Heart attack

My Heart Attack

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Appointment

I had a letter come out of the blue from the N.H.S. a few weeks ago to go for a screening for something called an abdominal aortic aneurysm, something I had never heard of before. Apparently men of my age (65) are supposed to be prone to this problem, which can, apparently, according to the leaflet which came with the letter, be very dangerous.  The aorta is the main blood vessel that supplies blood to your body. It runs from your heart down through your chest and abdomen. In some people, as they get older, the wall of the aorta can become weak. It can then start to expand and form an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The condition is most common in men aged 65 and over. Unfortunately the day the appointment was arranged I was feeling particularly unwell and didn't go. I got another letter about a week later asking me to arrange a new appointment by telephone so I rang and got the fresh appointment. I wasn't aware that Milton Keynes area was covered by Bedford Hospital N.H.S. Trust, in fact the hospital I was taken to when I had my heart attack in 2006. This is where I rang to make the appointment. I presume they had my name and address and details on their system from then and that would be why I got the letter. Anyway, the appointment is this morning at 10.40, at the Grove Surgery, which used to be our doctor's surgery before we moved to Ashfield Medical Centre.

I'm not entirely sure what this procedure entails, but I imagine it will be similar to the tests I had shortly after my heart attack. One was an angiogram which was done at Bedford Hospital and I had several others done at Papworth Hospital near Cambridge and then a few years later I had what was called a Stress Test done at Milton Keynes Hospital, so I imagine this screening will be similar.


I got to the Grove Surgery in good time. With about 20 minutes to spare. I always think it's best to be too early, because of parking the car. I was glad I did, because the surgery car park was chocker-block full, and so was the road leading to it and the carpark immediately behind the adjacent parade of shops. So I decided to try the carpark which is in front of the shops in Netherfield. I managed to find a convenient space, and, instead of sitting and waiting for a few minutes in the car before going to the surgery, I decided to walk straight there. The waiting room was very busy and I went to reception to say I was there, as you are supposed to do. Ashfield Medical Centre has a computerised system which you have to sign in to with your name, date of birth etc (although for the past several occasions it has been out of order.) I sat and waited for my name to be called. I was somewhat amused by the automatic door they had. A man went to leave and couldn't get the door to open. For whatever reason, the door wouldn't respond when he walked up to it. It must have got confused because you no doubt have to be in range of some sort of movement sensor that would pick up that you are there and then allow the door to open. You have to go through two doors, with a sort of porch in between. I expect this is to keep the heat in during cold weather. He managed to leave, and then several people walked past the door and it kept opening and closing even though people weren't going in or out.

My name was then called out by a young man, whom I could tell was going to do the screening as he was dressed in an N.H.S. uniform along with a lanyard with an identity card on it. I had to have such a card when I worked as a support worker for the N.H.S. I was led into a room and was surprised to find several other people were also there. It turned out the young man who had come to fetch me from the waiting room was a trainee and the other people in the room were observing how he worked. He informed me what the other people were there for, which didn't bother me. I am always pleased to be able to help anyone, particularly if they are training and it furthers their career as well as making sure that a particular procedure is done correctly. I had to lay on a couch and raised my shirt so he could put some gel on my stomach and lower abdomen and he then put the scanner senor on my abdomen. He moved the sensor up and down my stomach and lower abdomen and the lady who was observing kept telling him in which direction to move it and they were looking at a screen which showed my internal organs (I didn't look. I had a similar thing done as I have mentioned above, when they put something in my blood to make my heart beat faster and they could see how it was behaving on a similar screen. Similar to an ultrasound scan that is used to see a baby developing within the womb when a woman is pregnant.) He then said that my blood vessels were 'fine and healthy' and as far as he could see there was no reason for me to have an aneurysm and  I wouldn't need any further scans. At which point the procedure was finished. I sat up, although a little bit dizzy and lightheaded and the lady who was observing said that she would have to look at the scans to check for 'quality control' and if they weren't up to the correct standard I would have to return for another session. I just hope not. It wasn't an unpleasant experience for all that. Everything was extremely professional and well managed. Except, when I fot home, I found that I had the gel left on my stomach and some of it was on my shirt. I don't know exactly what it was, but no doubt something like KY Jelly! 
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