30 Days of PH: What It’s Like to Have PH in Australia

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by BNS Staff |

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Photo courtesy of Terry Meehan

 

Day 4 of 30

This is Terry Meehan’s story:

Australia has a population of around 34 million kangaroos, 30 million drop bears, 26 million humans, 1.4 million wild horses and camels, and around 250,000 crocodiles. Nah, I exaggerated the number of drop bears — it’s not easy putting a figure on that fabled fanged cousin of the Australian koala.

They are all mostly protected, except humans. If that’s not bad enough, there are just over 2,000 lucky patients diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH) in the country. So, one does not see PH clinics on every second corner. Actually, there are none that I know of. St. Vincent’s Health Australia has a Heart Health program, but that’s about it.

One might say our PH specialists in the land Down Under are multi-skilled. Most have other specialties. For example, the cardiologist who diagnosed me, to keep food on the table, does heart transplants in his spare time, and the pulmonologist who takes care of me on the day-to-day has other talents as well. That being said, once diagnosed, the care and expertise have been fantastic!

Janssen PH Plus is very active down here and I read recently that, of those 2,000 or so PH patients in Australia, half are supported by the pharmaceutical company. It can be a bit of a laugh when I see my local doc, as I am his only PH patient. His opening line usually is: “What drug that I have never heard of are you on now?”

Lung Foundation Australia is very active and has regular Zoom meetings for the various classes of lung disease patients.

For me, my closest confidant has been me. No need to worry others about my ailments. Doesn’t work very well with PAH. Keep your misses informed, but don’t nag.

When you pass a stranger (male, female, or other), give a smile and say “G’day Mate.” Might shock them over there, but it will make you feel good.

Pulmonary Hypertension News’ 30 Days of PH campaign is publishing one story per day from someone who has been affected by the disease for PH Awareness Month in November. Read the full series for more stories like this, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtag #30DaysofPH.