Dec 18, 2012
Having spent time in seven different hospitals twenty-three times throughout his life, Colin has very good reason to support medical research, having personally reaped many of its benefits.
One of the most serious incidents that landed him in hospital was a heart attack in 2001 just after he retired. Colin was 62 years old.
“I was outside gardening with a friend who was helping me unload a truck of mulch when I suddenly felt a pain in my chest,” recalls Colin.
“I thought maybe I was just tired and decided to relax in the bath. However, the pain did not improve and I called my neighbour who took me to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.”
“As soon as I got there and mentioned “heart” I was straight away hooked up to an ECG and being monitored. The promptness of their attention really impressed me.”
It turned out that Colin had four blocked arteries and required a quadruple bypass.
“I have never smoked, rarely drink and eat a relatively low fat diet, but as my dad, uncle and cousin have all had heart problems I think genes may have played a part in me having a heart attack. Dad died when he was 75 after years of suffering from hardening of the arteries, my uncle died at 57 and my cousin at 61, both from heart attacks,” said Colin.
Recently Colin was advised by his surgeon Professor Horowitz at TQEH that his heart was now 15% better than the average person his age with his condition.
“Colin really is a living example of the benefits of medical research,” said his wife Sue.
A few years ago he inhaled red-river gum sawdust whilst cutting up a tree, causing a fungus to form on his lungs. For treatment, Colin went to TQEH every day for about 3 months to be treated with a drug called amphotericin through a PICC line in his neck.
The side effects of the drug were unfortunately quite debilitating, meaning Colin suffered from depression for the best part of 18 months. However, having that drug actually saved his life.
Besides Colin’s time spent at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the couple have a strong connection with the hospital for other reasons.
“We were unfortunate to lose our son Bruce to kidney failure when he was 22, but the treatment he received from TQEH was the best he could have,” said Sue.
“On the positive side, two of our children were born at TQEH, and I spent time there whilst studying Clinical Pastoral Education,” she said.
Because of their experiences Colin and Sue understand that research needs to be ongoing and that it must be financed for that to happen.
“Colin has personally benefited from research into heart disease, and drugs used to improve heart function have meant his life span has been lengthened, as well as improved. These drugs are only available because of ongoing medical research,” said Sue.
“Our way of supporting research is becoming The Hospital Research Foundation Life Guardians, so that others can benefit from continual medical research like our family has.”