needed to drive into town to pick up a new pair of shoes for Jess, so I suggested that Aimee and I went with them for the ride, which we did, so I managed to get another 45 minutes out of the house.
Yesterday I also managed to get out and about for a bit. I asked Sarah to drive me into town to just visit W.H.Smiths. There was a few bits of stationary I wanted to sort out my filofaxes. From there we drove to my flat to pick up a few bits I needed to take back to Sarah's. Not good news on arriving. A pipe was found to be leaking in my airing cupboard. Not a pretty sight with all my towels, sheets, etc., dripping wet.
One phone call to the association though and it has been left in their capable hands to send in a plumber and get it fixed while I am not there.
So you see, I haven't really been getting much exercise since coming out of hospital, but it's hard to know just how much or how little is the right amount of exercise at this point.
I am still covered in many painful bruises. Walking and sitting for the first few days was extremely painful from the bruises left around the femoral artery. Although the bruising is still there and very nasty at least it isn't so uncomfortable now. Same with my right arm and from where they entered the artery there. That is still very painful and in actual fact is still keeping me awake at night. The twitchy, twingy pains one continues to get in the chest after stent implants is a bit worrying as one is never sure if it's a normal twinge after this procedure or if it's the start of a new attack. Those pains should soon disappear though I am told.
So finally we come to the fags, or lack thereof.
I can't say I am proud of myself for quitting. It hasn't really been my choice. It has only been the sheer fear of another heart attack that has stopped me lighting up again. And quitting has made me miserable. To be in pain, scared, and having ones independence snatched away, albeit for a short time, is not a good time to quit. To add insult to injury it hasn't been the fags that have caused this, although they wouldn't have helped, hence the quitting. This would have happened if I had never smoked in my life.
Funnily enough not one of the many Doctors I have seen have even suggested or advised I quit. The simple question of "What are you going to do about smoking" 2 days into my hospital stay, and my answer of - "I had my last fag ever before my heart attack" was enough for them. No discussion, no lecture, just a simple, "Would you like help? We can offer help with quitting. Would you like a nicotine patch?" I didn't need any help. Once I had decided "no more fags" it really was just a case of no more.
But the good news is, that my full recovery relies on 3 of my favourite activities. Walking, Swimming and Cycling. It's now just a matter of waiting and building up slowly until I am ready to do all three again.