Eighty-year-old grandfather and cricket enthusiast, David Kempster from Tring, kept fit and active before he suffered a heart attack in March 2015.
Instead of enjoying an evening out with his wife Annie as he had been planning, he was blue-lighted to Watford hospital where he had three stents fitted to his heart. Further complications followed and after suffering severe breathlessness five litres of fluid were removed from his lung cavity. The experience left him feeling weaker and less steady on his feet putting paid to his daily three-quarter of a mile walk.
Here David describes how regular sessions with The Hospice of St Francis’ physiotherapist Manisha Cook have increased his strength and improved his balance helping him to get back on his feet…
“Until I had the heart attack I was 100%. I was fit and active and walked three-quarters of a mile a day. I did have warning signs that all was not well but I didn’t take any notice of them because, as I tend to eat quite quickly, I thought I had indigestion when in fact I was having slight angina attacks.
“When I had the heart attack I was getting ready to go out for the evening with Annie. I said I didn’t feel very well and went to lie down but it soon became clear I was having a heart attack and we called for an ambulance.
“I was in Watford Hospital for a week. They fitted three stents and all seemed to be going well at first but I had to go back in within a couple of days because I couldn’t breathe properly. Once they’d taken the fluid from my lungs I felt better and my breathing was much easier.
“I was referred to the Hospice by my GP in December last year. When I first heard the word hospice I was filled with dread but when I came up here the staff were all so kind, helpful and considerate they completely put me at ease. They keep an eye on you all the while – it cannot be faulted.
“The Hospice’s Medical Director, Dr Sharon Chadwick, reviewed my medication and, in consultation with my GP, reduced the number of water tablets I was taking from two to one, which immediately made me feel more comfortable. I also started going to Strength and Balance with Manisha once a week.
“I’d had a couple of nasty falls in the house and I was terrified of falling over. The strength and balance class has really helped steady me. I find the balance exercises quite difficult but I’m going to stick with it.
“The Hospice really has done me good. I just want to be able to get out and about, go out for a walk and sit in the sun. Before I came here all I wanted to do was go to bed because that was where I felt most comfortable during the day.
“I’ve got a stroller and before I started coming to the Hospice, I couldn’t walk further than five or six yards without getting out of breath. Now I can walk a quarter of a mile when the weather is nice.
“When the cricket season starts I will be up at Tring Park Cricket Club every Saturday where I’m a trustee. I played for them from 1956 and only stopped when I was 55-years-old, when I couldn’t field properly any more. Now I go there every week to watch during the season when it’s not raining.
“All the staff at the Hospice have been first class. I really enjoy coming here as it’s never a chore, even though after Strength and Balance with Manisha I always feel tired out!”