On admission to A/E a number of tests took place, all of which eventually diagnosed my dads heart attack, therefore an admission to the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) was required.
We were told that other tests would be performed, including a heart scan, which took place the next day. When I arrived at visiting time my dad told me he had the heart scan, but nobody had spoken to him about the results, so I asked the nurse in charge if it was possible for someone to discuss the results with me. After waiting for the next hour (when visiting time had finished) nobody had come to speak with me, so I told my dad I would leave it until the next day as the staff were probably busy at this time.
Although it would have given us some peace of mind to have been updated on the situation, as by this time we had no idea what cardiac damage he had suffered.
The next morning I called the ward to speak with dad’s nurse and was told that someone would come and speak with me at visiting time, as they couldn’t give me information over the phone (which was totally understandable)
When I arrived on the ward my dad was a little confused as he had been told he would be transferred to another hospital for his angiogram, and he was gathering all of his belongings together, I was concerned as I had been told he would only be transferred after the bank holiday weekend, and I had explained this to my dad.
After waiting patiently for someone to come and speak with us, I was disappointed that I had to ask for this information again before I left, again I was told that someone would come and speak to us.
The next day (Saturday) we were informed that everything was ok with the scan, but dad would require an angiogram, and he would be transferred to another hospital for this to be performed, but seeing as it was a bank holiday weekend, this probably wouldn’t be possible until the Tuesday.
I discussed this with my dad again and reassured him but he seemed confused and still thought he was being transferred that day, however after clarifying he wouldn’t be transferred until Tuesday, I received a call first thing Monday morning informing me that dad was being transferred that day! I asked if I could come up to see my dad before the transfer as I wanted to make sure he understood what was happening (as I knew he would worry that I hadn’t been informed).
I can understand that things change so quickly within the NHS, but sometimes elderly patients need reassurance of procedures, dates, times etc. . .
Dad was transferred later that day, and I made sure I was at the hospital to meet him on the Ward once he got settled to reassure him.
In my next post I will discuss the angiogram, but before I do that, I must address the warning signs that may have been an indicator that dad could have been at risk of a possible heart attack,
Did we miss something?
Would a ‘Angiogram’ have identified the risk, if performed earlier?
Looking back over the last year, I guess the warning signs were already there, dad had suffered 2 blackouts, and although he passed them off as nothing more than just a moment of dizziness, I was concerned that something was not right.
I convinced my dad to make an appointment with his GP to discuss his blackouts, and the on-going dizzy spells and light headed episodes. The GP discussed options of a referral to Neurology or Cardiology.
The referral was made to see a Cardiologist, and after discussions regarding the blackouts a decision was made to fit a loop recorder, which would detect any changes, such as a drop in his heart rate which could have caused the blackouts.
This required a small operation under a local anaesthetic to insert the loop into his chest, just under the skin.
Details of the ‘Loop Recorder’ can be found on the following Link:
The procedure took place in September 2014, dad had not had any further blackouts, and no significant recordings were made. A routine checkup in December didn’t show anything of concern, and he was told to continue to record anything that he thought was relevant, of which he would report so this could be checked out in the cardiology department.
We explained that he was still having episodes of dizziness and was still feeling light headed, but we were told to continue recording anything untoward or concerning.
I must admit, I did not feel assured at this time, and I was not convinced that my dad would identify with an event that he thought should be recorded. I was concerned that he struggled using the recording device, which button to press, he was also unsure what required recording.
It all seemed a little confusing for my dad, but it was a start and we could only follow the doctors advice.
I didn’t feel that this option gave us any answers, and it was more or less down to us to follow this up.