Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Isn't it about time she was back at work !





Just about three weeks ago a friend of mine who had been feeling unwell for sometime had a massive heart attack.  She was clinically dead for two minutes, if it wasn't for the fact her mum happened to pop round to her home that morning and the professional work of the ambulance crew she would not be here today. 

This friend is a young 38 year old mum of two small children.  Heart attacks are rare in this group of people.

Prior to the heart attack she knew she wasn't too well, she visited the doctor on several occasions to be told it was probably gas or heartburn.  Nothing to worry about.  She was sent away with nothing more than a condescending pat on the back and a few "don't be such a hypochondriac " type comments.

She has since told me that she feels terrible guilt over these visits, that she should have "known" she was ill, she should have insisted she was taken seriously.  But how could she ?  Would you query the "advice" of a GP ?

Just because heart attacks are rare in young women doesn't mean they don't happen.

She had emergency key hole surgery through a tiny hole in her thigh, a stent was fitted and she was discharged within a week with a huge haul of drugs. 

In shock, at home she tells me that its hard to believe it actually happened.  Showing me the bruises, needle and plaster marks almost as if by showing me I too will believe that this beautiful, vibrant young woman had indeed had a heart attack.

Now here is the real issue.  I visited her today and she looks so much worse than when I saw her last week.  She is really suffering emotionally. People are expecting her to be "back to normal" to be "coping"  People are even hinting that she should be back at work ! 

I am horrified by this, she is suffering so much.  Has so much fear that it might happen again, that she might die in her sleep and I can't help her.  I really feel that if she had a huge scar down her chest where they had cut her open to repair her heart she would have been given the time she needed to recover not only from the surgery but also the time to rest to recover her emotional scars.

I really, really want to help this lovely lady so please, please if you have any experience of heart attacks in young mothers or any advice at all to give from a personal experience I really feel it would help her to recover.

20 comments:

  1. How awful. I can't begin to imagine what this must be like. My heart goes out to her. x

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    1. I am so sad for her Susan. You can see she is just not ready for "normal life" she needs to not be put under pressure. Makes me so cross. xx

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  2. That is terrible. It is other people that put pressure on your to recover. I would just say be there for her, listen to her, support her as best you can.

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    1. Thank you Jen, you more than most understand where she is coming from and the fear of leaving young children behind. xxx

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  3. The fact that she doesn't have a scar down the front of her chest is an amazing advance in medicine but when people can't see a gaping wound they don't seem to be as sympathetic. The heart though is a sensitive organ and she needs time to rehabilitate. All heart attack patients I've ever known have had cardiac rehab to retrain the heart again. Has she been put forward for cardiac rehab? There she would probably find support from cardiac nurses and other health professionals. Or maybe chatting to a community nurse would help?
    She should not have to feel guilty and she should not feel she should have to do more. I can't even imagine how frightening it's been for her but I also think she's lucky to have you as a friend x

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  4. Thank you for your comment and I firmly believe that because there is no physical wound people think it can't actually be that bad. I do know she was even questioned by the receptionist at the doctors surgery when she came out of hospital asking her if she was sure she had had a heart attack ! I am appalled by the treatment she has received.

    I know she is now seeing a cardiac nurse (2nd time today) but that was only after she had an anxiety attack at the weekend and was readmitted to hospital.

    I feel she really needs the support of people who have experienced the same thing.

    Thank you xx

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  5. How scary for your friend and its awful that ppl think she should be back to "normal" so soon after!
    I personally don't know anyone who has suffered a heart attack at such a young age but maybe the british heart foundation have a support network? just a thought.
    Big hugs to your friend she should take all the time she needs to recover x

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    1. Thank you Jane, I def think she needs the support and reassurance from young women/mothers who have suffered similar xx

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  6. Karen,
    What you have written is so lovely and so caring. I will be in touch with the very special friend tonight. Let's talk about how we (and other friends locally) can help. I have some thoughts. She is a very lovely lady indeed, and I am gutted to hear how she is feeling.
    x

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    1. Thank you,I THINK I know who you are (message me on facebook) She is indeed a lovely lady and I am so sad that she is feeling this way. It is early days in her recovery and I feel she should still be getting massive support which it appears she isn't : ( xx

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  7. This is heartbreaking. My MIL had a heart attack when she was a young Mum too. Her GP really needs to offer her some sort of support. This is a massive shock to her physically and emotionally, as as someone who is slowly losing her faith in GPs, I am angered by her treatment.

    I'm with Jane about the British Heart Foundation. Like you say she needs reassurance from other young women who have suffered the same.

    I really hope she is OK. You are such a lovely friend x

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  8. Thank you for your comment Tracy, I am in full agreement with you about the doctors surgery. I am horrified by how they have treated her. She needs support and reassurance not this dismissive attitude.

    Will mention to her to get in touch with the british heart foundation.

    Thank you xx

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  9. No experience or real advice I'm afraid, but I couldn't read and not comment. I feel desperately sorry for her, an experience like this must be terrifying at any age, but when you're so young it must feel so much more isolating. And I would absolutely agree that people should not be expecting too much from her too soon. Sounds like she will need the support of good friends like yourself. x

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    1. Thanks Lakota, Just saw messages on her facebook page people asking about times to her daughters party on Saturday. Some people are totally clueless. I just want to look after her and tell everybody to P**S OFF : ( XX

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  10. No advice but just wanted to say she must rest as much as possible, 3 weeks is way to early to be back to working she has had heart attack not a chest infection. Being a mum is a full time job on it's own, the poor lady. If she was 60 and this happened she wouldn't be questioned but it can hit anyone, please pass on my best wishes and to take things in her own time and sod the opinionated know it alls x

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    1. Thank you I totally agree with everything you said. I do think she is being put under far too much pressure too soon xx

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  11. This is totally heart breaking and sadly a sign of the times I think, I really really hope she gets the support she needs, it' sounds like she has a very great friend in you xxxxx

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    1. Thank you Helen, Going through what you are going through I know you will understand how she feels. I do think young mothers have more pressure than anybody else to "get better " quickly.

      Big hugs to you lovely xxxx

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  12. I have no experience with Heart Attacks, but I would think she would need at least 6 to 8 weeks of recovery, not just physically but emotionally. Best wishes to her & her family and for your support.

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