Alan's Story

Alan Gardner (60), Alan Gardner, who is best known for his television show, The Autistic Gardener was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy in 2017.

It all started with a visit to his local GP because he began to experience heavy pains in his neck and arms. He was misdiagnosed with indigestion. Over the next few months, Alan saw doctors on numerous occasions, he was experiencing persistent symptoms including a chesty cough – a result of being unable to clear fluid from his body.

A few months later, in November 2017, Alan visited hospital with chest pains and within forty-five minutes of arriving he found himself on a cardiac ward and was kept in hospital for twelve days. He was fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), which he named ‘Phil’, capable of correcting most life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. ‘Phil’ allows him to continue living his life with some sort of normality.

The recovery, Alan says, was an horrendous experience in the beginning, following his discharge from hospital. He has however, gradually built up his fitness levels and strength but is frightened of doing too much or too little activity.

He is, however, very positive, continuing his role as an Ambassador for the National Autistic Society, he has lots of exciting work in the pipeline.

“It was a horrendous experience at the beginning when I came home from hospital but I rebuilt my strength gradually and now I can do 12-14K steps per day", Alan says.