‘It’s cold outside…’

There are a few aspects to being mortal that I’m not enjoying that much if I am honest.

Some things that the nice people in the hospital don’t tell you and a few facts that the cardiac rehabilitation team fail to mention in the ‘FAQ’ handout that they give you on day one.

And when I say ‘mortal’ I really mean ‘normal’ and when I say ‘normal’ I really mean ‘not someone who has ridiculously high blood pressure, high cholesterol, is stressed to buggery, hardly sleeps and thinks having an Aloo Gobi with their curry constitutes a balanced diet.’

And the things that they don’t tell you are the changes that happen to you after a heart attack. Not the emotional changes, not the processing that your brain needs to go through. Because that is massive, well it’s massive for me, my brain has only just got used to the fact that the 80’s hasn’t gone on forever and that Maggie isn’t P.M., let alone the fact that I am almost 50 and have had someone rooting around in my heart with what felt like a pipe cleaner. For me it feels as if that processing is going to take some more time and I’m not sure I’m ready to write about that yet.

No, it’s not the emotional changes. It’s the physical ones. The fact that in the real world it’s bloody cold. All of the time. Always.

Since my heart attack my favourite and most used piece of clothing has become a black Berghaus fleece. ‘Bergy’ and I have become inseparable. Well I’m not sure a garment that is 100% polyester is actually capable of emotional feelings at any level, but I certainly don’t go anywhere without it. And it seems to be on virtually all of the time. It’s even on now as I write this. It’s become almost like a comforter to me, a bit like those things that young kids have that mean provided that they have it with them then their parents can take them anywhere. A bit like Freya’s ‘Oshie’. Oshie was our daughter’s toy bear that went everywhere with her, everywhere that is until I left it on the Eurostar on the way to Euro Disney in 2007 and it hasn’t gone anywhere with her since. If Freya is reading this I am still so very sorry about that sweetheart. Bergy is my Oshie, only I’m 49 and Freya was 6.

I’m not sure it’s ever been clinically proven that high blood pressure makes you hot or warm. There are schools of thought that high blood pressure manifests itself in a physical form by redness of the face and in unusual levels of sweating, but little has been written about a correlation between body heat and blood pressure. And those symptoms are also synonymous with so many other things.

What is apparent though is that some of the drugs that are used to treat a heart attack have side effects. They don’t really tell you about those and they are certainly not on any handout I’ve received so far. Amongst the 66,000 tablets I will have to take, I am on Bisoprolol which is a beta blocker, Ramipril which is an A.C.E inhibitor and Asprin. And these do exactly what they say on the tin. Well exactly what they say on the box anyway. Beta blockers reduce or block the impact of adrenaline which means the heart beats more slowly and with less force leading to lower blood pressure. A.C.E. inhibitors can reduce the activity of an enzyme called angiotensin-converting enzyme, or A.C.E. for short and this causes the relaxation of blood vessels as well as a decrease in blood volume, which also leads to lower blood pressure. Whilst Asprin thins the blood and prevents clotting.

In thinning the blood and lowering blood pressure these three tablets also have a side effect and that is that the extremities of the body, the fingers, the hands, the toes and the feet become cold. They feel the cold more. For me that feeling also seems to extend to the rest of my body. This effect seems to be more pronounced in me, because prior to my attack I was always so warm. Rarely did I wear coats out and as far as I was concerned hats and gloves were for losers. Berghaus was where the guy who wrote ‘Lady in Red’ lived.

This feeling of coldness was one of the immediate things that I noticed after the attack. There are many other side effects of the drugs and I’ll write about them separately, but in the ‘normal’ world that you guys live in and which I now seem to inhabit it’s cold. Really cold.

I wonder if you can get a Berghaus on prescription. They don’t tell you about that either on those handouts.