It was a real privilege this morning to talking at the Essex Air Ambulance Clinical Governance Day. I was there to talk about my journey and SCA UK but had the added bonus of meeting up with critical care paramedic Ben Myer, who was key in saving me during my cardiac arrest.
I guess it’s a sign of how far I’ve come that when I used to talk about my event it was like walking through a word minefield, where uttering a certain word or conjuring a certain image into my head would start the emotions flowing. Today there was not a bit of that and despite standing in front of an auditorium full of people it was a real pleasure to give the story of life after cardiac arrest, and yes I did manage to plug the book!
I had some really nice feedback afterwards including this tweet from paramedic Amy
“Paul providing a unique perspective that we don’t usually get to understand. I’m always in awe of patients who have survived an OOHCA. Emphasis++ on the effect of SCA on family/carers and not just the survivor.. “
If you’re a survivor or someone else affected by a sudden cardiac arrest I’d throughly recommend you take up any offers you get to talk about your experience. It may seem daunting at the time but it is a great way of giving back and also it can be a kind of therapy.
After our first meet-up in February 2015, I realised I was not alone. It was the first time since my cardiac arrest the previous year that I had spoken face-to-face with someone who had experienced what I had. This was also true for my wife, who also happened to be my lifesaver. From that meet-up, the idea of SCA UK was born. Since then, we have achieved a considerable amount, primarily providing information, resources and support to others in a similar situation but also raising the profile of survivorship and the need for better post-discharge care. We are starting to get traction in this, and with the formation of the charity, I genuinely believe we have a bright future ahead and will make a significant difference in the lives of many who join our ranks.