I suppose it is time to talk about this.
Through last winter I (Ashley) was feeling very breathless, I put it down to the smoke and air pollution, used ventolin, it seemed to help a bit. Then in late January when I was in the UK I started having chest pain. I put it down to the severe cold and since the discomfort wasn’t particularly disabling and stopped if I rested I did not think too much of it.
Then once back in Selçuk I decided it was probably a good idea to go see my family doctor. Things happened fast. An ECG was done, she was worried about it so an ambulance was called to take me to the local hospital. They did more tests and another ECG. This resulted in another ambulance and then being blue-lighted to Medical Park, a big private hospital in Izmir. They did some more tests, wired me up for monitoring, filled me up with some pills, and scheduled an angiogram and potential angioplasty for the following day. I’m not sure what all the pills were but they made me drowsy so I don’t remember a great deal. I Know Hilary was there, I know lots of forms were signed, I know some bits were explained to me, and there are some gaps.
Next day after more sedation I get taken in for the angiogram, during which they followed up with an angioplasty fitting one stent. This was followed by a few hours in a Cardiac ICU before later that evening being moved back out to a more regular ward. This was good, I did not like ICU, though to be honest I slept through some of it. At least on the regular ward Hilary was able to be present so I had some company and the sedation had worn off.
The following morning I got to see the cardiologist again, was told that one artery was 90% blocked, that a medicated stent has been fitted, that there are some other arteries with a bit of build up but nothing to worry about. I was told to lose weight, watch diet, put on a regime of pills, clopidogrel, aspirin and a statin, and sent home. They said to rest for 24 hours and then return to normal activity, and obviously if there were any problems to go straight back, and with planned follow up in one month.
I spent 36 hours in a modern and swish private hospital, with state of the art equipment and everything that could be expected in terms of care, a major physical intervention, and time in ICU. The cost to me, zero, all picked up by the Turkish state health insurance I pay. The care was generally fantastic, though to be honest these days it all runs through clinical pathways. The doctors did what they needed to do and seemed extraordinarily competent. The nurses do less than they do in the UK, here family or friends are expected to attend to basic stuff, what they did do they did efficiently and by the book. It’s tick box nursing, but at least they followed the protocols and if there was reason to escalate they did so. It was my first (and hopefully my last) major encounter with health care here in Turkey, all I can say is the standard of care was fantastic and as said all picked up by state health insurance.
I’ve lost weight since then, 5 kilos or so, something which needed to happen. The cholesterol is down and where it needs to be. Lifestyle changes have been made. Clopidogrel is a pain in the proverbial, if I cut myself I bleed more, but I’ll be on it for a while. I’m now on follow up every three months and the doctors are very happy with my progress. So all good, onwards and upwards to new things in life.