Final Words (Seventh and Last Blog!)

The week following the second angioplasty was both better and worse than previously. Better in the sense that, although I was not exactly glowing with health, the improvement was clear. I no longer experienced the breathlessness I had before and the light sensitivity seemed less intense. The downside was the injury to the groin, collateral damage from the procedure, as our transatlantic cousins might term it. The bruising was a sight to behold as it came out over the first few days. Gorgeous long lines of purple, seperated by about six inches, in between which the skin was a strangely exotic shade of muddy yellow.

Walking, even very short distances, was more than a tad difficult for a few days and, even now, some two weeks on, it still presents some difficulties. My cat, Cooking Fat, often seems to display a certain empathy at one level, oft times sleeping beside me when I have been low. On another level she shows an almost criminal disregard for the sensitivities of my much bruised groin by leaping unexpectedly onto my lap from all angles and at any time. Not good….

I seem to be on the road to recovery at least. Having read those rather alarming statistics about mortality rates following angioplasty,  I am pleased to have gotten through the first month relatively unscathed. It’s strange how the way one defines a good day changes with time and circumstance. At certain stages of one’s life it takes an awful lot to make up a good day, at other times one is a lot less fussy. Maybe Wyatt Earp had it right when he said; “Any day spent above ground is a good day!”

Life is a precious thing. A very simple thing to say but very true at the same time. Many of us do not appreciate just how precious until there is a threat that it could be taken from us. The trick is to appreciate how fortunate you are to be alive at all, how lucky you are simply to be able to read these lines on this day, how blessed you are to be an aware, conscious being. An attitude of gratitude, a realisation of one’s good fortune, goes a long way towards having and maintaining a sense of well being in this life.

For my part I am grateful. Grateful to the people who have helped me on this occasion, grateful to those who helped me on previous occasions, grateful to simply have the chance to express these things. Several times in my life it could have turned out very differently. In particular, I am grateful to the NHS and the staff therein. They come in for a lot of criticism at times but I for one have good reason to be thankful to both the institution itself and the staff within.

It is an oft stated cliche that ‘you never know’ in life. As with many cliches there is more than a grain of truth in it. One moment your life is going on much as normal and out of a more or less clear blue sky comes a problem. As far as I was concerned, I seemed to tick all the right boxes to avoid heart problems; non smoker, scarcely a drinker, healthy diet containing mostly fresh, live fruit and veg. No matter, you can still have a heart attack and, if not that, then some other catastrophe can befall you.

One sometime hears people moaning about how unfair this sort of thing is. Well, from my point of view, it is neither fair nor unfair, it just is. Complaining about life’s fairness is not going to help you one bit on the road to recovery from, or even coping with, your problem. This is the hand you have been dealt, all you can do is play it to the best of your abilities. Wishing you had other cards is not going to help!

Apologies if that last paragraph sounded a tad preachy, I have tried to avoid that sort of thing during this blog but, as this is a summary of what I felt during these weeks, I thought I may as well express that part as well. The blog itself has proven to be an interesting exercise but  somehow grew into something much larger than originally  intended. It did allow me to get a few things off my chest and clarify the experience in my own mind.

Hope you enjoyed my scribblings and….most importantly….

Stay Well!

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