Kit knows value of lifesaving machine

KIT Carson thought he was simply out of breath before doctors diagnosed his life-threatening illness.The quadruple heart-bypass survivor has told his story following the launch of the Evening Star's appeal to raise £22,000 for a cardiac ultrasound machine for Ipswich Hospital.

FORMER smoker Kit Carson thought he was invincible.

But he knows how heart failure can strike at any time.

Today, as we launch our 2006 Christmas Appeal, he tells his story to reporter HAZEL BYFORD.

KIT Carson thought he was simply out of breath before doctors diagnosed his life-threatening illness.

The quadruple heart-bypass survivor, of Jubilee Crescent, Stowupland, has told his story following the launch of Lifesaver: Evening Star Christmas Appeal 2006, which aims to raise £22,000 for a cardiac ultrasound machine for Ipswich Hospital's accident and emergency department.

He said: “People have a 'it won't happen to me mentality', I thought I was invincible, but it really could. It could happen to anyone at any time.

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“That's why it's so important to get the scanner through this appeal. If it can be used to diagnose people sooner and get them repaired it is a massive thing.

“I had to have an emergency operation because it was so time-critical, but maybe others can avoid that.”

The 65-year-old, an active member of the Stowmarket and District Lions Club, first discovered his illness in 1984.

He said: “I wasn't very old. I had just built the base for the Stowupland village sign and we were having a flag ceremony to open it.

“As everyone was standing there I got a pain in my upper chest which felt like indigestion. It gradually got worse and worse and I had to go home.

“A doctor came out and gave me antacid but the pain was horrendous and when I woke the following morning it was just as bad.

“I had to go to Keele for a work conference and found I was getting very short of breath. My answer was to stop and have another fag!

“When I got home and spoke to a doctor again he did an electrocardiogram (ECG) and told me I'd had a heart attack. I had to stop smoking, go home and wrap myself in cotton wool for two weeks and after that I was okay again.”

Mr Carson remained conscious about his heart health and it was not until 1997 the problems resurfaced.

After another stressful week at work, he found he was again experiencing a shortness of breath.

He said: “I went to see a doctor and he said I had to leave my car in the car park because he was calling me an ambulance to take me to Ipswich Hospital.

“I was in critical care for several days, then moved on to a different ward so I thought it was sorted. But alas not.

“One morning I woke with the pain like indigestion again. It got unbearable and felt like there was a herd of elephants inside of me so I got given morphine and managed to sleep.

“When I woke again I was in an unstable angina condition and blue-lighted in an ambulance to Papworth Hospital, near Cambridge, and everyone was acting like they had no time to tell me what was going on.

“I was taken to an operating theatre on a trolley and a doctor all ready for surgery appeared and I was frightened. I had to ask her to pinch me to see if I was dreaming.”

The doctor's measured the time it took for a cloudy substance to clear through his ventricle and travel round his body. It was discovered he had at least three, possibly four blockages which needed surgery and he was prepared for an operation.

A quadruple heart bypass was carried out on July 18 and it was one year later Mr Carson took part in his first fundraiser - a 60-mile cycle ride through the Lake District with his daughter Deborah, now 43, which raised £3,150.

Now Mr Carson, a former oil salesman and driver for Audi, is a regular fundraiser. The Lions club holds an annual Rhythm of Life walk which raises around £5,000 for heart charities in the area each year.

His wife Barbara is familiar with what he went through - having had a triple heart bypass herself.

Mr Carson said: “She followed me so we are a family who knows all about the subject.

“Fortunately I've had no problems with my heart since 1997 but I've certainly not forgotten.”

Weblinks:

www.stowlions.org.uk

www.ipswichhospital.org.uk

n Have you thought of holding a fundraising event? Could you help our appeal? Call Hazel Byford on 01473 324788, or e-mail her at hazel.byford@eveningtstar.co.uk

If you would like to support the appeal, you can send cheques made out to Lifesaver: Evening Star Christmas Appeal 2006, to 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN

OUR Lifesaver: Evening Star Christmas Appeal 2006 aims to raise £22,000 for a cardiac ultrasound machine for Ipswich Hospital's accident and emergency department.

The machine quickly helps doctors diagnose acute cardiac conditions, including heart failure, and is expected to help around 1,000 people every year.

Currently, the hospital relies on older technology such as x-rays. It has other ultrasound machines in the radiology department but often A&E patients need a scan immediately and the new machine will be on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The state-of-the-art machine can also do other ultrasound scans besides those for the heart.

We aim to reach the £22,000 target by mid January next year.

Members of the East of England Co-operative Society can help by quoting the dividend number 977 at the till.

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