There was nothing unusual that happened beforehand.
Sunday morning, I woke as normal, feeling fine. A friend had ordered a fridge from Argos in Meadowhall and I had agreed to collect it.
On arrival, I found a parking space very close to Argos and remember thinking it was my lucky day. I decided to go to the food court.
Then I woke up, or rather was woken up. I was in a strange room which I couldn’t see very well. There was a man’s voice talking to me. I was being told not to panic. There was a woman there too. The voice said something about it being Tuesday. Nothing made sense and I knew it wasn’t Tuesday, it was Sunday. I tried to remember where I had been last night. How had I got this drunk? I tried to move and then felt people around me trying to stop me. That’s when I felt the pain. What the hell had happened to my chest and why couldn’t I move without so much pain?
As the weeks went on, I started to remember more. I remember going into the food hall, ordering roast chicken dinner and a large Yorkshire pudding. I remember going to sit down and where I sat. That’s it. Everything from this point onwards until waking up, I have been told.
I was sat on a high stool and dropped to the floor. I had suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. I had some food lodged in my throat and even though I had fallen into a coma, I was choking.
Again, luckily for me, the food court is next to the management offices and a well-rehearsed plan of action was implemented. The security staff got to me very quickly, the area was cleared and I was brought back from the dead in five and a half minutes with a shock from an AED, and a team of seven security guards, two police officers and a nurse sat nearby.
In the ambulance, I had to be shocked again as I suffered a further arrest.
I spent several days in intensive care and my dad was told I had a 50 per cent chance of surviving. During weeks in hospital, with exemplary care, I was reunited with my phone and received hundreds of messages.
People often say they would love to be at their own funeral so they could hear what is being said. Well believe me, waking up from a coma after suffering an SCA and reading everyone’s Facebook post is about as close as you can ever get. It brought more than one or two tears to my eyes. After a procedure to fit an S’ICD, I was able to go home, and the next day returned to Meadowhall.
I got shivers when I went to the spot. Not one security guard from that day recognised me. Under these circumstances, the words thank you just seemed so inadequate.
Not long after, I was talking to a friend about the lack of help for SCA sufferers.
I later came across a Facebook group called Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK, which is providing something that is desperately needed.
Once you have had an SCA, it never really goes away. I am one of the lucky ones; I was near a defibrillator and people trained in CPR. I have a story I can tell. Most people who have an SCA only get a funeral.