TEN minutes after having a stent inserted into a coronary artery, Ken Turrell was back on a hospital ward and happy to speak with me.
Ken, a joiner from Bognor Regis, experienced chest pains for the first time on a Saturday last month but ‘wrote it off’ as his hernia playing up. He sat down and ten minutes later ‘felt fine’.
After breakfast the following day, he went to out to his car when he experienced more chest pain. Again, after a ten to 15 minute rest he felt okay. He made the decision to visit St Richard’s Hospital A & E in Chichester with his wife Eileen the same morning and within 15 minutes of arriving he was examined.
Following tests on the Monday, he was transferred to Worthing and underwent an operation to widen a narrowed artery the following afternoon, which he described as ‘remarkable’.
Mr Turrell said: “The staff are brilliant, I can’t fault them. I can say nothing against the people right down to the ambulance drivers that brought me over here.
“I was anxious because you’re at their (medics) mercy. I feel relieved. Stents are good anyway. I’ve never heard a bad word against them and the results are totally amazing. I have absolutely no complaints whatsoever.”
Mr Turrell, who was diagnosed with diabetes in January, said he had never had never had a health problem before.
“I kept myself fit in my younger days,” he said. “I used to train with wrestlers, then all of a sudden you go to walk 50 metres and you get this awful pain.”
Mr Turrell said during the operation he had ‘a little bit of pain’ in the groin (the entry point for the catheter) and some discomfort ‘when they were doing the work on the part when it tightens up’.
“You think ‘here we go again’ and you begin to sweat, and think this could be curtains, but now I feel fine,” he said. “Hopefully, with the correct diet and exercise I will be fine.”
He added that he would not be returning to work.
Nurse consultant Janet Scott oversees the recovery process for patients.
She said: “The cath lab has opened up a new world for patients really. I think I’m in a very lucky position because I have been here so long and you sense the development of treatment over the years. It’s nipping it in the bud and preventing early deaths really. Having access to the cath lab enables us to do that. It transforms their lives.”
The standard recovery pathway for angioplasty patients is a six-week cardiac rehab course. The once-weekly sessions include information on drugs, basic life support, exercise and diet. A follow-up session is arranged with nurse Scott.