Nothing can hamper Bob’s passion for life, not even his long history of managing cardiovascular challenges. He suffered a heart attack at the age of 25 and spent his 26th birthday in hospital. This was the beginning of his cardiovascular challenges. Bob describes cardiac health conditions as the ‘central theme’ throughout his life.
In 2009, Bob was diagnosed with heart failure. He was participating in a Crown Green Bowling match as Captain of his local team when he started feeling faint and experienced arrhythmia. He went to see his local GP, who referred him to a cardiologist. Bob was diagnosed without having any blood tests or an echocardiogram (a type of ultrasound scan of the heart and nearby blood vessels).
Bob knew the diagnosis was likely due to his medical history. Although he understood his conditions, it did not make it any easier to be associated with something that was failing. To further educate himself, Bob read as much as possible on heart failure – a lot of which he received from the heart failure nurse team.
While age, lifestyle and family (his eldest brother sadly died from cardiovascular disease) have played a role in Bob’s diagnosis, it is difficult to pinpoint what specifically could have been the main cause.
Living with heart failure has become a constant challenge with which Bob has lived for almost his entire life. Bob now feels involved in his care and relies on his medical team for support, guidance and treatment. His local GP provides good monitoring support for his condition and assists his bedside heart monitoring. Bob wants his children to live their own lives without having to care for him and doesn’t want to be viewed as a burden. He will investigate moving into a warden-controlled/electronically monitored flat in order to receive assistance if needed while still maintaining his independence.
Bob has been able to self-isolate during lockdown and stayed indoors whilst keeping himself mentally active.
Due to his heart failure, he has had to restrict himself to staying indoors in recent years, so lockdown was not a major inconvenience to his way of living. However, he recognises that he is fortunate to have a good size home, a daughter who lives with him and a reliable healthcare team who he can reach out to when needed. He is reassured by the support of his healthcare team and knows they are his ‘back-up’ plan.