It’s a little over 3 years since my husband had his SCA. I often say to him that I wish I could share with him the video that runs in my head whenever I think about the events of that night. It was just another day and another night. Unremarkable. We were excited because we were going away to Spain the next day on a tennis holiday. My clothes for traveling were hanging up on the door and our suitcases were packed. I never thought that there might not be a tomorrow. It never occurred to me that what was about to happen, would ever happen, especially in the comfort & safety of our home.
I woke up at around 0300 hours to hear him making incomprehensible sounds. Initially I thought he was having a nightmare, but he didn’t respond to the usual prodding. By the time I had got out of bed and turned on the light, his face was flat in the pillow and he had no pulse. I checked 3 times. Nothing. Nada. I remember saying out loud “you’ve got to be joking”
I called 999 turned him on his back and started CPR with vengeance. He was not going to leave me. I became angry with him because we were meant to be going on holiday. This wasn’t part of our plans. I was swearing at him as I was doing CPR, shouting at him too – he wasn’t going to leave me.
The paramedics arrived and took control, however as I watched I believed I had a golden thread that went directly to him, and this thread was going to pull him back to life. After each shock I spoke to him “come on, breathe. you can do it” and I tugged on this imaginary thread. It took at least 6 shocks before he responded. But he did. Sinus rhythm and finally down the steep stairs, in to the ambulance and off to hospital. I was so relieved. So grateful.
The next 6 days were spent in ITU and then another 5 weeks in hospital. A slow but steady recovery for him. For me a focus on feeding him up and doing everything I could to get him better. Fighting for the right care in the right place, never wavering from my belief that he would get better.
I found myself being uber protective, not wanting to leave him, constantly worried that something would happen if I wasn’t around. It took me a very long time to feel totally content going out and leaving him. To this day if I am away over night I am not happy until I have heard his voice in the morning, to know he is alive and well. Ridiculous, but true.
So three years down the line the video in my head still replays that night. It was as if I was having an out of body experience, others playing the roles of him and I. But it was real and a catalyst for so much that is good in our lives today. I cannot thank the paramedics enough. Particularly the lead paramedic who has since told us that he had never experienced a cheerleader at a resuscitation before! He also told us how he was thinking about the words he would use to tell me that my husband was not coming back, when out of the corner of his eye he saw a flicker on the screen. He gave one more shock. The shock that thankfully brought my husband back to life.
It’s been a very challenging 3 years in so many ways, but here we are now having sold everything we own in the UK, having traveled half way across the world to live on & sail our new home, a beautiful catamaran.
I cannot turn off the video in my head, I cannot turn off the emotions associated with the events of that night, it’s always there to remind me. However every morning when I wake up I look at my wonderful husband and I am grateful for the life that we have. I try to be mindful and drink in everything I see, everything I experience and everything I do, because I know that there may not be a tomorrow.