CT Angiogram… isn’t technology marvellous?


What is it? It’s a life saver that’s what it is…

I probably didn’t have heart disease ( I had been told…) I had low(ish) cholesterol, a non smoker, a social drinker and not overweight (well maybe half a stone or so..) and so classical “not the profile” but this extremely clever bit of kit would say  otherwise. It is described so:

computed tomography angiogram (CT angiogram) is a test that uses X-rays to provide detailed pictures of the heart and the blood vessels that go to the heart, lung, brain, kidneys, head, neck, legs, and arms. A CT angiogram can show narrowed or blocked areas of a blood vessel.

It would see that all was not well inside me. My biggest concern beforehand was …No Caffeine for 24 hours beforehand, that’s no tea FOR 24 WHOLE HOURS!!!  

Impossible and very stressful!!

Friday Morning I was up and organised early and off I went to the brand new hospital at Didsbury this time. Once I arrived, (with my only concern was the lack of a cup of that tea!) I was asked if I minded waiting as they had an urgent case to scan and felt this person had a problem. “no worries” says I, happy that I wasn’t considered “urgent” and got my crochet out… I would just get to the Trafford Centre a little later than I had planned.

I eventually went into the scanning suite. A cannula was popped in my arm and I was gowned up completely unaware of what was coming.

The gentleman before me didn’t look too good, I felt for him, they were concerned, not surprisingly I thought.

About an hour later it was my turn. I was my usual chatty optimistic self, and hopped onto the bed. I was anxious to do my part correctly… the machine asks you to breathe in and out so that it can get in sync with the hearts activity and take its scans of your heart at the exact correct time . I had been asked if I need anything to “calm me down” so that anxiety didn’t adversely affect the result I assume. Nope I was OK I said.

After it was all done I sensed a bit of extra special “affection”. I had met Jane the cardiac nurse previously when I had the ECG, we had discussed grandchildren and allsorts, she is lovely, she took me into a small room and brought the long awaited cup of tea. She then said that Dr Schmitt wanted a word with me and was I ok…. HMMMM????

He came in, a lovely softly spoken Doctor, he held my hands (never a good sign) he asked me how I felt…” Fine” I said …Why?

“You have severe Coronary Heart Disease. The CT angiogram shows significant coronary artery disease. I am so sorry, we were all really surprised, you seem so healthy, I’m sorry we asked you to wait,  are you sure you feel OK?”

At which point I burst into tears… I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself, I was actually relieved, In my heart of hearts I knew something was amiss. Now I knew for sure.

“What happens now?” I asked.

 “You need to see Dr Davidson asap., we will give you a GTN spray and aspirin and I want you to report to A & E if you have ANY discomfort in your chest before Monday ( when I was scheduled to see Dr Davidson.) Are you Ok to drive home? Would you like another cup of tea? “

 “But I am going to South Africa” Says I through my tears

“We’ll see” was the response.

In a state of shock I eventually left the hospital. I needed to tell Malcolm, I didn’t want to worry or upset him, or for the boys to overhear our conversation (Josh and Callum work with Malcolm) so I sent a text and asked him to ring me when he had a minute and was on his own, approximately 10 seconds later he rang and by the time I got home he was waiting for me…My rock   💕

What a strange weekend that was… 10 days later I was due to fly to South Africa. We were going for a month… there were lots of people joining us during that month…Josh, Amy, Oscar, Callum, Theo, Theo’s friends Matt and Gordon, Sandra (cousin but more like a sister) and Tony, our oldest friends Mark and Fiona. “Not going” wasn’t an option in my mind.

I had explained this to Dr Schmitt and he had just smiled and said wait to see what Dr Davidson thinks, but at least now we know what’s going on.

I should have been excitedly packing for the holiday of a lifetime to celebrate our 60ths but our lives had gone on hold, I had little idea what we were dealing with.

Although, weirdly, I wasn’t frightened.