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Advice Line is a lifeline

stroke survivor Debbie Advice Line

Our Advice Line heroes need you more than ever. They are taking a huge number of calls during the coronavirus outbreak and need your support to keep helping people with chest, heart and stroke conditions. People like Debbie and Euan.

Advice Line helped me through dark times

Debbie's world changed forever when she suffered a stroke that nearly took her life. Here she shares how she got her fight back after picking up the phone to our Advice Line nurses.

I had a stroke just after my 40th birthday, completely out of the blue with no warning whatsoever. My husband and my mum were both by my side when the doctor told them I might not make it. And if I did, they didn’t know what kind of damage I’d be left with. They said it was hell – a day they will never forget – but they stayed strong for me. I can’t imagine what they were going through.

Against all odds, I survived but I really struggled with the return back home after hospital. I started feeling really anxious and depressed but I kept my feelings to myself. I wanted everyone to think I was back to being the normal, smiley Debbie.

Despite having my amazing family around me, I couldn’t help feeling increasingly isolated. I was too ashamed and embarrassed to tell them about my worries and how I was really feeling.

After that very first call, I felt so much better about myself.

I felt like I was reaching breaking point when I finally decided to do something about it. I sat for a long time before picking up the phone to Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s Advice Line. I even hung up a few times before plucking up the courage to stay on the line.

But when I did get through, the nurse was absolutely amazing. I felt like I could  really open up and ask all the personal questions I needed to ask about my physical and mental health. They’re expert stroke nurses so they knew exactly what I was going through and what I needed to hear to make me feel at ease.

After that very first call, I felt so much better about myself. It really was a lifeline for me and I know they’ve helped so many others through dark times.

The nurses are absolutely worth their weight in gold – I don’t know what I would’ve done without their help and their friendship. I would’ve been lost without them.

I hope everyone will give what they can so they can be there for other survivors like me who really need their help.

Euan Cameron Advice Line

Amazing nurses made me feel at ease

After having what can be described as a ‘silent’ heart attack, super-fit 62-year-old cyclist Euan was shocked when he suddenly felt seriously unwell on holiday.

You might think the effects of a heart attack would be so dramatic they would be impossible to ignore but
that’s not what happened to me. I had a heart attack and didn’t realise it.

It happened in October 2018 while I was on a cycling holiday in Spain with friends. I found myself struggling to get up the hills when usually I’d be racing ahead. I was very out of breath and felt a tightness under my chin but just thought it was my helmet strap causing a bit of friction and didn’t think too much of it.

My wife decided to call a friend of ours who is a cardiac nurse to get some advice and she recommended I get checked out, so I went to the local clinic.

I’ll never forget the doctor coming back to me and saying “I’m very sorry to tell you - you’ve had a heart attack.” I was completely floored. I’ve always been active and health issues hadn’t ever crossed my mind. When these things happen to you, you’re more vulnerable than you ever really know.

I called the Advice Line and the nurse was absolutely amazing. I felt like she really listened to me.

I had concerns about my recovery and at one point was feeling quite down. I called the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland Advice Line and the nurse was absolutely amazing. I felt like she really listened to me. I was quite emotional about it all but she made me feel at ease.

I’m starting to feel good about myself and I’ve been getting more active. I’ve also started volunteering at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s charity shop in Edinburgh which I’m really enjoying. It’s a nice way to give back.

We urgently need your help

Wendy Armitage is the Lead Advice Line Nurse at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland. Every day, she speaks to people who need our help.

Every day, I speak to people who are facing the lowest moments of their lives. They can feel scared and alone – and some feel like they have no one to turn to. But we are here. Our team of nurses is always a call away with emotional support and advice on how to cope with something that can feel impossible to overcome.

It’s a really rewarding feeling to be there for someone when they need our help. Some people just need a friendly voice and a chat with someone who understands what they’re going through – so they know they are not alone.

And now more than ever, people need our support. With coronavirus spreading across Scotland, people are worried – especially those with long term conditions and their families.

But with your help, we’ll always be there at the end of the phone whenever they need us. Our Advice Line Nurses are facing more calls than ever before in response to the coronavirus outbreak across Scotland. We need your help so they can keep helping people who are worried about how the virus will affect their lives and their loved ones.

Without your donations, our Advice Line Nurses won’t be able to reach those, and their loved ones, who need us most. Please donate now at chss.org.uk/donate

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Our advice line is under pressure and we urgently need your help.

We’re experiencing more calls than ever before. People are scared and isolated.

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