Our manager, Martin, is happily now back at work after his nursing team saved him from a potentially fatal heart attack.
Too much cake?
Martin left work on the 31st of January in considerable discomfort that he put down to cake he’d enjoyed with residents in Churnet Lodge. Despite pain in his chest that woke him up during the night, he came to work the next morning.
“He didn’t feel right and he asked me to get him some lemonade,” said his deputy manager, Rhiannon McGirr, who has more than 20 years’ nursing experience. “He thought the bubbles might help him bring up wind.”
“But as soon as I saw him I knew he needed an ambulance.”
Life saving advice
Martin eventually agreed for paramedics to be called. They took him to the Royal Stoke University Hospital where he was immediately prepped for surgery to fit stents into his arteries.
“I know I have an amazing team but I think they really did save my life,” said Martin. “The ironic thing about this is that I used to work as a cardiac nurse!
“I’d convinced myself it was just trapped wind or indigestion. But I think the fact that I asked for Rhiannon shows that I knew what was happening and I needed her help and expertise.”
Barrowhill Hall was a recent finalist in the ‘Best Nursing Care’ category of the national Care Home Awards.
Changing his lifestyle
Since his heart attack, Martin has been going for nightly walks around Bath Pool. He has cut red meat from his diet and hasn’t touched a single one of his much-loved cigarettes. He’s lost two stone in weight and wants to lose two more.
“I know how to look after my residents but I haven’t been looking after myself,” he said. “My blood pressure was too high and so was my cholesterol.”
The episode was immensely worrying for his wife Erica, and their two sons Jacob, 18, and Tobias, seven.
“Toby said to me, “Daddy, if I give you a piece of my heart will it make yours better?”” remembered Martin. “It moved me so much. The changes I’m making now are as much for my family as they are for me.”
Martin is now planning a fundraising challenge for the British Heart Foundation.
“The charity has been a great source of support,” he said, “especially in coming to terms with the fact it was me this time – you always think these things happen to someone else.
“I want everyone to be aware of their heart health – you might think you don’t have the time because you’re caring for other people but you won’t be able to do that at all if the worst happens.”