Surviving Heart Failure

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My name is Annie, but every one calls me Smiley. I have been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure that was triggered from battling a Septicema Infection (blood poisoning) in 2009.

After leaening the cons of this illness. I took the next step in learning how to bring the pros of this illness into action. If interested, please let me know.

God bless

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  • Posted

    Husband has heart failure, possibly caused by infection, his left venticle has failed, all stretched and out of shape. When discharged from hospital nearly six years ago not expected to survive, letter to GP, from hospital.

    Discharged as there was no more they could do for him, could not walk across room without being dizzy, EF 23%, given a chemists shop of medications. 

    Started walking from lounge chair to chair at front door, 20 steps, couple of times a day for a week, then chair at letter box, again couple of times a day for a week, then chair at neigbours letter box, again for a week, in 18 months walking close to 5 kilometers.

    Dr's amazed when he showed up for 6 month cardio appt, never expected to see him and said as much.

    Echocardiogram showed EF back to high 40%, over the next 5 years slowly started falling again, each echo showed worse results.

    Has since had a pacemaker installed as he has 100% blockage of his electrical system in his heart, collapsed at home, BP normal, but heart beat at 30, in hospital dropped to 23BPM.

    At that point the senior consultant became involved and told the young Dr's off in front of us, and ordered he be given pacemaker immedaitly, beleive he got lucky as young cardio's were not listening to what we were saying were symptoms of deterioration of his condition, bicep pain was being diagnosed as rotator cuff, arthiritis of shoulder, pinched nerve in neck, and damaged muscle in arm, None of those, said consultant, wife is right, its coming from his heart.

    I have become a bit of an expert in heart failure, Dad died of same condition, in 1983 before miricle drugs of today available, had it for many years when I was a child, took sister, a senior nurse to point out to me that you could diagnose heart failure at a 100 yards you lived it your entire life.

    I have educated myself so i am using correct terms, reading cardio books, reading on-line per to per papers availble on the internet from university sites, even consultant said to juniors she knows what she is talking about, so don't dismiss her lack of a medical degree, as they were doing in the lead up to his pacemaker being installed.

    Doing very well, except for broken leg last Nov 2016, when he fell of a ladder, ditz, that has slowed him down, and put on far to much weight sitting around doing nothing.

    Pacemaker appt, 20 Dec, checked pacemaker, and I believe set it back to manufacturer rate, in error, breathless when trying to do anything, but watching carefully.

    Should have first echo again in April, since pacemaker installed, see what is happening then.

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    • Posted

      I was very interested to hear that your husband managed to walk so far.  My husband was diagnosed with heart failure a month ago and was discharged two weeks ago.  He is still very weak and goes upstairs with difficulty.  How long does it take to get stronger.  His ejection fraction was 20%.  He is on a lot of pills.
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    • Posted

      Diana - Oh I feel for you both, this is a very scary time, learning to cope with the changes this heart failure brings about.

      I can well believe he is having problems climbing stairs, I don't think my husband could have managed stairs for probably about six weeks after he got home.

      I got husband straight onto a very good diet, lots of fresh fish, Chicken, fruit, especially vitamin C, look up theories on how good Vitamin C is for heart patients, oranges, or anything that contained vitamin C, he was just craving oranges, I certainly think to this day they helped.

      Lucky we have a fish shop, wharf, only a short distance about a mile down the road.

      Got help from the hospital with what we should be eating and I turned our home into a prison camp I was told.

      Did the hospital tell you to restrict his fluids to 1 1/2 litres a day.

      No salt, well so close to no salt it doesn't matter, you will find you can buy nothing pre-prepared from the shops that doens't have loads of salt in it. If i remember 11 gms a day is what we were advised.

      After about a month you will get used to the lack of salt, replace flavours with onions, parsley, mint, taragon, even tumeric, (nutty flavour), bright yellow, curries very mild, he's never liked curries, so have learnt to make flavoursome without heat. 

      Every thing prepared from scratch I'm afraid, has created alot of work for me.

      Walking - started from couch to front door, where there was a chair, about 3 - 4 times a day, for a week or so, then back to couch, then he told me he felt he could go further, so I pulled out an old deck chair and put it at the letterbox, say, twice the distance to the front door, again 3-4 times a day, with encourgement, for about 10 days or so, taking a break and not getting tooo breathless, the reason for the chair.  Then again told me he could go a little further, so put a chair at neighbours letter box, again for about 10 days, then added one neighours letter box or front gate at a time, until at about 18months he was walking in excess of 5km's.

      He has had setbacks, but knows the routine now, Dr's just amazed he has done soo well.

      Its all about pacing yourself, he must not push to hard and get too breathless, putting extra stresses on a heart that just needs to rest for now, alot of the tablets he will have been given will slow his heartbeat, and keep his blood pressure low.

      Do you have a heart failure group or heart hospital rehabilitation classes you can attend, they were most useful for us in understanding what our new reality was going to be.

      I have made a study of my husbands condition, some of it very scary, and confronting but I am one of those who has to know, then I can cope, keeping me in the dark only makes me suspicious about what they are not telling me, and we are lucky we have a very good GP who will talk to me as an equal and not scoff at me. Library books, and the internet, but have been careful to read mainly Dr to Dr papers in the early days. My knowledge has saved his life 4 times now, recognising when he was slipping when he didn't recognise himself, as blood supply to brain gets less sometimes can affect thinking process.

      Anger, depression we have been there and done that as well

      Best wishes, any questions anytime I will try my best to help.

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    • Posted

      I have hope for my future after reading your posts, your husband must have a lot of fortitude and good care from you to be doing so well.  I, like you, do best when physicians level with me, I hate it when they attempt to sugar coat or play down certain aspects of my illness, because they're not fooling me for one minute.  I've heard the saying, "ignorance is bliss", but that doesn't apply to all of us.  I grew up around medical professionalls, have family members who are physicians, so I naturally had a great interest in medicine at a very young age.  In that setting, it only makes sense that you will learn more as your brain develps, but I believe a lot of

      physicians would prefer that patients know nothing about medicine, this way they remain in charge of your care, but that is not always the best way to proceed for every patient, certainly not myself.  I definitely believe there are some very good doctors in the UK, just as there are here in the US, but there are also some who shouldn't be practicing.  I hope your husband continues to do well, he is truly amazing.  You are his best advocate, without a doubt.

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