My name is Michael Tennant and I'm 73 years of age.
18 months I went to see my local doctor
and asked him to give me a complete overhaul.
He did all the ordinary examinations,
cholesterol, blood and all this sort of thing.
Then he sent me for ECGs.
And then I met Mr West, Nicholas West, the consultant,
who listened to my heart and said, "Come and see me in six months."
One of my hobbies is, I've got classic cars,
and last August we went to Le Mans, to a car rally there.
The hotel we stayed in, the lift wasn't working
and we had to walk up two flights of stairs.
I got to the top of the second flight
and I was sitting with my suitcase, puffing like an old steam train,
frightened my two friends that were with me to death.
Five minutes later, I was alright and able to get off to the rally.
But walking up to the top of the grandstands,
which must have been a good 150 steps up to the top,
I had to stop several times going up there.
The day after I got back, I had my appointment with Mr West,
and that's when he sent me in to have the angiogram.
When we had the angiogram, the heart valves,
the four in the heart, were perfectly alright,
but the aorta valve, the big one,
was calcifying up and getting stiffer and stiffer in its operation.
It's like a flutter valve that opens one way and lets the blood through
and then shuts again, stops it flowing backwards.
When I was first told to have the aortic replacement,
I had a choice of two valves,
a mechanical one and one which I understand is a pig's valve,
and I decided on a metal one.
He said I had to then take warfarin every day for the rest of my life.
I didn't fancy that, so I opted for the other one.
If I didn't have it done, I suppose I could go any time,
but the failing under, say, the operation,
there's a two per cent chance of death,
which is, to my mind, not bad, two per cent out of a hundred.
So I decided to go and have it done.
I came round after the operation, saw them all standing there,
and he said he didn't understand how I was getting around so well as I was.
It was one of the worst he'd seen.
Next morning I walked up two flights of stairs with the physiotherapist.
The rest of the time, I was sitting on the bed or wandering about the ward,
no trouble at all.
Four days later I was back home.
I didn't go out much then for the first couple of days,
but then I'd walk up the hill
and have a look at the horses and wander back down.
Gradually I got farther and farther afield each day
and I can walk anywhere now.
I still puff and blow, but I keep going now,
whereas before I'd puff and blow and stop.
Now it's so vastly different.
After the operation, I wasn't allowed to drive for six weeks,
but after six weeks I drove around, no trouble at all.
I would say go ahead and have it. I wouldn't hesitate at all.
It'll make you feel totally different.
You can't really explain it, because until you've had it yourself,
you suddenly realise how you've slowed down,
so, yeah, definitely go ahead.
If somebody says have it, get it done as quick as you can.
Don't hang around and wait, just go in there and get it done.