Doreen Irvine lost her husband Edmond in October 2014. Doreen and their 5 children still find it hard to believe that he is gone. “We were married for 31 years and had watched our children grow up and make us grandparents.
“Edmond was an active farmer and although he had had a stroke 22 years ago when he was just 39, he made a good recovery. After initially losing his speech and some movement, he made great improvements to point where he returned to milking the cows only 10 days later when he got out of hospital. The only issue he had was his right hand was not as strong as his left and he was on medication following the stroke but that was reduced over the years. Edmond wasn’t a sickly man. He maybe got colds, but was just the same as everyone else.”
On 25th October 2014, Edmond was taking part in a sponsored walk on Divis Mountain. He’d phoned his wife Doreen twice that day and everything was going well. He didn’t mention anything out of the ordinary. He was walking with friends and didn’t state to them that he was feeling unwell or finding the going difficult. In fact, when he collapsed, he fell to the ground so soundlessly that they thought he had just tripped. Sadly Edmond hadn’t tripped. A blockage in the main artery had caused his heart to fail and despite immediate attention from a first aider and nurses who were also on the mountain that day, plus the arrival of paramedics, who worked on him all the way to the Royal Victoria Hospital, Edmond passed away.
Edmond’s daughter Stacy explains, “The doctors reckon it was all over before my dad hit the ground. He had no warning signs but what I do want to say to other people is this: If you are fortunate enough to have warning signs, please do not ignore them. I know it is strange to say someone would be ‘fortunate’ to have warning signs of a heart attack, but those symptoms are there to give you the chance to get medical help. Don’t leave your family thinking ‘If Only’.”
The symptoms of a heart attack are:
S – Something’s not right – symptoms can start slowly
T – Tightness or pain in the chest, pain in the arm, neck or jaw
O – Other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea or sweating
P – Phone 999 immediately – the ambulance crew will do an ECG
Find out more about the cardiac support services that Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke offer.