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March 28th, 2020
General NewsHealth and Lifestyle

Eight years ago I had a big health scare – Rachael Barnes

Eight years ago I had a big health scare.

Looking back it had been coming for a while.

I’d been suffering from headaches for so long that taking painkillers was a daily part of my life and I had gotten used to the pains in my chest and didn’t have time to give them a second thought.

And then I collapsed.

The six months before this happened had been really stressful. I managed to sell my business just before I was about to go bankrupt, I’d just about survived a gruelling inspection in my teaching job and my eldest child had been seriously ill and couldn’t tell us (his speech is limited).

I was exhausted and emotionally wrung out.

Funnily enough I didn’t collapse until all this was over.

It was a Sunday evening and we were having tea at my mum’s house when I started to feel really unwell. I suddenly felt hot and sweaty, I couldn’t hear properly and everything went blurry. I managed to crawl away out of sight of my children and collapsed on the floor. I really thought I was going to die and was mentally trying to think of instructions to give my husband on how I wanted my kids to be brought up.

Tests showed that my blood pressure was through the roof and during my examination my doctor detected my heart murmur.

I was sent for a scan and an echocardiogram. I remember asking why the scan was necessary and was told they needed to check that my prolonged high blood pressure hadn’t caused damage to any of my organs.

I sat in the hospital while my children played in the waiting room and felt really angry with myself.

Ignoring the signs that I was unwell could’ve caused permanent damage and it was a big wake up call to manage my stress better.

Tests revealed that I have a minor heart condition that hopefully won’t cause any problems if I look after myself.

So today as I sit waiting for my regular check up I’m really grateful that my body warned me to slow down.

Other people are not so fortunate.

I’m writing this in the hope that it will encourage other people to check their blood pressure regularly. I now have a monitor at home so that I can keep a close eye on it.

Eventually I quit the stressful job to spend more time with my children and I haven’t looked back. And I never take my health for granted x

Rachael Barnes, Confidence and Self Worth Coach

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