Gerald McTernan is 72 years old. He lives in Leitrim with his wife Nora, where he worked for the ESB and used to farm. He has two adult children as well as two grandchildren. He is also living with heart failure. Gerald had open heart surgery in September 2014. Subsequently while in for a check-up, he complained of shortness of breath and fluid retention – and has now been diagnosed with heart failure. He continued, “I was very strong, which meant I recovered. I used to play football, tug of war and I did weight lifting. I also worked on my farm which kept me fit. This illness has been very hard on me, it changed everything. Having to travel to Galway and Dublin for treatment and surgeries was very hard on my family, especially my wife.” When asked if he had any advice for anyone experiencing symptoms of heart failure, Gerald added; “Get checked. Don’t put it off. I was relatively healthy and I didn’t smoke, so I wasn’t expecting it. It’s also very important you have a good doctor that you trust… that made all the difference.” Gerald McTernan 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.
“Get checked. Don’t put it off. I was relatively healthy and I don’t smoke, so I wasn’t expecting it. It’s also very important you have a good doctor that you trust… that made all the difference.”