Veteran British actress Liz Dawn has opened up about her latest health drama, revealing she suffered a traumatic complication during heart surgery this week (ends29Sep13). The former soap star, who played Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street, went under the knife to have a pacemaker fitted, but the procedure was far from smooth. Dawn tells Britain's Sunday Mirror her lung was punctured during the operation at a hospital in Manchester, England. The surgery comes after the 73 year old suffered a heart attack on her way home from a vacation in Spain last May (13), and the Brit insists she is lucky to be alive. She says, "When I look back I can't believe it. I nearly died. I feel lucky to still be here able to talk about it all... When I stepped on the plane, my God, it was awful. It was terrifying. My husband shouted for the cabin crew to bring oxygen and they had to give it to me there and then. "I'll never forget when my husband shouted for the oxygen. One of the stewards came over and said you had to book it in advance. My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief. I obviously didn't know when I booked I'd be having a heart attack! As soon as I got the mask on I felt so much better." The actress, who also has lung disease emphysema, is now fighting to recover quickly so she can attend a memorial dinner for her former Coronation Street onscreen husband Bill Tarmey, who passed away last year (12). Dawn adds, "I am determined to be there. That is one of the main things keeping me going. I miss him so much. If he had still been here he would have been the first one I would have picked up the phone and spoken to."