Chronicles of the Heart – Part 11…

I’m losing weight. So what, you might think? Well, I’ve been eating one meal a day since about 2002, and yet I’ve been unable to get, and remain, much below 15stone.

Since my heart failure diagnosis, and steady diet of diuretics, I pretty promptly lost half a stone, taking me to 14st 7lb, and there I stuck.

Yesterday, though, seeing myself in the bathroom mirror, my face looked positively gaunt, and white as a sheet – one of those very Continue reading


Chronicles of the Heart – Part 10…

Right, it’s official – I do have heart failure. Or mitral valve failure, or some bloody thing!

There must be some decent doctors in the system, somewhere but, somehow, they never seem to come my way.

They did an ECG – about 5 seconds worth of trace, which struck me as inadequate – not everything will show up in that short period.

Then I was wheeled in to see the doctor who, based Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart – Part 9…

As I said in this post I now have my hospital records. I won’t repeat all that I said there, but the first ECG, taken on the day I was admitted clearly states:-

Abnormal ECG “Unconfirmed” (unconfirmed, of course because no bugger followed it up!)

  • Sinus tachycardia*
  • Left atrial enlargement**
  • Inferior infarct, age undetermined***
  • Cannot rule out anteroseptal infarct****

* Elevated heart rate

** There’s little data available, but odds are it’s linked to my COPD. Don’t know why just yet.

***I know the age. It dates from 1995 when I was admitted – Arrowe Park again – with a suspected coronary. I was kept in 2 weeks, told it had been angina and sent home. That “angina” took me months to recover from.

**** see ***.

It addition Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, Part 7 – addendum…

In Chronicles of the Heart, Part 7… Beware of Candesartan I mentioned that for unknown reasons, I’d developed colitis/IBS. Which was true, but the reason was elusive because I felt so crappy I just couldn’t focus. This afternoon, having started my yoghurt therapy for IBS, I can think a little more clearly.

The reason I have colitis/IBS is that I have GERD – Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease, which goes hand in glove with COPD very often, as in my case.

For 4 months, because heart failure prevents my lying down, I’ve had to sleep sitting up, on the couch (and god, am I sick of that!), which in theory should prevent reflux, but my oesophageal sphincter is so buggered that’s not the case and, this week  just past, I had a flare-up (and if the acid gets in the lungs, not only is it agonisingly painful** Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, Part 7… Beware of Candesartan.

As some of you will know, I’ve had a pretty bad couple of days, and at least part of the cause, I believe, is a combination of Candesartan (heart failure drug), and COPD.

One of Candesartan’s functions is to improve kidney function. If you are already taking a diuretic, as I was (Furosemide – Lasix in the colonies), Candesartan pushes it into overdrive.

In one respect that was great – the oedema in my legs is almost gone – in other respects Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, Part 6…

Progress at last.

Last weekend I was prescribed Candesartan (an angiotensin II receptor antagonist**), which I started last Monday (always best with calendar packs, if you can).

**Basically a vasodilator, which reduces blood pressure. Apparently, it improves kidney function too.

First impressions were an overall increase in pain levels, which seems to have passed off. I also, briefly, had serious Continue reading

Flu vaccine for 2011-12…

GPs have been told to get a move on and order their flu vaccines for this autumn (Pulse Today, log-in/sign-up needed). This is to avoid the shambles of the last flu season in which some areas ran out.

I have, in the whole, come out against flu vaccines of late, not least because I’m mostly housebound so less vulnerable that in the past. However, because I now have heart failure, the severity of which is STILL unknown after 4 months, I think it might be wise to have it myself in future (however long that might be – I really need to know that).**

This is partly because I have Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, Part 5, addendum…

Well, this afternoon, I have a new drug from my GP. It’s Candesartan,an angiotensin II inhibitor – basically, it lowers my blood pressure and, as a, bonus, because my diuretic, Furosemide (Lasix), is doing very little, makes me pee more. Oh joy!

But – and it’s a bloody big but Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, Part 5…

In Part 4I published a copy of yet another angry letter to my GP, in which I said I would try to get in to see him last Monday. In the event, it wasn’t possible (I never thought it would be).

I added this to the letter before I faxed it:-

“So, three months after I was first diagnosed, and here we are, no further on. Just look at that from my perspective for a moment – how incandescently angry would you feel in my position?”

Yesterday morning, when I was beginning to wonder if I’d actually get a response, I got a phone call from my GP. He was quite conciliatory, told me he’d arranged for a full cardiology assessment on the 26th of May.

In addition Continue reading