maandag 7 september 2015

Eight months after the cardiac event

0n 17 January this year I had a heart attack and had three stents put in. This happened in Ireland. When I came back in Amsterdam I saw a cardiologist with all the information the doctors in Ireland gave me. After that my blood was taken (post 26 OLVG Spuistraat 239) and an ultrasound test of the heart was done. Another cardiologist saw me and told me that the pump function of the heart was not the best. Scarring caused by the cardiac event had done the damage. I knew that this could happen but the amount of damage done I had not expected. I thought the function would be around 90%, but it turns out to be closer to 60% and it won’t get any better, he assured me. No wonder my stamina has diminished considerably since before the heart attack. My Irish doctors had done everything that was necessary, he told me also and the medicines I’m taking are doing the job, but more clogging of the veins around the heart can occur. I have to monitor all the little agues and pains he warned me. And not put them aside and try to ignore them as I’m wont to do. The cardiologist was a younger and blonder version of Hugh Grant and an agreeable sight I must say. In the OLVG hospital Oosterpark I didn’t manage to make much of a sketch while waiting for the ultrasound, but I was luckier waiting for the cardiologist.

woensdag 26 augustus 2015

OLVG Spuistraat 239

And now for yet another hospital: het OLVG Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis (Hospital of Our Kind Lady). This is the interior of the new policlinic in the city center on the Spuistraat 239. I had to go there to give blood samples for prior to the appointment with the cardiologist. The old policlinic used to be in the former Prinsengrachtziekenhuis (hospital on the Prinsengracht) but that is closed now. I have history there. In 1986 I spent four summer months in bed there suffering from an inoperable infection of the innards. It was a great place, extensive and ramshackle with innumerable corridors and many single wards that made it an excellent place to treat people with infectious diseases. When I was there the AIDS epidemic had just hit the town and little was known about it. The nurses had a hard time watching the young men die. They came often into my ward to sit in the windowsill and cry from hopeless pity and frustration. The building will probably be turned into one of those ‘care hotels’ where people with money can go for revalidation or something. The main OLVG hospital is in Amsterdam East the only hospital still in the city proper and not on the outskirts and is modern to a fault. In the old days the OLVG was a Roman Catholic hospital run by the nuns of the religious order of Our Kind Lady and it was famous for its compassioned care. Apart from the clinical standard the hospital had ‘soul’ so to speak. Unfortunately ‘soul’ seems to be sadly lacking in this new policlinic.

maandag 25 mei 2015

Myocardial Infarction

What do you know? I found this in my archives of hundreds of drawings I made for Stichting September, informative medical books for patients and carers. I had my heart attack at that same place but more places on the same artery had stents to be put in.

dinsdag 14 april 2015

The Visitor (part1)

Just after the 'cardiac event' walking on the Greenway behind the house where it all took place was not easy. My colleague from the Achill Writers Group wrote a poem: The Visitor. The visitor was death and it described how you reacted to death when it came on a visit to someone you know. I made drawings to go with the text but made it so death was waiting for me.

donderdag 12 maart 2015

The daily walk

After the ‘cardiac event’ I got a lot of documents. One of them was the ‘activity and exercise guidelines for the first six weeks at home’. Taking walks is one of the most important things to do. It begins right away in week 1 after the ‘event’ with a daily walk around the house and garden which increases with an added five minutes every week till one has reached half an hour at the end of six weeks. The walk is described in detail: ‘walk at a pace where you can have a conversation or whistle a tune. Choose a route that is level and remember, when you walk a distance you have to walk the same again to get back. It is best to avoid hills, however if there is a hill take it on your outward journey as it will make the return journey easier.’ As it turned out strong winds were the thing I had to deal with.