Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Monday, 25 January 2010

The scariest moment of my life

Early hours of Friday morning I woke up feeling rather unwell. One a.m., and a stomach so upset I almost cried myself. The toilet seemed the right place to be, until I began sweating so much I passed out.

Coming to on the floor after I don’t know how many minutes, my chest was feeling fit to burst. I’d cracked it on the side of the bath as I passed out. I slowly made my way back to bed, still not feeling 100%.
I felt sick; and cold.
Back to the bathroom, and began vomiting. I didn’t know what the hell was happening to me. I felt so scared I even contemplated phoning our night shift at work, to ask if someone would come and hold my hand.
Yes, I was that scared.

Instead I waited till the local Health Centre opened at 8 a.m. The receptionist listened as I explained the evening’s events.
‘I’ll get the doctor to call you back’, she said.
A moment later, she rang back herself, saying an ambulance was on its way, and you might be kept in overnight.
A million things rushed through my head. The most important one for me was trying to get someone to look after the cat and dog if I wasn’t going to be here.

The Paramedic arrived pretty quickly, and started the process of questions and hooking me up to a blood pressure reading machine. I don’t think I was making much sense to the poor man; and even less when the ambulance arrived, and more wires attached to a heart monitor.

A hastily scribbled note, with a key attached, was finally pushed through next-door, and then the journey began in the back of the ambulance to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

Four days and three nights; three stents in three arteries to unblock them, loads of pills, numerous tests and I don’t mind admitting a few tears from myself while I was there.
A big heart attack.

Back home this evening, my chest still hurts where I fell, Jim is happy to see me, and I’ve a brand new life style to try and get my head round. It’s not going to be easy.

For the first week of recovery I can’t walk more than 5 minutes a day at a leisurely pace.
I can’t drive for four weeks.
I can’t eat most of the things I enjoy.
And I’ve given up smoking.

Well, four days so far; but the surgeon was pretty sure if I carried on smoking, the next time I wouldn’t make it to the hospital.

I don’t want to go back there.

The Paramedic, Ambulance crew, surgeons doctors and nurses of the hospital all played a part in giving me back my life.
I’m not about to stub it out in an ashtray.

I may be a while getting round to everyones blogs, and catching up, but I’ll get there; eventually.


  1. By heck that's an unexpected post. No need to rush to see what we are up to..just recover from this ordeal in your own time.
    You know where I am if you want to chat. FAB.

  2. Best of luck in your recovery. No smokes, watch what you eat and some excerise each day... it sounds like good medicine for all of use. We will say a prayer or two, three.... for you as well.

  3. Oh Keith!!! I'm so terribly sorry, I can't believe it, I thought you were absent through 'bad light'! What a terrible thing to happen, it must have been terrifying, I really don't know what else to say except I am thinking of you and wishing you all the very best. Please don't touch those cigarettes again. I do know the JR will have done the very best for you, it is a wonderful hospital. Please take care my friend.

  4. Wow, that is scary! I wish you a speedy recovery. At least you can get to the blogs without too much walking. ;-) And post a blog now and again to let us know you are still kicking. Seriously - take care of yourself.

  5. Keith, tears are running down my face - I am so glad you are ok. I honestly don't even know what to say except that I am so glad you are ok...and that I really really wish I could give you a huge hug (a gentle one though!) and I wish desperately I could help you in some way.

    I will pray for you, my bloggy friend.

    Hugs from me, and sending prayers your way,

  6. Crikey! That's scary all right. Glad you're still around to tell us about it.

    Take it easy, and stick with those good intentions. Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

  7. KEITH! OH MY GOD, thanks so much! im not sure what i want to say, but thank you, you really made it,ah! ok better you have finally come to your senses of not going back to smoking, ok QUIT TOTALLY, so have more rest, God Bless you and i miss you my friend. I too, had been to some personal battle but i am recovering too, so i will get back to blogland soon, take care pls.

  8. Keith sorry to hear about your illness, sounds like they have pulled you back from the brink. Hopefully you should have a speedy recovery. Incidently my father felt a whole lot better after a triple bypass, so you may of being given a new lease of life. Best wishes and hopefully our blogs and images can keep you occupied and encouraged during your post op recovery.

  9. So sorry to hear that Keith. Must have been horrible. Hope you're up and about soon. Take care, xx

  10. I wish that you are recovering as soon as possible.

  11. Goodness me Keith. That was scary. I know how you felt about the pets. I had a similar problem a few years ago when I had to phone for an ambulance. Great to see you are back at home, even if it means a change of life style. You scare might even help me to pack my pipe away again though I find it very difficult to break a 40 year old habit.
    Take care Keith.

  12. Wow man!!! At the moment, you should not care about catching back on blog comments but rather take care of yourself and take it easy! I mean I understand you were scare, everybody would have been and the recovery is gonna be slow! So the only words I have are take care and take it easy for a while!

  13. Keith, I wish you all the very best for a speedy recovery. Catch up on sorting out your stock of photos and plan your future trips out would be a good idea coupled with a spot of armchair birding and keeping track on the blogs. Take it steady and try not to do too much too soon.

  14. thank god you came back home, maybe for a while a smaller camera is in order. leaasurely walk probably doesn't include carring a 20 lb camera and lens. smoking is a nasty habbit anyway and more fruits and veggies always. once you are back on your feet you can have one of your favorite meals once a month if you behave the rest of the time.
    hugs for you from Brasil

  15. Oh my goodness! I'm glad you got quick treatment. You are the second blog friend in a week to described and thankfully recover from a heart attack. Take care friend. Andrea

  16. Keith - what can I say!! I'm so very very sorry to hear that this has happened to you. From what you've said it sounds as though you were very well looked after by all concerned and got you to the right place quickly.

    As an aside, giving up smoking is so hard (and I speak from experience)but you've obviously sussed out what's important (and think of all that extra cash you'll have too :D ).

    I'm sure Jim was delighted to see you back and how good that you have such a good neighbour you can just leave a quick note knowing that your fellow housemates will be looked after.

    Just take your time my friend - our blogs aren't going anywhere.. we'll all be here when you're ready.

    Thinking of you....

  17. keith look after yourself mate.

    as to giving up smoking my advice to Trish was to think of the new camera she could afford :D

  18. It’s been quite an emotional day today, phone calls from mates from work, a few visits, and offers of help. My next-door neighbour came, as promised, and took Jim for a good run, Hospital appointment arranged for next week, and then all these lovely comments.
    Thank you to everyone who has stopped by and taken the time to comment. I really do appreciate it, and it’s a great lift.

    Frank, thank you. Very kind of you.

    David, thank you. Good advice there.

    ShySongbird, (can I call you Jan?), it was very scary at the time. I was in great hands at the ‘Radcliffe’ though.

    Thanks Wilma. The bird watching is confined to the garden for a while, so updates from there lol

    Jen, thank you very much for your kind words. It means a lot.

    Pete, thanks for stopping by, and commenting. Got some tough things to do ahead, but have to stick with it.

    lolit, thank you very much. Good luck with your ‘battle’ too.

    Bob, thanks for your comment. Looking back, I think I was pretty lucky; also incredibly stupid with my lifestyle. Going to have to make some big changes.

    Thanks Helen. I’ll get there eventually. Bit at a time, but I’ll get there. :)

    Kozma, thank you for your kind wishes. Appreciate it.

    Thanks John. I think the smoking thing will be the hardest, but in a strange way, the easiest, if that makes sense. If I don’t quit smoking, I quit living. Good incentive I reckon lol

    Cheers Chris. A long way to go, and like you say, slow. With all this great support, and kind words from everyone, it certainly makes it a bit easier. Thank you.

    Thanks Roy. Good advice. I was hoping to get to Welney next week, before all this. Have to postpone it for a few weeks now.

    Ginger, thank you. Pretty much what one of the nurses said to me in the hospital lol
    The smoking, the heavy camera, the change in diet, and the odd treat if I behave. Thank you. :)

    Thanks Andrea. I was the third person from where I work, to be in that hospital in the last couple of weeks. So scary to think this happening all the time.

    Tricia, thank you very much. The extra cash saved; hmmmm, could be a new lens sooner than I thought lol
    It was certainly a weight lifted from my mind, knowing my neighbour would take care of Jim and the cat. Thanks again.

    Thank you Pete. The new lens is certainly calling loud and clear lol

  19. Oh bloody hell Keith...I am truly sorry to read that.
    Take things one step at a time and keep things going slowly until you feel better. I hope you get back on your feet soon and start to enjoy life once again...thinking of you Keith.

  20. Thanks Trevor. It was quite a moment. Gonna take a while, but I'll get there eventually.

  21. I'm really sorry to hear that, Keith. I sort of know what you been through. I had a big stroke which left me without an arm and leg. But, I managed myself to love birds and animals. Please don't smoke, it is the last thing you should do. Soon you will be out and about with the birds.

  22. Hello Keith sorry to read that you have been so ill we hope you make a speedy recovery take life easy for a while and do what the doctors tell you.
    Take care.

  23. Keith, I have just been to Welney to day and can tell you that apart from the main hide it is completely flooded and you cant use the paths at all. There were the usual round of Pochard (Numerous) a few Whoopers and that was just about it. All the Whoopers and Bewicks are out on the fenland fields during the day and only fly back at dusk by which time you can hardly see them. So you are better off not going for about a month I would say at least. I will post what I did see shortly.

  24. Bob, thank you mate. You’re right; the ciggys are going; the birds are far more important. Cheers.

    Thanks Keith. Early days yet, but I’m determined to get there, and back out.
    Thank you.

    Cheers for that Roy. I reckon it’ll be at least a month before I can start going anywhere far. Can’t drive the car for 4 weeks either, so just as well I can’t go, by the sounds of it.

  25. Oh Keith. I thought we may have lost you a little while ago when you were feeling down and I was so relieved when you came back to us, but this is different. Maybe it's fate Keith; something to make you fight my friend. As I said before, there are times in life you feel like giving up, but this is the kind that makes you fight and makes you realise how precious life is. Keep off those ciggies - and if you struggle try reading "Allen Carr - Packing it in the easy way" but it's not just ciggies. Low fat and plenty of healthy food. Make sure you get your vitamins - if you don't like them in hard form get some Floradix - Floravital from Holland & Barratt as it is completely natural. Don't get stressed and watch the garden birds, who need you to feed them every day! Remember all the people who watch your blog and care about you too. Get well soon and lots of love, Angie & Trevor x

  26. I have been thinking of you Keith, noticing that you haven't been blogging, wondering if you were ok. so glad you are getting better. take care of yourself!! :-) must have been so scary.

  27. You have been on my mind all day long Keith. Of course you can call me Jan, I will be honoured if you do, I consider you to be a dear friend.

    I wish I lived that bit nearer and could do something practical to help. It worried me so much that you were on your own throughout your ordeal, that must have been awful and I understand how much you must have worried about your pets, I would have been just the same. I do hope you have someone keeping an eye on you and also somebody to take Jim out, I hope he isn't still asking to go out at 5am or even earlier!!

    Keep positive Keith, I am thinking of you and wishing you all the best and sending you a big warm hug :)

  28. Angie thank you very much for that. The ciggies have gone; I’m finding that bit fairly easy at the moment. It’s the healthy eating I’m going to struggle with, I think. All the things I love to eat, are bad for me lol
    The last couple of days since I’ve been home, the garden birds have certainly kept me entertained, and they’ve got bigger appetites than me at the moment. Thanks Angie & Trev.

    Doreen, thank you. I think it may take a while to get fully recovered. I didn’t realise a lot of the things I did, and just did naturally, like simple things around the house, or walking; just how much it wears me out at the moment. That’s one of the hardest things to come to terms with currently.

    Jan, thanks. Jim still thinks it’s fun to get up early, but doesn’t seem bothered about going for a walk till later. My neighbour says she’ll take him around midday till I’m fitter, which is very good of her. They both had a great time yesterday lol
    I’ve got a ‘welfare’ visit from work later. I think they’re just being nosey, but I told them they can bring some bread and milk with them when they come, if they want to be useful. We’ll see lol

  29. Just wanted to add my very best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery - and that you're back out enjoying the countryside as soon as possible.


  30. I will miss your photos but hope you will make a full recovery. Best wishes from across the pond.

  31. OH my Holy Cow...my friend Im so happy to know you are alright!! That had to be very scary...I too have some cardiac problems but unfortunately since I lost my job I have no health insurance to fall back on. IM so glad you are in a country where you are taken care of regardless!! Count your blessings there. I knew immediately when I started reading what was happening---you were lucky very lucky--and friend GET THE NICOTINE PATCH it will help you with the smoking--as for the food, make cooking your new hobby and that will bring it all into focus! I was worried when I didnt see any updates but I figured it was weather related---I sincerely wish you a complete recovery!! Please take care of yourself and know you have friends who care very much!

  32. I'm so sorry you had to go through that! Quick recovery thoughts indeed! And for sure - no more smoking!!! Feel better!

  33. Thanks for your good wishes Mark. I can’t wait to start getting back outside again, but it’ll be a while yet, I’m told.

    Jo, thank you. I may have to resort to the archives, or the garden visitors for a while. lol

    Dixxe, thank you for your comment. The non-smoking thing is going well so far. I didn’t fancy the tablets or patches and things, so I just stopped. I figured I’m on enough pills at the moment, didn’t want anymore lol
    Hardest think for me is going to learn how to eat ‘healthy’. I just love all the wrong foods :(

    Jill, thank you for your thoughts. Yea, the smokes are gone :)
    It was them, or me.

  34. So... I came to your blog for the expected amazing photos, and to gaze at your camera and lens (I will be getting the Canon D50 and your lens set up) only to find that you are having some stress in your life. I am sorry. I think I will schedule a checkup for myself. I think we share a similar age and habits, except I have never smoked :).See, something good has come from your miss fortune! I and my family wish you the best and await future photos.

  35. OH MY GOSH!!!! Thank God for stents....and ambulances...and doctors and nurses. My hubby had a heart attack when he was 35...got the stents...and now at 45 (yes, I'm older than he is) he's in perfect health. Sounds like you will be on the same road to recovery. Thank goodness you're okay....

  36. Oh Keith...my wonderful blog friend! First, I am so happy that you're getting better. Take it slow and life will be grand. Second, you're a hero to share your experiences with us. Your message may also help someone else. And lastly, get healthy, get strong, and know that we all care!

  37. Hi Keith, I just popped in again so you know you are still being thought of. I do hope you are steadily improving and beginning to cope with the new regime. Take it steady, follow the rules and all good wishes for the hospital appointment next week.

  38. Sorry to hear of your illness. One thing is you are here to tell the tale and you know what you have got. I hope you have a speedy recovery. Post a few garden shots they are as good as any, we love your photo's.

  39. Crikey Keith, so glad you came through. Take it steady mate and I'll hopefully see you out and about when the weather warms up a bit. All the Best.

  40. Hi Dale. Thanks for your good wishes.
    You won’t be disappointed with the camera set up when you get it; great choice. :)

    Thanks Kelly. Yea, I certainly owe my life to all the medical team here. Just got to be patient, (something I’m not known for lol), and take my time to recover.

    Thank you for your kind words Lenora. I think the recovery process might take a while; I can’t wait to get back out with the camera though.

    Thanks for popping back Jan. I seem to be collecting ‘appointments’ like stamps lol
    Got 2 hospital, and 3 doctor appointments to look forward to so far now.
    Watching the birds in the garden at the moment; it’s the RSPB garden birdwatch weekend, so I’ve got plenty of time. Thanks again.

    Sam and Lisa, thank you for your comment and wishes. The camera is at the ready, there’s quite a bit of activity in the garden this morning. Should have plenty to show soon. Thanks again.

    Cheers Rob. I’m missing not visiting the local lakes; can’t wait to get back out there.

  41. I was really shocked when I read about your scariest moment, it was the last thing I was expecting when I came to see the birdies. Not the best of starts to 2010 and you were so upbeat as well about the coming year. Now the focus is on you to get a healthier balance. Excuse the pun. Long night shifts and cigs are hard on the body. Goodluck for the future. By the way Iv'e never regretted giving up smoking. Maybe 2010 will turn out to be a good year to remember in the long run, hope so

  42. Ouch - that was an unexpected post! So glad it wasn't worse (as it so easily might have been with you being on your own).

    Been there done that, Keith. The good thing is you'll find the stents make a huge difference once you've had a chance to get over the first few weeks. You'll feel fitter and brighter than you were beforehand. All you have to do (all!!!) is be sensible for a couple of weeks while your system recovers from the shock.

    Looking forward to seeing you get back on the camnera trail again. In the meantime do take care!

    All the best,

  43. Keith - Just wanted to check in with you to let you know that I've been thinking about you. I also wanted to share a little about my hummingbirds. They are starting to practice fly. I actually video taped them this morning. It was exciting. Okay, get back to rest!!

  44. Hiya Captain. The year certainly started well; I think my body just told me to slow down a bit lol
    A healthy diet and all that goes with it, is a little alien to me; guess I have to try and embrace it now though. I still think this is going to be a great year, and not just for my lifestyle changes. Thanks for your comment.

    John, thank you. Looking back at it all, I guess it could have turned out so differently. Maybe someone is looking out for me.
    I’m itching to get out with the camera again, but like you say, I have to be sensible about it all. Thanks again.

    Thank you for popping back Lenora. Had a look at your video; what a great moment to witness and capture. Looks like they’ll soon be off into the big world.
    Thanks :)

  45. OMGOMG...where have i been this week..doing this giveaway like a mad woman...so deeply sorry I missed this post..OMG hon..so very glad you are ok...You must have been terrified!!Big Gentle hugs to you..breathe and rest!! Hugs, Sarah

  46. Well Keith, puts my computer problems into perspective. Feeling a bit sorry for myself until I read your post. Certainly put me right. Look after yourself and all the very best.

  47. So sorry about it, Keith. I`m glad you are well now and wish you all the health you need.
    Take it easy and listen to the doctors. Not relevant for you, but I remember my grandma had a heart attack and after that was living another 30 years (of course, with diet, pills and regularly medical visits).

    Be strong, take rest and stay low. I`m with you.

  48. Hiya Sarah. I must have missed this comment earlier. Appologies, and thank you.

    Cheers Adrian. Computer problems are up there with the worst of them mate. Lol
    Looks like you’re sorted now.

    Marius, thank you. Appreciate your kind words.

  49. This was a shcok to read ... That must have been bloody awful mate. So sorry to hear that.
    Quite often people that go through their first big heart attack pull through very well , especially with a change in diet and new routine. At least whyile your recovering you can watch the birds in your garden.
    All the very best to you my friend. Here's to a speedy recovery.

  50. Thanks Nick. Recovery coming along ok, I think. I just have to be patient.

  51. Crickey keith! What a scary time for you. So very glad you are ok! Take things easy!

  52. Oh Keith, what a terrible situation for you! I asked myselve where you have been, I missed your littel birds. Be care of your selve and enjoy your new life! Greetings from Luzia.