Jan 10
KentFSmith
KentFSmith , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Short Version Of A Long Story, And Maybe Like Your Own.

I am a widower and father.  I retired in 2013 at age 59, sold my suburban home in the SF Bay Area and moved to Seattle.  I love Seattle, and my son and daughter-in-law live here.  Being single and relatively young I moved to an urban neighborhood and began exploring Seattle and socializing in various ways.  I found myself hankering for connections in my local neighborhood and started occassional visits to a tavern down the street.  My hankering took me back to my single days before marriage, long ago, when I lived foot loose and fancy free.  But I also smoked back then, and with many people at the bar being smokers and with a smoking patio, I began to indulge.  About every 6-8 weeks I would break down and buy a pack and chain smoke it at the bar, socializing and drinking.  And of course, regret it for days afterward.  After a year of that pattern, one day I experienced a slowly building burning in my lungs, which went away and then came back the next day and didn't go away.  I made my way to the ER where one of the first things they did was to give me nitrogylcerin - that helped like a miracle.  I spent 3 days in hospital and left after many different tests and angioplasty - 2 stents.  Since then I have been hyper-alert to any ache or pain in my chest, any unusual sensation, several ER visit just in case.  I have not experienced any sensations that would lead me to take a nitro, but I have suffered nonetheless.  I have even had a few instances of smoking-relapse - cases where I clicked into denial while I made my way to the tavern and friends with a pack of cigarettes.  I don't crave the smoking, I crave the social freedom and the smoking just is too strong an association, so I'm avoiding the bar scene altogether.  Which, along with the anxiety of PTSD and hyper-alert mode, has become very depressing.  I haven't made any close friends here (the notorious "Seattle Freeze" at work) and I cannot reply on my son and daughter-in-law for all my needs and interests, so I've recently taken steps to help myself.  I have started psychotherapy, which I did in the past around my wife's problems and death, and I've gone to my healthcare provider and worked with them on my concerns, and I've also started to reach out to people in my building and in Seattle that I'm acquainted with to counter my tendency to isolate and to try to build some sort of personal support system, similar to before I retired and moved and saw people everyday and was a long-timer in my neighborhood.  Now I'm looking for an after-care counseled support group for people with CAD problems like me and PTSD experiences.  Which brings me to the AHA Support Network.
2 Comments
  • robinsaunders
    robinsaunders,
    Hey Kent, it was really good to read your story. It took me a while to tell my story too and hard. It's really great to see someone open up about their experiences. I had a quad bypass 6 months ago. I was very surprised and shocked since I'm a personal trainer who is in very good shape and a very clean water for years. It's been a tough time especially the depression I went through. Thanks for posting!
  • apatis
    apatis,
    Hi Kent, I, too, live in the Seattle area, and retired and a CAD patient with total occlusion in my main artery and a stroke survivor. Feel free to read my story under Stories of Survival FIGHTING BACK. and/or send me a private message, if you wish. IN THE MEANTIME, KENT, KEEP FIGHTING. al
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