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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Friday, 26 November 2010

An update

Well, it’s 10 months since the heart attack; a long road to recovery, but eventful.

Am I fit, 100% now? Honest answer, no. I don’t suppose I ever will be.
Damage to a heart, (and it is after all just a muscle, albeit a rather special and complicated one), never heals, like a cut would. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. It scars, but that bit that got damaged, is gone. In my case, 40%.
No amount of stents or tablets will replace what’s gone. You just have to take it a bit easier.
Easier said than done sometimes.

So, the past year of recovery has been interesting.
I’ve had time to sort out the garden……………..er, no.
I’ve had time to sort out my spare room……………er, no again.
Decorate? Hell, no!
Get all the odd jobs done round the house?  Ha ha, no!
So, er, what exactly have I done?

Well, 2 weeks after the heart attack, I was down my local lake, taking a steady, breathless walk. It was good to be out; fresh air, and nature…….you can’t beat it. 
I went every other day, for the next week. Couldn’t manage daily visits, too tiring.

The fourth week, I got more adventurous, venturing a little further afield. Still fairly local, and almost every day.

Week 5? Well, with hindsight, a little stupid, but had a great time. I went to Titchwell nature reserve on the Norfolk coast, about a 3 hour drive. The weather was dire; rained all day, and so cold, that what breath I had, was taken away. But the birds were good.

After that, the world was my oyster; or at least, anywhere in driving distance. Every day I went out somewhere new. It was great. Tiring, but great.
I was like a kid running lose in a sweet shop. I had all this time off work, and I was going to make the most of it, if it ……..……
Well, it could have done, but didn’t.

I slowed down after a while, or maybe burnt out a little, not sure. I still went out though. I met up with Tricia for a great day out at London Wetland Centre.
I started a new blog, about my local lake, Caldecotte. I’ve met lots of people there, from my daily visits. Dog walkers, joggers, fellow photographers, and even a fellow blogger, Trevor.

And now the party is over. Time to go back to work; on Monday. Welcome to the real world.
Do I want to? No.
Do I think I can do it? No.
But it’s that money thing. I need the money. Work have been very good; they’ve paid me all the time I’ve been off. But nothing lasts forever, so later today, I have a meeting with personnel, or human resources, as they call themselves now. A meeting to discuss a return to work, that will get me back to where I was.

So all the daily visits to my local will come to an end. I’ll still get there, when I can, but not as often. I’ll miss that.
I’ll miss seeing all the people I’ve got to know, and all the birds. It’s the time of year when all sorts of birds can turn up, sometimes just for a day.

It’s not all been about going out, and having a good time though.
There’s been hospital visits, doctors visits, tests, and more tests. Another stent fitted, more tablets to take; and at times I’ve felt really down, and wondered what is the point of it all.

I don’t know the answer to that, but I’m grateful that I’ve been able to get out, and see so many birds this year.

And if I ever get in the position I can quit work for good, guess where I’ll be?


  1. Good luck with your return to work. Feeling down after a heart attack is not at all uncommon. Communing with nature was probably your best non-chemical medicine. Be sure to take time out to continue doing that. I suspect that keeping busy with work and enjoying your surroundings will do you the world of good. Hang in there!

  2. Thanks Hilary. I think just seeing colleagues at work will make a difference. It's quite a scary thought going back after so long, but after a couple of days, it will seem like I've never been away lol
    Thank you.

  3. You have had the best of times and shared the best you could with so many of us. Im happy your returning to work but take it easy and dont over do it. If nature and birds call you out... go. Life is so short. I sit here tonight typing with hands so sore and not sure why or if I can even hold my camera but tomorrow will be an outher day . Take it day by day .
    Thanks for sharing . I will be around and should you be by to visit it will be my pleasure.
    Many Hugs to you and always carry your camera.

  4. and if its ok Im keeping you in a Prayer tonight. xo

  5. Don't overdo it Keith, I'll miss the videos but it's good to see you half fit again. You were probably only half fit before but hadn't had the tests to prove it. Bit like madness only lunatics can be certified sane. Good luck.

  6. Good luck Keith !! Am sure you will do well :) The "scary" part of it is quite normal .... there will be lots of changing in your life - but am sure you will find the right way to manage this ;)

  7. It's a big step, Keith, going back to work after a prolonged period on sick leave (as I well know). You can only take things one step at a time and see how it goes. Best wishes that it all works out better than you might expect.

  8. You can't keep a good man down.{:)

  9. great pic, I love it !!! I wish you a great time ! big hugh Kathrin

  10. I do hope it all goes well for you Keith. I'm sure I am not alone in feeling I have been with you along every breathless (I do know about breathless, not through heart problems thankfully but through other health problems) step of your journey and I am so glad that you have been deemed 'fit' enough for work, not the work bit ;) but the 'fit' enough bit. 40% sounds a lot of damage though, you must try not to overdo it too much, it is bound to take a while to adjust to the working day after so long!

    Your 'never got done' list is, without any exaggeration, a carbon copy of mine! I bet you don't have to climb over things in your spare room to get to the window though ;)

    Thank you for taking us on your journey Keith, I wish you all the luck in the world with your health and your job and I will continue to enjoy your wonderful blogs whenever you are able to post them :)

  11. Thank you Lisa. The birds and nature, have been great therapy. I’ve enjoyed every minute in their company, and count myself very fortunate to be able to.
    Hopefully work will soon be a part of life as it once was.

    Adrian, I think you’re right. I was going downhill before it all happened lol
    I’ll still get the videos done when I can; I enjoy it too much ;)

    Thank you Pescalune. Yea, I’ll take one day at a time. I think I learnt my lesson lol

    Emma, thank you. Good advice, thanks.

    Cheers Roy. Yea, be back to normal in no time ;)

    Kathrin, thank you. :)

    Thanks Jan, for your very kind words.
    The spare room; hmmm, I can’t get to the window either lol
    It really is a mess :(

  12. Hi Keith...your post today reads like a story...very well put your road to where you are today!!
    You know my friend that I pray this all goes well for you ...and for heaven sakes, take it slow..one day at a time. : }
    Super tight Hugs for all to go good today!!

  13. Thanks Grammie. Yea, it's been quite a haul.
    Most of it has been enjoyable :)

  14. WOW has it been 10 months??? I can very much relate to your circustances Ive been out of NORMAL work for 3 yrs this past Oct. I can retire in Spet of 2015--but till then who knows? I will continue to EXPECT the Universe to provide me with whatever I need to survive and as long as I beleive that-- it will happen!! I hope your return to work is easy and you get what a job cant give you ON YOUR TIME OFF WITH Mother Nature!!

  15. I know the 10 month journey has been tough on you but there is no doubt that wildlife has played an important part in your recovery. It will always be there, so enjoy it when you can.
    Take each work day as it comes (like always) and I'm sure you'll soon feel at home.
    Take care....FAB.

  16. Thank you Bob :)

    Thank you Dixxe. Yea, 10 months. The year has gone so quickly. A few more weeks, and the start of another one.

    Thank you Frank. You're right, being with nature has been better than all the medicines.

  17. Hi Keith, all the best for Monday and your return to work, remember to take it easy and I`m sure once you ease back into the swing of things you`ll find time to check out that lake with that video camera and bring us some more super videos. All the best mate and we`ll catch up again soon.

  18. Thanks Trevor. Yea, two more days at the lake, then I have to slow down a bit.
    Or try ;)

  19. A year ago the 20th of July was my husbands heart attack. He also visited nature as much as possible during his recovery. It was also my therapy after my back surgery. I couldn't wait to get the go-ahead to walk a less even surface again. It took 7 months to have the pleasure. Take it slow, Keith. The birds will always be there, tho, I'm sure they will miss you.

  20. Keith good luck back at work. Soon be the christmas holidays! Enjoy.

  21. Thank you Dar. The natural world is the greatest therapy going.
    I hope your husbands recovery is going well.

  22. Thanks Bob. Yea, I think I'm going back at the wrong time lol

  23. Gosh. How time flies. I would have though it was only a few short months ago that you started with your heart problem. I hope they can let you settle back to work gradually Keith. The much maligned Health and Safety rules should help here.
    It will be a real drag not being able to visit your favourite haunts during the week, especially with the short daylight hours.
    Take care and don't overdo things.

  24. Thanks John. The time seems to have flown by.
    I'll be easing in gradually at work; have to see how it goes.

  25. Keith, I am so very glad that you are healing. I know what you said about the heart being a muscle is true - and you are 60% good to go!

    Good luck on your return to work, take it easy, and you can do it. I know I haven't been online a lot, but I pray for you regularly, and I do sneak over to look at your amazing photos. :)

    Louis got a sweet deal on a TV, it's a high-definition, blu-ray, flat screen...55 inches. What a kid. We got $600 less than regular price! We did this because a TV gift card came with the new furniture so, it was worth it.

    Thank you for not forgetting about me, I appreciate your comments, and I'm sending you a giant hug from across the pond! Rest up, take care, and don't work too hard. :)


  26. I enjoyed this update. I think your time with the camera must have helped the healing. Enjoy your day job. Just about every creative person I know has one!

  27. Jen, thank you for your comments and thoughts.
    Sounds like you got a great deal on the TV. 55 inches! Wow, that’s big. lol
    And how could I forget you? Your posts always put a smile on my face.

    JoLynne, thank you. You’re right, getting out with the camera, and doing what I love, has been the best medicine.
    Thank you.

  28. Well, you could knock me down with a feather - hard to believe it was 10 months ago - where did they all go!!

    Seems to me that the things on your "to do list" that are still "to do" - don't really matter in the grand scheme of things

    What DOES matter, is that you made the most of every day of the last 10 months doing something that, in the main, gave you great pleasure and satisfaction, with a determination and drive that is to be admired.

    I think we all need to be thankful for our wildlife and nature in general for giving us so much pleasure and satisfaction in marvelling at its beauty and diversity.

    I do hope that going back to work goes as smoothly as possible - just take it easy and allow yourself to get back into the routine gently.... please!

    And when you've got some holiday and fancy another trip out, just let me know :D

  29. I had a heart attack 3 years ago this December so your remarks were quite moving for me. I too had a few months off before getting back to work and spent all of it in the woods and on the river just like you. It's going to be all right, these days that have been filled with deep contemplation and reminisces must give way a little to the new "normal" which is coming fast. I know the fear too and I wish you the courage to calmly go forward. Getting back to work helped me think of myself as a complete person and not someone who was just hanging on. I hope it does the same for you. In any event, many hugs to you fellow traveler!

  30. Tricia, thank you for your comment.
    The time does seem to have flown by, and I've enjoyed almost every moment of it. Time to get back to reality though; and work lol
    And definitely love to meet up again. Thanks.

    Thank you Springman, for your very kind words.
    I think once this week is behind me, it should become a little easier. Days off work will become even more precious. Thank you.

  31. Hi Keith, and now, the first day of return on work is done. I hope it has gone well?! It was a hard time for you the last 10 months. But your love to the nature and the birds was the best therapy. You can enjoy this great pleasure and the magical moments on weekend and holidays. Think positive and don´t work to much! Wishing you all the best and send a lot of hugs from Luzia.

  32. Lucy, thank you very much for your comments.
    Yea, today, the first day back; and I didn't do very much lol
    I shook a lot of hands, and spoke to a lot friends; and that was my day. Even so, I do feel very tired, and an early night in bed will be very welcome. lol
    I'm glad the first day is over; I was feeling a bit nervous about it all. Hopefully now, each day will be a bit easier.
    Thank you. :)