Around 25 days ago I presented myself to the Accident and Emergency room of my local UK hospital due to a series of dizzy spells - after a 15 minute triage I was sent to the crash team then within 5 more days after an angiogram was given triple heart bypass. I left hospital 6 days later and I am now back at work. AMA.

Comments: 331 • Responses: 44  • Date: 

azeroes89 karma

Wow. I do not have smart questions to ask. I just hope you'll get better and wish you a full recovery. :D

pablorobo148 karma

Thank you. There is a secondary story to be told here that i returned from the hospital to find my girlfriend of 7 years had had an affair with my best friend while I was inside and he is someone who I have to continue to work with. That was probably worse to deal with than the aftereffects of the operation. I have ended the relationship but it hurt very badly. I regard myself as a psychologically tough person but this did rock me a bit - and I did wonder why she had not visited me for 8 days after the op - when she did it was pretty clear to me what had happened and I simply told her the relationship was over. Sucks but I'll get over it.

neverpulloutever24 karma

your best friend getting it with your girlfriend who you've been with for 7 years while you were in the hospital getting heart surgery? I don't mean to offend whatever relationship you had with your best friend but damn what a douche

arcanition7 karma

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that if you look up the definition of douche you'll find that exact example word-for-word.

pablorobo12 karma

I agree - and he has since dumped her. See below about her Asberger's - it seems to me she has lost out more but he looks bad to me. My workmates know all about it so he does have to put up with people talking behind his back about what a bastard he has been. Not that easy though that I have to still see him everyday and I work alongside him.

Frowns3055 karma

You don't look ver big in your pic and you're awfully young for a big MI. What risk factors do you have (diet, smoking, etc) and what are you doing to not have another?

pablorobo82 karma

Ha well here lies a tale. I am very honest in that I have taken stimulant recreational drugs for many years, drink heavily (I live in Scotland and my job requires me to host visiting artists for meals and drinks where I eat for free!), I have a stressful job (curator at a major museum) and I am often jet lagged due to international travel. If you add that I am overweight and eat too fatty food then I was an obvious candidate for this. All my own fault. That said it turns out most of my mother's family died of heart disease and I didn;t know that until last week. The docs said it could have been any of the above although of course taking cocaine isn't the best thing for your heart. I am now giving up drugs completely and drink will be moderated. I lost about a stone in hospital and I'm still dieting so perhaps this will be good for me long term.

i_run_far12 karma

The power is in your hands good fellow. If I were in your shoes, I would try some way to get regular exercise in. Start with some walking. Perhaps you could join a gym? Changing your diet is an excellent idea. All the best to you in your recovery.

pablorobo22 karma

Thanks I'm doing that. The gym might take a little longer as I get out of breath on a hill but I'm determined and I expect to make a full recovery. Your best wishes are appreciated.

fjenkkins8 karma

Focus on your recovery. Fuck all the other relationship stuff: the best revenge is to LIVE well. You were given a severe warning given your genetics and lifestyle. Focus on staying healthy, in the end, nothing else really matters, does it?

pablorobo5 karma

I agree. I think this has been a warning and at least in the short term I think I am likely to change some of my behaviours. The one thing I have never done is smoke!

Kyle37886 karma

American here, I don't mean to sound stupid but what do you mean you lost a stone? Anyways, glad to see you're ok!

SteamyWaffle10 karma

1 stone is 6.3kg or 14lbs

pablorobo8 karma

Apols for my Britishness it's easy to forget which things don;'t translate easily.

burnt_toast_and_jam54 karma


pablorobo66 karma

Well If you forgive the name dropping I was showing the girlfriend of Michael Nyman the composer around this huge building before I and others went to his Queens Hall concert (I've been working with Michael for over a year now)> I suddenly became very light headed and dizzy and had to hold the door frame to not fall over. I then later that night after drinking a G&T given to me by a friend who owns a gin distillery here in this museum (this is an unusual place - 540 rooms, 130,000 sq feet with a brewery, distillery, lots of galleries and theatre spaces - in fact a former veterinary college) I had a further 3 dizzy spells in the next 4 hours. I went to bed and met other artists the next morning and had a total of 3 more dizzy spells when I realised there was something very seriously wrong. I started to sweat and the water was pouring out of my pores. I got my then g/f to drive me to the hospital and I found it hard to give her directions. I walked into the A&E alone and presented myself to the desk. They had me take a seat and 15 mins later I was seen - I did think that was quite a long time given how bad I probably looked. They then hit me hard - my heart was beating at 222 beats per minute and later they told me that 190 is usually enough to kill someone. They took two hours to get my heartbeat down to c. 90bpm - giving me various drugs including magnesium which apparently is quite toxic and used only when it is very necessary.

ChefMichaelX3 karma

What happened with your girlfriend, if you don't mind me asking?

_jeth7 karma

He said in another post that she didn't visit while he was in the hospital, then he learned she had been having an affair.

pablorobo12 karma

She and I have been together for a long while. She has Asberger's syndrome (I've posted about this before) and was very much younger than me - in fact she is 28. I didn't think we were having problems but i guess I was wrong but I also understand the selfish-ness that comes with Asberger's. When she did come to see me the first thing she said was "don't talk about you, I'm sick of everyone talking about you" - this being the first communication in 8 days. Don't get me wrong I won't forgive her for abandoning me during the greatest crisis of my life but I do sort of understand from past experience that she sees the world much more differently than most people. Asberger's is part of th autistic spectrum for those who don't know.

tyme14 karma

FYI it's asperger.

hannson21 karma

ass burgers

pablorobo11 karma

Sorry you are right - my mistake - I'll not edit it out as it would make you look wrong - I do know better!

fringly2 karma

Heart attack at the old Duck Vet eh? If the vets were still there they'd have sorted you!

pablorobo4 karma

Yep. If I was a dog or cat. So you know the place! It;s pretty cool now - drop in and say hi! We have a great bar called the Royal Dick!!!!!!

megazver34 karma

What are you doing on reddit you old fart? GET OFF OUR HIP, CURRENT LAWN.

pablorobo81 karma

Oh fuck off I'm a pretty hip 55 year old. :) Once i get better I challenge you to a 'trend-off'. I work as a major international art curator so I'm pretty aware of current fashion, music and art. But thanks for your good wishes!

pablorobo9 karma

I have to go out to buy groceries for the next hour or so but I will answer any other qs later if anyone has any.

This has been an interesting time. Thanks for all the good wishes.

Wooble_Gop9 karma

My dad had one about 6 years ago. Was it a clogged artery? How clogged was it? And did they refer to your artery as a widowmaker?

pablorobo13 karma

I hadn't heard that term other than in the Harrison Ford film - is that where it comes from? So no they didn't refer to it that way. Yes pretty much clogged up - one was 55 - 70% clogged, the other 75 - 85% clogged and the worst one 85 - 95% clogged based on the computer output they left on me that I picked up and read. SO if I hadn't had the op I think I would by now be dead. No widow though - see my other answer about my cheating girlfriend! I have to change my will now - she was going to get 40% of my art collection with my son getting the 60% majority - oh well - bad judgement on her part.

ingravida8 karma


pablorobo4 karma

I don;t feel that bad - some wound pain and I have to say my job while stressful is something I enjoy (I've put on over 150 high quality art exhibitions in the last 20 months at Summerhall, Edinburgh( if you are interested) and it's not too hard to do - apart from the site being huge - meaning I have to walk a lot - I mostly do my job via telephone and email and I can work whatever hours I wish. it is interesting and varied and I get to work with some of the biggest artists in the world - so coming back early suited me fine. I do also have some very good staff under me.

When I was inside I met someone the day before the op who said he had had a similar procedure a few years before and they had taken the vein from his leg - he said that was much harder to recover from and advised me to steer them towards my arm. Now I have very minor signs of varicous veins on my legs so I used that as an excuse to ask the surgeon to use my arm vein instead which he agreed - using the radial vein. I think I did the right thing. Tonight is the first time I've felt any wound pain there and that's probably because I forgot to take my pain killers (2 x 500mg paracetamol by the way - hardly hard core!).

CharlieDwan7 karma

What did it feel like or do you not remember it?

pablorobo14 karma

Do you mean the op or the dizzy spells? The op itself wasn't too bad - of course I was under anaesthetic and I remember the immediate beginning when I was given a sedative and then put under but then woke up to find myself choking on the breathing tube that they had inserted deep inside me. It took a few minutes to get that out and I remember that being distinctly unpleasant. I was soon thereafter on a morphine self-control drip and in truth I didn't feel much pain at all. I am in more pain now while my wounds heal - so the op itself was effectively painless although I do think a lot of that is that the surgeon was very skilful and that they do many many of these ops a week now even though they are serious surgery they are well practiced in them. (Edit some minor grammar)

pablorobo14 karma

Just to add - this is what I understand happened - the morning of the op I was woken at 6am and given a razor to shave my chest and some of my pubic hair. I then had to wash in a special anti-bacterial soap in the shower. This was the worst part for me because it brought the pending knowledge of surgery very much to mind. I then was given an injection which I understand was part muscle relaxant, part sedative. I was wheeled down to the surgery theatre by a porter on the bed and met the rather pleasant anaesthetist who I spoke to and promised a free meal at the restaurant in my museum if she kept me alive - we were just joking and messing around but it helped. I then went under. The team firstly took a long piece of my radial left arm vein out (see the pic) and prepared that for the transplant. They also took a similar vein from my chest. They opened me up with a vertical cut and then (I think the most awful psychological aspect of this) sawed my sternum in two using a buzz saw and then they spread my ribs apart. I think they then deflated my lungs to allow better access to my heart while a machine kept me alive. They then sewed on the new bypasses and reversed the whole process - I understand it took 3 hours in total. Perhaps someone on here can verify this is the actual procedure - I cannot be absolutely sure I am correct in every detail. I then went to an intensive care ward for 36 hours then a more general ward. My biggest problem was the boredom of having to wait for 5 days to be allowed to leave. I hated doing nothing and I got a little depressed as the food seemed very very poor quality and tasteless. I didn't want to bring food in as I felt guilty that I could afford to do that when others in the same ward didn't have that option (much older than me and not particularly affluent individuals) but as I found it all very unhealthy and unappetising after 5 days of eating absolutely nothing I broke and got a friend to bring me in a tandoori mixed grill and I had 5 pieces of meat that evening for dinner that tasted so divine. The next day I woke to find the nurses had thrown the remains of the curry out and I was a bit pissed as I intended it for breakfast also!!!!! I eventually begged the consultant to let me out a day early and he was very decent about it so my stay in the general ward was around 6 days I think. Edit - spelling and grammar.

LovepeaceandStarTrek5 karma

What's your favorite subreddit?

pablorobo4 karma

Ha. Well let's pass over the NSFW ones for decency. Fullmoviesonvimeo has helped pass the time and askscience I love but that's all a bit boring. Museum is also good but I often surf individual users then find their interests and that way you find the odd subreddit that you've never seen before. Sorry the above is a bit dull but that's how it is.

LovepeaceandStarTrek1 karma

How long have you been on reddit?

pablorobo2 karma

Two years I think approx. I spend a good hour a day on here - and I'm lucky as we have no censorship on our internet here and I can read, look at anything I want.

parth5564 karma

Are there any lasting effects?

pablorobo7 karma

Well I am on medicinal drugs forever. I have to swallow about 6 different ones each morning then a few others later in the day. Statins and beta blockers are the main ones. I am also very easily out of breath especially walking up stairs but I exercise everyday now and I am already one week on a lot more able to walk long distances. My understanding is that if I do not do anything too rash I should recover full and this could actually make me fitter than when I admitted myself to the hospital - I hope so.

pablorobo3 karma

Ok it's late here and I want to wait to see VEEP, Game of Thrones and Cosmos in a few hours time due to the wonders of the interweb. I will look again in the morning and answer any new questions - I found this all very interesting. Thank you all for being nice and wishing me well - only one troll in several hours but that is not that surprising - the Reddit community is pretty decent and supportive usually. Have a good evening and perhaps more tomorrow.

Lylesanderson3 karma

This worries me. At the age of 33 I was at work (paramedic) training for winter rescues. I began sweating, got very hot and could feel my heart beating outta my chest. Went to the hospital a cpl hours later, BP was thru the roof. 24hrs later I had 3 coronary stents put in and put on a slew of meds. This was 5 years ago, recently I was found to have kidney disease. My life is about to change drastically as I may go off work and on long term disability. Oh and we have a one year old boy,

pablorobo2 karma

Sorry: I hope it all works out for you!

Fish14002 karma

My mom is leaving the hospital today after a triple bypass on wednesday. Hope you a speedy recovery and a good support team to help.

pablorobo1 karma

I wish her well - the success rate seems to be very high so I am sure she will do well.

entirely12 karma

Any reason they didn't use stents?

pablorobo10 karma

I was given the angiogram and was wide awake for it - the computer showed that three of my arteries were pretty bad shape. One was only functioning at 5% - the other two at around 20 - 35% efficieny. Stents wouldn't have helped - it was more serious than that.

entirely12 karma

Glad you were checked, then.

pablorobo10 karma

I was clearly very ill. The triage at the A&E desk probably could have been better - it took them 15 mins to get me on a gurny. But there after the care was excellent - the British NHS is much loved by the vast majority of our population and my experience of the staff and care has shown me again that it is an amazing free at point of need service.

Jaysethemedic2 karma

I'm a 46 year old Redditor, with 3 stents. 2 arteries were 70% blocked, and one at 80%. I don't understand why they had a tripe bypass instead of stents. The cardiologist I spoke to said they will stent up to 95% blockage, as bypass surgery is more invasive and dangerous.

For the record they had to shock me 3 times while putting the stents in :)

pablorobo3 karma

Bloody hell you had a worse time than me and you are younger. But it seems like you are fine? I hope so. did they leave pacing wires in your heart for a while - I had that but no shocks. I also had 4 drains and having those taken out with laughing gas was an interesting experience. Cleverly they self-stich the wounds - I was impressed with that. I can only say the surgeon was adamant that I needed surgery rather than the angioplasty. Possibly because of the abnormal rhythm of my heart that only the surgery seemed to end - perhaps some docs on Reddit can answer this?

FrancisUrquwood2 karma

How was your time in hospital? Did the NHS treat you good?

pablorobo3 karma

Very very well although I found the food terrible which affected my psychology. I was also very bored in the ward - I can;t see how that might be different but I tended to sleep far too much like some poor dog left in the house alone all day.

DanTheRadarMan2 karma

What were the first signs that you had a problem early on?

Netprincess2 karma

I want to know as well. My brother had a mild one and his jaw just hurt really badly.

pablorobo3 karma

I think I had some referred pain in my right shoulder blade but did not realise it was heart related. I had NO pain on my left which is more classically heart attack pain. I also had a tightness in my chest and I though I had a bacterial infection due to my having been in Mexico city in February which I love but found to be the most polluted place I have ever been. I think that was also a sign but I don't know for certain.

Fumbler882 karma

My dad had a triple bypass in 2012 at age 72, one week after having an angiogram that showed some pretty severe blockages. He recovered amazingly well! I was pregnant at the time with his first grandchild and I think wanting to see and hold him helped get him through his recovery. We had found out and told everyone the sex of the baby but hadn't told anyone his name. So my dad, who is a bit of a jokester, said to me on the day after surgery, "what is the baby's name?" I told him he would have to wait until the baby arrived to find out just like everyone else. He said, "but my heart" and grinned. That was when we knew he was going to be okay.

pablorobo3 karma

I am very pleased for you and him!

Deeder6662 karma

Whats it like to have had $100,000+ surgery without having to pay for any of the bills?

Do you think receiving a bill for your emergency surgery would have put you in cardiac arrest?

pablorobo26 karma

Well someone else just asked a question here which they immediately deleted - they said that they understood that many UK citizens die waiting for their operations - and I answered thus:

Not at all. It's propaganda - when they realised I needed the op they arranged it for two days and I was given a priority over unimportant ops. My heart problem was pretty life threatening apparently due to the arrhythmia being in the third ventricle (sorry while I have a neurophysiology past I know little about cardiac surgery) they sorted it out as soon as they could. In the two days while I waited I was on telemetry - a machine that I could walk around with the constantly monitored my heart rate - so if anything happened they could immediately come find me. With the exception of the terrible food and slight lack of any dignity by sharing a ward with 3 others I think the experience was just as good as if I had paid to go private. In fact many of the private companies send their trickiest patients down to the NHS hospitals to have the ops then bring them back to the nice private rooms that the person is really paying for. Socialised medicine is to my mind an obvious social right for people. It amazes me that it has taken so long for the USA to even accept the Affordable Care Act.

So to answer you directly - I am very very grateful that I live in a country where my taxes allow me to receive such treatment for free. I didn't pay a penny. And this I think is how it should be ideally in all nations wherever possible.

Valetudinarian2 karma


pablorobo2 karma

Keep me laughing and post more bananas for scale.

King420fly2 karma

Party on man!

pablorobo1 karma

Sort of. I will have to stop some of the partying however. Shame I loved it!

Clob2 karma

Were you told to get on a low fat low cholesterol diet?

pablorobo1 karma

NO and the food in hospital on the cardiac ward was far from healthy. It was my only complaint - every course looked white including the broccoli and they offered a stodgy pudding (desert) with custard with every meal. A little contradictory but I guess they are trying to feed a lot of people who want that sort of food as well as those of us who don't.

CyzeDoesMatter1 karma

What exercise has the doctors prescribed for you to aid recovery and maintain health?

pablorobo1 karma

I am walking daily - I have access to an amazing dog too (my ex is refusing to let me see the dog she and I had together as revenge for me telling her to leave). I still find hills hard but it is getting better.

Actually I find the internet a better source of info than the material they gave me when I left hospital. The section on sex in the paperwork I received is hilarious and clearly was written in a way so not to offend anyone. It also rather amazingly in this day and age assumes you are in a heterosexual relationship - well I happen to be straight but plenty of folk are not and I do think that is something the NHS should reconsider.

Joeboard1 karma

Curious as to the cost of this surgery over there? My father had a triple done a few years ago it was about $250,000 all said and done.

Be careful do not underestimate the tenderness of your chest muscles. A few days after my dad was released, he pulled some muscle deep in your chest or rib cage area that still hasn't healed right.

pablorobo6 karma

Coughing is agony and I have to hold a pillow close to my chest - it also usually doesn't free up the gunk so I cough a second time.

It cost me nothing - the NHS in Britain is paid for through our taxes (as in most European countries) and is FREE at the point of need. As I have said before no government in the UK right or left would seriously suggest changing this - the NHS is very very popular. Those in the USA who claim otherwise are simply lying.

mmrr131 karma

What else about you is can be divided by 5?

pablorobo2 karma

Give me 5 and I'll come up with an answer to this.

EtGE1 karma

What was going on in the time between when you were told you needed the surgery and when the surgery actually happened? Was it a short amount of time in between/ did they have you eat differently or anything in the interim?

Good luck with the rest of recovery.

pablorobo2 karma

Two days. In fact more like 38 hours.

Soviet_Russia3211 karma

This is a kind of strange question, I know, but were you racked with debt from the hospital? How was it paid for and how much did it cost? I ask because my parents, who are your age or a bit older, watch a lot of Fox News, which says that in a "socialist nanny state" like the UK, prices are really high, people don't live in actual houses (only apartments), and the government controls everything.

pablorobo3 karma

The NHS is free at the point of need. It is paid for by taxes. It works very well. Do not believe Fox News or the tea partiers - it is very very popular in the UK and no right or left wing politician would dare to suggest it should be changed in any significant way. And no the government in the UK does not control everything - the current government is right wing and supported in a coalition by a centre right party which used to be left wing. Don't believe the hype!

Mythical_Empire1 karma

Were your dizzy spells particularly alarmful? How long were you experiencing them and what medications were you on? Pardon my invasive questioning but I am in the med-student and am interested.

pablorobo1 karma

I had them two days and they felt alarming. I didn't lose consciousness at any time but I did think it a threat. I probably should have gone to the hospital on the first evening that I experienced them but I was fooling myself that it would pass and was down to something else. The next day they came more rapidly and I could not pretend to myself any longer that all was well. Typical guy.

CopperMyDog-5 karma

Does your dick still work

Murphthegurth3 karma

Asking the important questions.

pablorobo1 karma

Yes absolutely. Shall I post pictures as it is pretty impressive - I need a new g/f : see above)! Joking aside to begin with soon after the op I had no interest in thinking about sex but a couple of weeks on I'm gagging for it. This is Reddit so I should be honest and answer I suppose. Yes I can get still it up.

ButtsexEurope-6 karma

Did you just eat lard for 15 years straight?

pablorobo1 karma

No but I do love cold streaky salt pork. That I will miss.

MakeYourMarks-7 karma

What was Reddit like in 1959?

Netprincess2 karma

It was called a partyline.

pablorobo1 karma

I remember sharing telephones with a neighbour so not that far off Netprincess.