27th Sep 2018
It was shortly after I returned to the clubhouse that I knew things weren’t right.
I’d been taking part in a society golf day at Upchurch River Valley when I started to experience strange involuntary muscle spasms in my chest and arms. I remember going out to the patio and it was there that I collapsed. I didn’t realise at the time but I was suffering a sudden cardiac arrest.
My fellow golfers called the emergency services and I could hear voices telling me help was on the way. Through watery vision, I remember seeing two green-suited paramedics from SECAMB. They were first on the scene, taking over from my brother, who had been administering CPR.
The crew from Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex quickly followed, and a paramedic in a red jumpsuit told me I was being taken immediately to the William Harvey Hospital at Ashford.
During treatment, the medical team discovered I had Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a genetic heart condition caused by an extra electrical pathway in the heart that can lead to periods of rapid heart rate and bring on a sudden cardiac arrest.
After nine days in hospital, I was taken to St Thomas’s in London for a heart ablation treatment to correct the fault before returning home to my wife and family.
The support from the NHS was amazing. I had rehabilitation at Darent Valley Hospital as well as cardio psychology support at King’s Hospital in London after suffering with panic attacks before returning to work four months later.
As I’m self-employed, I knew I had to get back to work, but I chose to focus on landscaping rather than heavier building work as this enables me to set my own targets and schedule, which means I’m under less pressure.
It’s still tough to think back to that day in Upchurch. The paramedics later told me I’d actually died for 23 minutes. Without their help and without the crew of the Air Ambulance, I wouldn’t be here today.
Ironically, I’ve always wanted to take a flight in a helicopter but I never expected that my first one would be aboard the Air Ambulance. In a way, I’m gutted that I can’t remember it but I’m just very grateful they were there for me when I needed them. It’s a life-saving service that the world can’t do without.
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