Monday, September 22, 2014

 'Weird feeling' leads to expert care after heart attack

GOOD fortune is often said to come from being in the right place at the right time. Thornlands refrigeration mechanic Ray Hackett says Redland Hospital and the morning of Thursday, August 28, met those two criteria for him.
About 3am on Wednesday, Ray rang the ambulance after he felt a sensation of pressure in his chest build to pain then subside.
“It was a weird feeling, like someone put an air hose in my chest,” he says.

RAY had another episode after the paramedics arrived. In hospital, Ray patiently waited for the full assessment of his condition, then bang, that building and fading pain again.
“The top cardiologist in Brisbane, Dr Gill, was doing his rounds and he's apparently only at the hospital for a few hours once a week,” Ray says.
“He walked into my ward just as I had a turn.
“They put the machine [electrocardiograph monitor] on me but couldn't see anything unusual.
“Dr Gill leaned over and said, 'I'll show you – this man's trying to have a heart attack'.
“He said it was the top artery and it was blocking and releasing.”

RAY says Dr Gill directed a transfer to Princess Alexandra Hospital where staff said he was fortunate to have come to the attention of “the number-one heart doctor, the numero uno”.
On Friday evening, Ray was in the operating theatre to have a stint put in the faulty artery. He was told during his discharge briefing on Saturday morning that his quick reaction to the first burst of pain meant he had escaped major damage.
He advises anyone with such a “pressure and pain build-up” to seek medical attention immediately and not to ignore such a warning sign.
On Sunday evening, he said he felt “as good as gold”. The health emergency, however, had made him  think seriously about retiring after 54 years in the workforce and about 50 years in refrigeration.

RAY Hackett Refrigeration Services features in the Bulletin's Trade Services Classifieds and has been familiar to many Redlanders since he moved from Victoria about 15 years ago.
He plans to have a few weeks off work to think about the future. Undoubtedly, he will dab brushes onto canvas. Painting has been Ray's relaxation for about 25 years.
He has been with Stephen Holliday's art group but missed Sunday's scheduled Art by the Boardwalk exhibition and demonstrations at Raby Bay.
This spring brings the first anniversary of the boardwalk event, which runs on the first Sunday of the month.
Let's hope Ray will show a new painting or two on October 5 as well as practise his skills at the easel under the watchful eyes of the spring browsers.

This column has appeared in The Redland City Bulletin.

'Slice of your life' gives feast of memoirs

THE often quarrelsome relationships between dog and cat seem to set a style for other branches of the animal kingdom.
In many cases of canine-feline coexistence, each appears to hate the other other with a passion, fighting over food and territory, and often having a nip or swipe at the other for no clear reason.
In the human world, journalists and teachers may behave in a similar manner, blaming each other for the perceived drop in literary standards among the younger generations.
With a little apprehension and bated breath I fronted up this week to interview a retired teacher about writing, and was relieved when Rowena James, despite devoting her life to lifting English standards, proved to be not only a gentle critic but also an inspirational one.

ROWENA's early retirement last year must have meant a sad loss to the teaching profession as she enjoys sharing her deep knowledge and understanding about writing, and  can do it with an endearing sense of humour that must have helped her students remember their lessons.
After three decades teaching in south-east Queensland high schools and holding four positions as deputy principal, Rowena now lives at Victoria Point, enjoying walks with her beloved Pomeranian, Max.
“When I retired I felt lost,” she said. “I had brought up my kids as a sole parent and they had left home.
“I had worked all my life but the job had gone and all my friends had been connected with the job.”
Rowena said she had joined the Victoria Point Library book club for something to do, and “I haven't looked back − opportunities I hadn't dreamed of have opened up”.

ONE of those opportunities has been the RedWrites Memoir Group (Redland City Bulletin, Public Notices, August 13) ), which offers “peer to peer critiquing”, welcomes beginners and undoubtedly benefits from Rowena's experience.
Rowena has already written about 100,000 words of her memoir and is ready with tips to help those who feel they need it.
“People may need encouragement to tell their story,” she said. “A lot aren't very confident, but there is a lot to be gained from telling your own story.
“I have learnt a lot about myself.”
She said a memoir was not the full story, as an autobiography might aim to tell, but rather was “just a slice of your life”, making it an easier writing project.
The notice advertised a memoir workshop at the library today (August 20) from 2pm to 4pm − with more on the third Wednesday each month. The writers' group, RedWrites Redlands, meets at Capalaba Community Centre on the first Tuesday each month.

This column has appeared in The Redland City Bulletin.