Little was I to know that within a week I was to become a “secret shopper” for Wonthaggi Hospital’s link with the Frankston Hospital cardiac unit that Jan described.
The following Wednesday afternoon I was suddenly gripped by a bout of pain and distress in my chest – this was more than my usual aches. As I had a GP appointment in 30 minutes, I decided to wait. As I drove through Wonthaggi’s busy Graham Street, the pain returned with a vengeance and I struggled to the reception desk of the medical clinic.
I was instantly transferred to a bed, assessed by Dr Hackett and the nurses, medicated and an ambulance was summoned. A note to readers – next time you wait longer than expected in the waiting room, please be aware that they may be saving a life.
Transferred quickly to emergency at Wonthaggi Hospital (Thanks, Katriona, for your kindness) I was soon hitching a ride to Frankston courtesy of the Grantville paramedics who apologised for the pot-holed highway. On arrival the verdict was “You’ve had a major heart attack. We’ll fix you in the morning.” A sleepless night ensued.
Next day I was wheeled into the catheter lab where my life was literally put back together via a 3mm hole in my right wrist. Being awake and watching as an incredibly talented team reconnected a severed cardiac artery via the afore-mentioned tiny hole was amazing, surreal and very painful. Lord only knows what it all cost but I’m very grateful that Victoria enjoys a world-leading public health system.
Four days later and I’m released from captivity and trying to work out how I can possibly thank all of the supportive family, friends and multitude of skilful and compassionate medical professionals who have once more saved my life.
Cardiac rehabilitation next – Bass Coast health has put in place programs at San Remo and Wonthaggi to ensure that I don’t have to endure yet more tiring and expensive trips to Melbourne hospitals. (Being stuck on the Monash Freeway in peak-hour traffic after a dose of combination chemotherapy is one of the less pleasant experiences in life!)
I am so thankful that finally the “powers that be” are able to bring the healers to the sick rather than the other way round. Even professor Layland travels to see me at our local clinic.
All involved in this planning deserve recognition. Thank you all, and thank you, Catherine, for your insightful article. Had I relied on the other local press I would have been ignorant of this news. News should be sensationally good, not just sensational.