Published: Monday, December 21st, 2015

Christmas at home for heart patient

A heart transplant patient who woke from a coma at the Golden Jubilee on Christmas day has told of her recovery over the last 12 months.


In the run up to Christmas last year, while visiting the Golden Jubilee for a check up, Samantha Bell unexpectedly suffered a cardiac arrest and her life was saved by staff on duty at the hospital.


Samantha has been making a gradual recovery throughout 2015 but is planning a special festive season at home having spent last Christmas Day in hospital.


She said: “I didn’t know where I was when I woke up in intensive care and had no memory of the whole week before but I recognised my boyfriend Lee as soon as I opened my eyes and he told me it was Christmas Day.


“It was a strange experience but my two best friends did visit me and I don’t usually see them on Christmas Day. It sounds cheesy but my friends and family all said it was their best Christmas present because I was awake and able to talk to them.


“It was a difficult time for my family who decided to celebrate Christmas with me in February when I was home from hospital. It was really nice to be able to have a proper Christmas as it is meant to be spent, with loved ones. We decorated a tree, had Christmas dinner and opened presents. It was a lovely thing to do since Christmas had been such a hard time for everyone.


“This year I am really looking forward to Christmas. Lee and I have put up the Christmas tree and wrapped presents which we were unable to do together last year.”


Samantha had been treated by the Scottish National Advanced Heart Failure Service (SNAHFS) for Cardiomyopathy, a condition which affects heart muscles, for nearly 10 years before receiving a heart transplant at the Golden Jubilee in 2011. Since leaving hospital in February, she has had regular check-ups at the Golden Jubilee.


Samantha said: “I have started to notice a real difference in my health since my last visit to the Golden Jubilee and by the beginning of next year I hope to be back at work. I currently go to a clinic at the hospital every two weeks but soon I hope to be at the stage where I only need to visit once every six months.


“A lot of people don’t make it after a cardiac arrest so I have been incredibly lucky and everybody at the Golden Jubilee has been great this year. Without the unconditional support of my boyfriend Lee and the staff at SNAHFS, I wouldn't have made as much progress.”


Dr Mike Higgins, Medical Director at the Golden Jubilee, said: “The Golden Jubilee is a centre of excellence in heart disease and although she has had a difficult year I am glad to hear Samantha is making good progress.


“It is great to hear she will be able to spend Christmas at home this year and on behalf of everyone at the Golden Jubilee we would like to wish her and her family a very Happy Christmas.”

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