Ross Driver survived several recent heart attacks and has made a steady recovery after multiple bypass surgery.
Ross Driver survived several recent heart attacks and has made a steady recovery after multiple bypass surgery. Max Fleet

Ross puts heart into health plea

WHEN Scott Driver looked down at his dad, Ross, in a bed in a Brisbane hospital’s intensive care unit, he said two words.

“Dad’s stuffed.”

Scott’s mother, Wendy Driver, was forced to agree with the frank assessment.

Mr Driver, a Milliquin mill planning engineer, had just undergone five bypasses in one six-hour operation, after suffering multiple heart attacks.

Surgeons had taken Mr Driver’s heart out of his chest, put it on ice and then began to repair damage done to his arteries from a lifetime struggle to control his Type 1 diabetes.

The health nightmare began in late January, as Mr Driver walked to work after putting his car in for a service.

He felt a tingle up his arm, short of breath and pain across the chest. The 58-year-old was having a heart attack and did not know it.

Because of his diabetes, cholesterol had formed like pearls, or acne, in his arteries.

Despite showing cholesterol levels in a normal range when tested, about 80-90% of his arteries were blocked.

In addition to the coagulation of cholesterol, many people with diabetes suffer from a deadening of nerves due to the disease, so Mr Driver could not actually feel how much pain he was in.

He got to work before being rushed to Bundaberg Hospital.

“Up at Bundaberg Hospital I had an episode — that’s what they’re calling heart attacks these days,” Mr Driver said.

Three to four “episodes” later, Mr Driver was in surgery at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane.

“I could have died,” he said.

But despite being “stuffed” following surgery, Mr Driver was up and about a mere two days later.

“All you could see coming down the corridor was this bank of machinery — I couldn’t even see him,” Mrs Driver said.

“He needed a ‘wide load’ sign.”

Back at home after a two-week stay in Brisbane, Mr Driver’s recovery from the epic surgery is slow and steady.

And he has urged with diabetes to always stay on top of the disease.

He said that because of a period in his 20s, when doctors were unsure of a diagnosis, he was in complete denial he had diabetes and acted accordingly by not looking after his diet.

“Don’t go off the rails because it will catch up with you,” Mr Driver said.



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