The patient, a retired 65-year-old nurse, was diagnosed with angina in 1984 and retired from nursing on health grounds in 1986. In 1995-96 she noticed breathlessness and was later diagnosed with heart failure.
This interview has been sourced from healthtalk.org, award-winning research into patient experiences in conjunction with the Health Experience Research Group at Oxford University, UK.
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Wonders why it takes so long to get a diagnosis of heart failure after tests.
Well the only thing I would like to say to an expert is why do people have to wait such a long time to get... diagnosis... done quickly? I mean when I went for an angiogram I had to wait over fourteen months which is a long time. I mean and I can't even get one done at [place name], we don't have a centre here yet, we've got to travel to [place name]. And you're away all day but you're not admitted, you're just on, you're in a bed obviously, but that is a really, something to me I think you shouldn't have to wait with heart trouble, it should be done as quickly as possible because that's the stress that brings on these sudden deaths. And I think that's what they should be doing now, concentrating on getting things, getting people seen within weeks not months.
Describes an echocardiogram.
I've had a scan on my heart, that was done at the Memorial. Now that's not stressful at all. I mean obviously you're apprehensive, but he talks to you all the time he's doing it. It was on your chest, right up under your arm, up under your chin and right round and under your ribs and everything, they really go very deep. It's like a little, like a mouse but it's on your chest. You have like a gel on and they're looking at the screen, they have a screen in front of them, then they're taking pictures all the time.
Says her heart failure means she can't pick up or play rough games with her grandchildren.
Well really it hasn't affected my relationships. I mean, I don't, it's affected me when the grandchildren are there, because I can't play with them like I used to, I can't pick them up like I used to. I mean we used to love a good old rough and tumble on the floor, may be a game of football in the garden but I can't do that any more.
She only stays in hotels with lifts and chooses less active holidays than before.
Well no I, if we go on holiday I've got to pick a holiday where there isn't a lot of activity in it, so now it's more or less just laze around by the pool. Or we go a short walk or we'll go on bus trips so that there is, we see everything but we don't have to do the walking.
So in a way you have to plan your holiday?
Oh yes, yes very, we do have to plan our holidays to see, we have to certainly make sure that it's not too active. I mean neither of us are getting any younger and we like to get away - we used to have a caravan but we've had to do away with the caravan because I couldn't help to do, pull it about or put the awning up or anything like that, it was just too much.
When you do, you always read the brochure and you try to find out from somebody else if they've been there, what it is like, if there is a lot of climbing or if there's, because a lot of the hotels don't have lifts, and if there was a lot of stairs I couldn't manage, I couldn't manage to go.
Learn more about heart failure.
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Last reviewed: October 2016