Tag Archives: Life in Turkey

36 Hours and a Bionic Implant

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.

2012 – A Review Part 2 – April to June

 April

Late March and into April we had our first visitor of the year, Seamus. It was fun having a guest, we did loads of tourist stuff.  Ephesus, Didim, Priene, Miletos.  We ate out a lot, Seamus liked pide.  He really confused a local barber by wanting his head shaved, this brought about lots of amusement.

DSCN1088The bike needed some basic maintenance, new brakes for a start.  The battery was old and needed to be replaced.  We also wanted to be able to carry some stuff for when we go away.  We took it to Has Oto / Izmir Harley Davidson for the brakes, battery and a rack, and to have it fully checked over and serviced.

With the bike now fully roadworthy and legal we did a weekend trip to Bodrum.  Not very far, 3 hours down the road – it will be quicker in the future when the road works are completed.  Bodrum was fun, we went to the museumBodrum-castle-at-night in the castle which is excellent.  We met some fellow bloggers, Annie and Jack, shared beer and chat.  We had dinner at a harbour front restaurant.  We got caught up in a cycle race on the way home, this added to the fun.

Just before we left for the UK we found some really nice garden furniture in Kuşadası.  We had been looking for some for a while, had rejected the options from Koç Taş, and did not want plastic.  It was not great timing, delivery could not be arranged until after we got back, but the furniture was really good and excellent value.

May

The month started with a trip to see family and friends in the UK, and to do some shopping.  We brought back saddlebags and mounting kit, and a few other bits for the bike since they are really expensive here, plus a variety of other things we got on ebay which were stored by family.

With the weather getting very pleasant we thought it was a good idea to do some further improvements on the roof terrace.  We now had the outdoor furniture we purchased just before we went away.  We decided to get a BBQ, buying one in Selçuk along with tools, charcoal and lighting fluid.  This brought about the expected result, it decided to rain – the next couple of days were really stormy.  We take full responsibility for bringing the rains.  Once the rains cleared we made a lot of use of the BBQ, grilling marinated entrecote became very popular with us.

Time for our first proper road trip.  We loaded up the bike, clipping on the saddlebags, windshield and the rest.  The destination was the village of Gelemiş, KaunosDbut because it was the first time we were going to be on the heavily loaded bike we decided to break the outward trip in two and stop in Köyceğiz, allowing time for a day trip to Kaunos.  Köyceğiz is a lovely place to stop, quiet and very pretty, and about three hours from home.  Gelemis was lovely, we found a great pension in the village, little has changed since we were last there.  There was the same wonderful gözleme, the same shops, bars, restaurants and quiet charm.  We spent loads of time wandering around Patara, some of which has been greatly restored since we were last there and there are plans to restore more of the city.  We will be going back to see how this restoration develops.  We explored some of the dunes, strolled along the magnificent and deserted beach, rode to Xanthos and Letoon and took an organised kayak trip on the river.

June

June was a quiet month.  The weather had mostly calmed down, day after day of warm sunshine, apart from the one day in early June when we decided to go to CundaAyvalık.  We got very wet before we had got as far as Izmir.  By the time we got to Ayvalık we had dried out and most of our gear had stayed dry.  We spent a couple of nights there, went to the wonderful market, ate fish on the seafront, took a trip to Cunda to eat more fish.  Rode out to Şaytan Sofrası.  Drank some Rakı.

We started the process of getting Ashley a Turkish driving licence.  A friend helped us to get the file of forms, and with some advice on the steps we needed to take.  We filled out all the forms, Ashley had an eye test, got the UK licence translated and notarised, and generally spent a couple of days running back and forth before leaving everything with the police.

Having bought a decent flat screen TV a couple of months ago we decided it was about time to have a better choice of channels.  We took out a deal with Digiturk, they sent people to complete the paperwork, hook up the system and run us through the box and handset, pretty much exactly the same as would be got from Sky back in the UK.  Having digiturk meant we could watch the football over the summer, and the Olympics.  We also had a far better selection of local channels, good for helping us with language skills.  We may add to the basic package at some point in the future.