David Best is 79 years old. He lives in Sligo with his wife, Dympna, where he worked in banking and went on to become a company representative for a financial company. He has five grown up children and two grandchildren.
He is also living with heart failure.
Prior to having a triple bypass in 2004, he was very active, “I’d cycle 50 miles up to the mountains in Sligo. I also loved to swim. After the operation, I managed to keep up the swimming.”
“It all came as a surprise. I was having a medical done and was sent for a scan and they discovered I had 3 blocked arteries. After I came out of the operation I was a new man – it was like a re-birth.”
Because of the damage to his heart muscle, David went on to develop heart failure. Heart failure, sometimes known as congestive heart failure, occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should.
When asked if he had any advice for anyone experiencing symptoms of heart failure, he said, “I would say to anyone experiencing any symptoms to go and get checked sooner rather than later. You might think some of the symptoms are innocent. Just get it checked out.”
He continued, “Men are desperate at getting checked when they think there’s a problem… you make excuses. I thought how I was feeling was a normal part of getting older. I worked in a high-pressure job and I was very busy with work. I think that’s why I didn’t take much notice of how I was feeling.”
He continued, “It suddenly hits you that it’s having an impact on your family too. They worry about you. That’s why I enjoy going to heart failure support classes and meeting other people who have had similar experiences. You build up a bond and it has helped me build my confidence back up.”
David Best was interviewed by Croí on his experiences of Heart Failure as part of the Global Heart Hub ‘Red Flag Campaign’. This project aims to highlight the signs and symptoms of heart failure – and encourage those experiencing these symptoms to go to their GP and ask “Could it be heart failure?”
Croí is joining The Global Heart Hub and other organisations across 15 counties in this campaign to help raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart failure. The campaign can be followed online at #raisetheflag and www.globalhearthub.org.