Voices from the UK's pulmonary hypertension community
Retired newspaper editor Mike Unger is 78 and lives on the Wirral. He was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension in 2016.
“To be honest, the last couple of years haven’t been too bad. Being clinically extremely vulnerable, I locked myself in at the start and got on with things.
I wrote a couple of books and just accepted the situation. The only problem was cutting my hair, which I did myself – badly!
I didn’t suffer from depression or anything like that.
I had a positive attitude; I wasn’t going to let it get it to me.
I’ve always tried to walk two miles a day, even in lockdown, but I have problems with my back as well as PH so it’s a bit of a hardship sometimes.
I followed the shielding guidelines, but I wasn’t particularly worried [about contracting covid], nor am I now. Although when the lockdown eased and I went out a bit more, I was obviously careful and wore all the protective gear.
A major lesson to be learned [from the pandemic] is around communication. Communication between the medical world, the government, and shops, as initially, I found it impossible to get a home delivery of groceries.
Although I live alone, I have a partner who was able to do the shopping for me instead and I live on a small lane in a small community, all of whom are middle class and old. We get on, we don’t live in each other’s pockets, but if I had a real problem they would help.
So, although I could cope [with the delivery issue] a person who is lonely would find that quite hard.
I’ve had no issues with accessing healthcare and I’ve generally felt well supported throughout.
In terms of news reporting during the pandemic, I found the reporting in the newspapers I read to be very good, very fair, and very accurate. But I could understand people not being able to see the wood for the trees and getting quite worried.”
~Mike told his story to the PHA UK in the summer of 2022~
Life is short, and that is exactly what the last couple of years have shown us
The lack of control is probably what I struggled with most
I wasn’t willing to go back to work and put her in danger
Every corner I turned during the pandemic was scary, but my specialist centre gave me hope