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Date: 7 May 2021
Sally Bee's QEHB book launch
Story posted/last updated: 18 December 2013
Almost 10 years ago, TV cook Sally Bee was told to say goodbye to her husband and three children after suffering three massive heart attacks in the space of a week, causing untold damage. The doctors said she may not survive.
Having proved the doctors wrong by heading healthily towards the ten-year anniversary of her survival, Sally has written a book – "After Your Heart Attack – a Guide to Getting Your Life Back on Track" – in which she shares how she got through her ordeal.
To launch her book, Sally, who has pledged to donate a copy to every coronary care bed in the UK, visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB), meeting staff and patients on the Coronary Care Unit.
Among those she met was Dr Francisco Leyva, Consultant Cardiologist, who wrote the foreword for her inspirational story.
Dr Leyva said: “The book is brilliant; it really provides something that often doctors cannot readily offer: the human side of illness and how to get back to your everyday life.
“Treatments and technology for heart conditions have been revolutionary over the past 30 years, and survival rates show that. However, mentally coming to terms with a heart condition and helping a patient fully get to grips with such a dramatic change to their lives is something doctors don’t train for.
“Sally’s book talks through her experiences, which is important for others suffering from a heart condition. She is a survivor and had returned to a normal life – the book offers hope and understanding in those days after a heart attack.”
Mac, aged 71 and a smoker, had suffered a heart attack the day before Sally arrived at QEHB. Sally spoke with him and she signed a copy of her book for him, and explained the ethos behind its creation.
When asked whether he was to quit smoking, Mac said he hoped to give up: “I can’t promise; I’ve smoked for most of my life and it will be hard but I do have grandchildren and I’d like to stop for them.
“My family are fantastic and I’ll try anything to not let them go through this again.”
Sally Bee said: “Meeting Mac on the Coronary Care Unit bought a lot back for me and reminded me of how delicate life can be. It is very hard to come to terms with the facts, particularly when sometimes you are told that you have spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). It is confusing as I didn’t, and most people don’t, understand some of these terms.
“I’ve been in the position of these patients, where you are scared and you don’t know what’s going to happen next.
“I suffered from three heart attacks in one week due to a SCAD – a tearing of the artery wall in your heart.
“'After Your Heart Attack' is a light guide to that confusion, anxiety and fear – helping you get your life back on track in a way that can be understood easily, in not so many pages.”
Gemma Wilkinson, Ward Manager on the Coronary Care Unit, said she was delighted that patients would be able to benefit from Sally’s experiences: “It was really great to meet Sally and talk through her book; I believe the book will be good for the patients that we see in helping to answer some of those questions in the personal tumult after surviving a heart attack.”
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