Legendary British showjumper Geoff Billington is in good spirits in hospital despite a scary dash for emergency treatment after he “thought I was having a heart attack” on Sunday night.
The double Olympian and Hickstead Derby winner was found to be suffering from both pneumonia and pleurisy — an inflammation of the tissue between the lungs and the ribcage.
“Thinking back on it, I’ve had an infection in my chest for the past two and a half weeks, but I didn’t do anything about it — I just thought it would go away,” Geoff told H&H from hospital today (8 June).
“But then it all came to a head on Sunday night.”
At 3am, the Cheshire-based showjumper, who turned 67 earlier this year, woke up with many of the symptoms associated with a heart attack.
“I went freezing cold and just started shivering, then when I tried to move I got pains in my chest,” said Geoff. “But the doctors reckon that’s what pleurisy does; when you’re struggling to breathe, your lungs don’t expand to their full capacity and you get a sharp, shooting pain.
“When I woke up, I said to my wife [Sarah] ‘I’m dying!’. But at first all she was worried about was me waking the house up!”
Geoff is still on a drip while he remains in hospital and is receiving antibiotics, but he hopes to leave hospital on Thursday, 9 June. He received hundreds of messages of support and sympathy after posting on social media earlier this week, saying it was “the first time I’ve stayed in hospital in my life”.
The dual championship bronze medallist has been told he needs to put his feet up and have plenty of rest for a while when he gets home.
“I’ve changed my drink from pints of beer to pints of antibiotics,” joked Geoff.
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