So many people have been surprised that I had been ill and have asked me “what happened?”, I thought I’d publish these two notes that I sent for colleagues at the time. I will also post updates of my progress.
1st note – 19 January 2012
REPORTS OF ERIK’S DEATH GREATLY EXAGGERATED (SO FAR)
I went to work feeling just fine on Monday 9th and whilst having a conversation with one of my people about their forthcoming wedding, I got pains in my arms. This spread to my chest and I began feeling nauseous. Suspecting indigestion (canteen Cheese on Toast) I went back to my room with a view to going out to have a ciggie to ‘get over it’ . I began to feel more uncomfortable, so shut my door and soon found myself crouching on the floor behind my desk (come to think of it, not a great idea). By chance, the contractor’s cleaning managers (who must have been dispatched by my ‘guardian angels’) opened my door to ask whether they could “check the cleaning”. I said I didn’t feel very well and could they “come back later”? ! (another nice one Erik). They obviously didn’t think things were quite right and went to the boys in ISIT (probably to tell them the guy next door was not right in the head!). The rest of that bit is now history as the boys summoned Dr Barnsley who advised a call to 999.
The paramedic (who incidentally had me hooked up to ECG and had administered life saving Aspirin & a tablet to dilate blood vessels within, what I believe to be, less than 10 minutes of the call!), said I was going to hospital despite my protests and I was blue-lighted to Blackpool Victoria, possibly the best cardiac unit in the country. I did not however get sirens – you would think after all the taxes and NI I have paid over the years I’d be entitled to bloody sirens wouldn’t you?
ECG & Blood tests confirmed my heart attack and the subsequent angiogram, echo sounding, x-rays & Doppler tests have shown that as well as all 3 main arteries of the heart having substantial blockage my carotid arteries are damaged. I have been told that had I not been spotted crouched behind my desk I would probably not have had to suffer the worst catering I’ve experienced since school dinners.
My trip to the operating table is booked for 8.00am next Wednesday 25th when they will be doing a minimum of a triple by pass (though I understand the surgeon will do more if he thinks it would be beneficial “while he is in there” – a sort of BOGOF). I do not yet know what is planned for treatment of Carotid Arteries but think I have fallen lucky with the Surgeon (apparently top-man) and the Senior Cardiologist (a 6 foot serious and powerful Scottish lady with a heart of gold) who both seem to like me and have said they fully intend to ‘totally fix’ me. Indeed, Kenny Dalglish has said he will probably not need to sign anyone else in the January transfer window. After begging, I was allowed home on Wednesday 18th, on medication and my promise of good behaviour (some chance of the latter eh?) rather than stay in hospital until the surgery. The messages of support , telephone calls, visits, texts and the help I have had from my family, friends and colleagues have been overwhelming and have made me quite emotional. Everyone has been fantastic but obviously, above all, I feel so lucky to be married to the most wonderful woman in the world and have two amazing sons. I’m still on that emotional roller coaster and probably will be for some time…so forgive the sloppy stuff. In the very unlikely event that I not come through this I have demanded that Viv gets “I will Survive” played at my funeral to make the sods cry.From now on it is one day at a time and sadly huge losses of jobs in the tobacco industry.
2nd note – 13 February 2012
ERIK’S UPDATE – KNIFE GANG STILL AT LARGE
People in the vicinity of Blackpool Victoria Hospital have been warned that the thugs who attacked me with an angle grinder and various sharp instruments may have claimed more (lucky) victims!
It’s just a couple of days shy of three weeks since my quad bypass surgery now (how time flies when you are enjoying yourself!) and I thought it was time I wrote a short update / ‘thank you’ note. I must have cornered the market in ‘Get Well’ cards/letters/emails/texts of support (not to mention the hospital visits) and cannot begin to tell you all how much this has meant to me. All I can offer is a heartfelt thanks to those of you who have taken the time to think of me and give me such robust support…you really are special people.
As for my progress….I had a setback last week when my chest wound began leaking heavily; so badly in fact that I was fearing an Alienesque eruption from my chest. Thankfully, my GP was swiftly out to see me and give me antibiotics which seem to have resolved the issue. Clearly I still have a breastbone that needs to knit back together and some pretty amazing dueling scars on my chest and legs to heal but surprisingly, my biggest angst is the aching in my arms/shoulders and upper torso. This discomfort is stopping me sleeping which, in turn is giving me less energy for the daily walking regime am trying to increase.
In a couple of weeks time I have an appointment with physios in Wigan and I guess that when the real work to get better begins. In the meantime, I’ll continue the walking and other permitted exercises to get myself in better condition. I lost 6Kg (about a stone) in weight post operation but I’m now eating for England and expect to get back to my normal fighting weight soon. Indeed it is my goal to get back to work before my leaving date at the end of March despite the 13 week note my Dr has issued.