My Heart Story


My Heart Story


In 1995 at 49 years of age I was Managing Director of my own company. The company had been very successful and I was looking forward to building the company over the next few years, taking on new ventures, enjoying being involved with my family growing up, watching my football team experience glory, planning retirement and all the other things that come along in the mid life stage of life.


One weekday night I came home tired but looking forward to starting my bid to regain fitness and lose weight by going swimming with my son.


After dinner I suffered minor indigestion which was unusual. A call to my GP resulted in his suggestion I get it checked at the local hospital so as to prevent me worrying. I would then get a good night's sleep in readiness for an important business meeting the next day.


Feeling a "wimp" and guilty for wasting hospital expertise and time and for bringing my wife and young family out at their bed time, I slinked in to the emergency ward of my local hospital. I almost did not go in. To my surprise I was immediately wired up, injected, prodded, monitored and blood tested. 


A sober looking cardiologist, totally unknown to me, walked in to tell me my test results. At last I could go home, I thought, but was worried about his ticking me off for wasting his time in front of my wife and kids.  

"Can I go now?” 

"No Mr Gould, I have your results and you may be about to have a major heart attack.” 

"And what does that mean?

 "You could die Mr Gould" he replied to give me a sense of gravity of the situation as I was being flippant and one foot on the floor ready to leave. 

"We are all going to die, but when?” 

"Tonight", he replied, "but just relax”.


Relax.! 

I was terrified. My family were sent home, I was filled with drugs, some of which were to make me relax and I waited to possibly die. A caring nurse, who I shall never forget, sat on the bed and talked normally and reassured me as much as she could. All I could think of was the mess I was leaving my family. My business was in difficulty and I had a number of important meetings the next day,

After an angiogram my cardiologist said he had called an emergency operating team to carry out the operation the next morning, a Saturday.

Not knowing this man who was now recommending an operation that could kill me I did what was bound to upset him. In the intensive care ward, with an emergency team on standby I demanded a “second opinion”!

A cardiologist was called (probably a friend of his). I asked him if he had seen the angiogram photos.

“Yes” he replied

“Do I have to have this operation?

“No, you don’t have to have it”, he replied.

“Wow, thank goodness, what a relief”, I said.

He took a deep breath, grinned and said,

But if you don’t have it, don’t go buying any new shirts, you wont need them”.


Tuesday morning (on our wedding anniversary) I had my triple bypass operation.

My wife Chris was at my side when I awoke hours after the patient in the bed beside me who was operated on after me.

The anaesthetist had warned her that I was such a nervous wreck that they had to knock me out with extra anaesthetic!

That was my introduction to the "cardiac world." It was a scary experience and the next week caused a great deal of concern for my family, my employees, business customers and myself. 


A triple bypass operation was my passport into this new and unfamiliar world. A stent in the vein-graft twelve year later was probably my passport renewal!

 The journey of readjustment has been bumpy both physically and emotionally. Although I have had many years of good health and enjoy life far more now than previously, there is no doubt that the event has changed me, my attitude to life and the values that are important to me.

Since that time I have reorganized my business and life in general. I have sold the business and spent the past 15+ years in my original profession of counseling psychologist, this time specializing in cardiac psychology.


As a cardiac rehabilitation facilitator I have listened to the experiences of hundreds of cardiac patients, their partners and families. I have researched the issues confronting them and have run workshops to assist patients readjust to their new found status of "heart patient.” 


The aim of this website is to share that knowledge and experience so that heart patients can be 

a) aware of the likely impacts of their condition, 

b) understand more easily what is happening and, 

c) can take actions to assist them gain the most from their lives and hopefully avoid a recurrence of the events they have experienced.


The website focusses on the non-physical impact of a "cardiac event." I outline the experiences of patients, explain the reasons for the impacts and provide some practical advice on how to minimize the impacts on themselves, families, colleagues etc.


To see some more details about me see the About Me pages.


© Len Gould 2013 Heartemotions (Version 1_2)