Mr Williams a 73-year-old gentleman living in the suburbs of London. In this post he tells us about his typical day self-managing his heart condition.
6:00: I get up feeling a little breathless, push off the duvet and peer down at my feet. The swelling has gone down a little.
6:30: Having had a wash, I weigh myself, my practice nurse has asked me to keep a record of my daily weight that I bring back to them every fortnight.
7:15: I take my tablets while waiting for my wife to get up. My pharmacy is really good they put them in a pill box for me so I don’t have to remember what I need to take (and thankfully I don’t have to worry about finding a toilet after taking my water tablets). Not going out today as my grandchildren are coming, I love seeing them and watch them play in the garden but worry I can’t keep up with them any more.
08:00: Having breakfast, it doesn’t always taste as good – I have my medications to thank for that, they do make my mouth taste a little…unusual.
10:00 Grandchildren arrive. They are boys aged 6 and 8. While the 6-year-old plays with his cars, the 8-year-old likes helping me with a little weeding, I cannot bend down any more as I get dizzy but I show him which plants are weeds and he pulls them out.
12:00 Lunchtime, more medication.
13:00 I go inside and take my shoes off. My feet have swollen because I’ve been sitting down in the garden most of the morning. My doctor asks me to keep my feet up but I do forget. Going for a nap now.
16:00 Just woken up. Feeling a little unsettled, sit up and feel dizzy from rising too fast. My wife hovers around me to make sure I am OK.
16:15 I can feel my heart going a little fast; this is the second time this has happened this week. I need to organise a GP appointment, but I can’t be bothered with the long queue today. They say you can use your phone to text them, but my wife and I aren’t really up to date with all the new gizmos, we’re not sure how to do it.
18:00 My heart has settled down now (finally!) and my daughter turns up to pick up the boys.
20:45 Time to take my cholesterol tablets. Some people apparently have leg aches and nightmares because of these but I’m lucky – I don’t get either. Going to bed now. Have had a nice day, but I do feel so tired.
Mr Williams isn’t real. But there are many people like him – people living with heart failure and other long term medical conditions.
King’s College London has developed Supporting People Living with Long Term Conditions, a free online course that explores some of the issues and challenges people coping with long term conditions face, and should equip healthcare professionals, family and friends of those with long-term conditions to be better able to assist in self-management.