A cardiac arrest in 2010 awakened Patrick Mendes to the importance of regular CVD checks. A fit, apparently healthy, 45-year-old, he was totally shocked to wake up in a hospital bed having nearly died from a heart attack because of a blocked artery.
After surgery and 5 days in hospital, Patrick returned home with a stent and underwent post-rehabilitation exercise and psychoeducation classes at Waitemata Hospital. Patrick understands he is one of the few Māori that have completed this post-rehabilitation.
Three months later he went back to his job as Kari Centre Cultural Coordinator at ADHB. He now attends fitness training classes rather than doing heavy gym work and pushing weights. He is also very careful about what he eats.
‘I now enjoy trim lattes, rice crackers, canned fish and chicken wraps.’
Because of his near brush with death Patrick was keen to attend the CVD assessment at the hospital as part of his ongoing vigilance about his health.
‘The more eyes there are watching over my health and progress, the better for my oranga (overall health and wellbeing). I know that if I don’t keep myself in good nick, my health will regress and I could have another heart attack or a stroke. I have 4 beautiful children and a lovely supportive wife to live for. I do not want to become another Māori statistic.’
Although now a veteran of blood tests and screening, Patrick was impressed with the point of care approach to the CVD assessment at the ADHB.
‘To be able to see the test results immediately was positive reinforcement for me because it showed me I am still on track with the way I am managing my health.’
As the Cultural Coordinator of all Kari Centre Cultural workers Māori and Pacific, Patrick also felt it was important to encourage his peers and community to attend the screening.
Māori and Pacific Island males are more at risk due to their ethnicity and are eligible for checks from the age of 35.
Patrick says he has seen positive results from other staff that was assessed through the ADHB, including one of his colleagues who has lost close to 20 kg.
And on a personal note, he recently competed in the Māori Iron Man event and was the designated swimmer in the 2 km swim. He intends to be back next time, in the individual event.
This story is part of Auckland DHB – staff assessments for cardiovascular disease.
Read the next story in this series: Mona Kauvai.