Heart bypass - Alec's story 

Alec Keep, a chauffeur from Bedfordshire, had a heart bypass in Papworth Hospital, after having two heart attacks.

"I had a pain in my chest. I nearly sat down and thought, 'It will go soon'. Then I remembered the advert with the guy with the belt around his chest, so I rang 999.

"The mobile paramedic was here in about four or five minutes, then the ambulance came. They took me to hospital, but they had to stop on the way and get my heart going again because it had stopped pumping.

"When I got into hospital, they had a tough job saving me, but they pulled me through.

"I knew the basics of what they were going to do because I had seen it on a leaflet. But I didn't want anybody to talk to me about it. It was just my way of handling the situation.

"When I went in to have my operation, I was joking with the porters. The only time I had any problems was when I phoned my wife Sheena at lunch time before my operation in the afternoon. I shouldn't have done. We both cried.

"But apart from that, I was fine, and I've been fine since. I was only in hospital for seven days, then I came home.

"It's been very, very good. I've recovered exceptionally well. I've done exactly what they've told me. Sheena is my matron and makes sure that I don't do anything wrong.

"I can do my exercises at home. I've got a book to put all my pace and everything in, including how I feel. That'll go on for 12 weeks. Then I'll go back to Papworth, and they'll tell me what a good boy I am!

"I've been very surprised, all the way through, how quickly I recovered. I was driving in four weeks. Friends would say, 'You're doing too much' or 'Oh, you can't do that'. Everybody encourages you to get moving, but not to overdo it.

"Anybody who has a pain in their chest should phone 999. I've got a problem with a hiatus hernia, and I know I have pains, but this was different.

"Just phone 999, and sort it out. If it isn't a heart attack, everybody at the hospital the paramedics, the doctors and the nurses will be pleased that it isn't. But if it is, they're there to help you."

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Page last reviewed: 15/01/2015

Next review due: 15/01/2017