Four Not Out

It seems only last week I was writing a piece on the 3rd anniversary of my “minor” cardiac incident and referring to Paul Swindell’s doorstop post. And now, I am at the fourth anniversary, slightly older, slightly thinner, slightly greyer, and, possibly, slightly wiser.

I am not sure that another year has given me any more insight into surviving cardiac-arrest or dealing with the aftermath. I view my life now as pretty much back to normal interspersed with the odd hospital visit and check-up (not arrest related but definitely cardiac related).

It wasn’t always so, the first year post-resuscitation was a struggle psychologically, as I think, it is, pretty much for everyone. So if I were to offer any advice I would say that things can improve and recovery can be made, although this comes from the perspective of someone who didn’t really suffer very much because of his arrest and I do appreciate that, for some people, some families, the “recovery” can be slow or non-existent.

I have questioned, over and over, what happened to me and why and how I survived and I can only rationalise it as the result of randomness: the chain of random events that lead to my arrest, the chain of random events that lead to me surviving. My faith in a god or supernatural being has not been shaken or diminished, as I never had any faith in the first place, nor do I now. So I feel intellectually satisfied that my world-view has remained intact. I have a sanguine and very comforting view of my life: I didn’t exist for the first 14 billion years of the universe, and, pretty soon, I won’t exist again (although I almost “ducked out” early) so I feel a joy, every day, of simply being here and being alive. And, if there is anyone to praise for being alive, it is not some non-existent deity, it is those people who worked so hard in July 2016 to ensure that I remained here.

I had a brush with Corona in March, not something I would recommend as I did face the irony of actually considering the fact that, although I may have dodged the bullet of cardiac-arrest, I was going to succumb to Covid-19!

My life has definitely changed from pre-arrest, in fact, I do actually feel as if the “old David” died and a “new David” replaced him, even though this appears to be contradictory. My life has changed direction slightly, I am marginally more “famous” than before as my arrest was captured on CCTV (looking very fat in a pair of swimming trunks) which has proved useful for training and raising awareness (of cardiac-arrest and CPR, not obesity), I have given talks about my experience and I have become an ambulance service Community First Responder (CFR) and have paid back the compliment of surviving by helping to resuscitate more than one person in cardiac-arrest. I also feel I have made a contribution to society by serving people as a CFR during the current pandemic (via several layers of PPE).

Beyond this, I am not sure I can offer any great insight or sage-words, especially during this rather weird time of Corona semi-lockdown.

So, in cricket parlance….I’m four, not out.

The good samaritan with Professor Mark Wilson

In episode #50, the season 2 finale, Paul talks with Professor Mark Wilson who is qualified in both neurology and pre-hospital care and works at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust. He is also the co-founder of the GoodSAM platform and app and this is what we talk about today.

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Professor Wilson takes us through the inception of the platform as a way to reduce deaths from cardiac arrest and it’s take-up by many across the UK and further afield. The platform has gained additional services and responsibilities and is being used to manage the NHS Coronavirus Volunteer responders programme.

In just a few years the GoodSAM team have built an enviable platform and reputation and Professor Wilson takes us through what it can do to help those in cardiac arrest and beyond.

Available to listen on the link below or Spotify, Apple , Google, YouTube and your favourite podcast player.

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If you enjoyed this podcast please do leave a positive review on Apple or other podcast providers as it helps us to spread the word.

Presented and edited by Paul Swindell.

Recorded June 2020.