DVLA FORM D1 – Temporary changes advice

A recent question was asked online regarding the correct procedure for gaining access to FORM D1 from the DVLA.  This is a key form which is required to be completed when re-applying for your Driver licence  (for a motorcycle or car) if you have voluntarily surrendered your licence e.g. post-cardiac arrest ICD implantation

A check of the DVLA site reveals that the facility to request a FORM D1 online , or to complete the application online has been temporarily withdrawn .

We have made contact with DVLA and have ascertained that this access facility has been withdrawn due to the current staffing model being deployed at DVLA in response to the COVID outbreak.

DVLA have advised that there are currently two ways to obtain a FORM D1

  • From your local Post Office

OR

  • Telephone 0300 790 6806, option 1  then option 3

It would be worth following the second choice as you can also request a FORM H1 (medical form) which you will also require to complete.

It should be noted that this process does not apply to FORM D2 (lorry, bus or minibus) which is still available to request or complete online.

Feature photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels

Let’s Meet!

If you’re a member of our Facebook group (Ed: If you’re not, you should be! You’re missing out on a lot of great stuff that can help in your recovery) you may have seen a lot of talk recently surrounding the topic of meetups.

Meetups of survivors, families, lifesavers have been happening for a while now, usually arranged ad hoc through the SCA UK site. I have yet to hear anything but positive feedback from those who have attended,

Indeed, meetups were becoming so common, that we decided to set up a group to assist in coordinating, sharing good practice and learning from each other. This small group work under the banner of “SCA UK Regions”.

In case you were not aware, we now have representatives for most of the regions in the UK, so if you fancy arranging a meetup, or indeed have any queries surrounding what is happening in your region, consider dropping your local representative a private message. If they don’t know the answer I’m sure they will be able to identify someone who does.

The list of regional representatives can be found here.

Anyway, that’s not my sole reason for this article, I also want to tell you about the recent meetup that took place in Dalkeith, Mid Lothian on Saturday 18th January 2020.

How did this come about? I was contacted by Fay, a member of the group who we know from a previous meetup Fay had arranged to meet with another survivor, Scott… guess what, who we knew from a previous meet up. Fay suggested to me that we could maybe open this up to any other members of the group who fancies coming along.

Fay and Scott had agreed to meet at a Wetherspoons in Dalkeith , a place they had met before . A perfect venue, Town centre and easily accessible by bus and car. So with a location agreed and a date we just needed a time. 12:30 seemed to be a practical time of day and that’s what we set it at.

I created an event in the Events section of the SCA UK Facebook group and that was that. We very quickly got some response with several people interested or marked as going.

From my previous experience, if there are a few people going, I prefer to create a private group on Messenger. This allows people to be a bit more relaxed and have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have in a more private arena rather than on Facebook. It also encourages those intent on attending to chat about it online, it’s a really good ice breaker.

We are nearly 4 years since Susans SCA and it’s important for us to remember what a huge step it can be for survivors, as well as their families, to even think about meeting others. Through meetups arranged through Facebook, Susan and I have ridden that hurdle and have had the pleasure of meeting so many survivors and their families.

Taking that first jump can be the hardest, as with anything that is foreign to us. But it is so worthwhile. I have yet to hear any negative feedback on meeting like-minded people.

So off we went on the Saturday. We were expecting around 11 survivors and also family members in addition to this. As with everything, people may not manage to make it, for whatever reason. That’s okay though, these are informal meetups, nothing fancy and no pressure. We eventually found the pub and were met by a group of familiar, and some not so familiar, happy smiling faces.

The main, initial thing I find about meetups is how easy it is to get on with everyone. Why is that? I think I know the answer, we all have one thing in common, some could call it the Elephant in the room. Something that your friends and family know about, but are not sure whether they should talk about it. It’s different when you go to meetups. We all have driven a similar path, and have one thing in common. and that is apparent anytime I speak to a survivor or partner of a survivor. No icebreaker required. I am sure the Messenger chat before the day also assists with this.

We stayed and chatted for 3 hours or so everyone having similar, but slightly different stories. There was nine of us in total, a fine number, of varying ages and all with various stories to tell. As we connected I listened around and could hear familar things being said…

  • That’s how I feel
  • That’s what happened to me
  • I’ve never met anyone else before…
  • Have you been on holiday?
  • Do you exercise?
  • I’m scared too…

I could go on.

We all have one thing in common, and sharing experiences appears so valuable in assisting with recovery.

  • Have you got an ICD?
  • Do you have a monitor?
  • Has it gone off?
  • Was it sore?

I’m sure survivors are reading this with a wry grin on their face. All this will sound familiar. But what about family members/lifesavers…

  • Are you okay?
  • I worry about
  • Leaving them alone
  • I wake up and check they are okay
  • I get nervous when I’ve not heard from them.

If you are reading this and thinking all these questions and points are familiar, that’s because when you meet up, you are with people who “Get it”, who have experienced similar to you and who are also now living the new normal.

We said our farewells and I asked those attending to drop me a few lines on how they felt the meet up went.

Here is what they had to say:

I would like to thank all you guys whom I met for the first time last week. As an SCA survivor, it’s difficult sometimes dealing with the emotions with what we have been through. It was terrific to meet fellow survivors and spouses. This was the first time I had been to a meet and also the first time I had met anyone who had also survived. Is so glad that I did, it was terrific meeting all you guys and hearing your own individual stories and how you are recovering, also terrific to meet the partners and hear things from their perspective. All in all, it was a great meet and for anyone out there who is maybe apprehensive, then please put that behind you and get to a meet, it will inspire you and give you a great insight into others in the same boat

Chris, SCA Survivor

I jumped at the chance to attend my first meet up with fellow survivors that understand my wife is also a stroke survivor and to be able to talk to others in the same boat is a very uplifting experience, we appreciate the fact that we’re all different about how we approach what has happened to us but I would urge anyone thinking about attending a meet up to please go along x

Scott, SCA Survivor

It took me 18 months post SCA to find this group. We plucked up the courage to go to the GWR event a month later. It was a revelation for both me (the survivor) and him (my hero). We have been to every meetup that we can since -­ Edinburgh; Rutland; Newcastle upon Tyne; Dalkeith. we have made life-­long friends with folk who totally get us. Put simply GO, you will never regret it!

Fay, SCA Survivor

It was my first meet up and first time meeting other survivors. I was looking forward to it beforehand, especially as it was local. Overall a great experience and safe place to share stories as everyone can relate

Ryan, SCA Survivor

Hopefully, this will give you an insight into one of the meetups arranged by Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK members.

The group is 5 years old this year and what better way to celebrate than arranging a mass meetups, all over the country.

Put Saturday 2nd May 2020 in your diary and look out for meetups being arranged in your area of the country during the afternoon on that date. You can always click on the events tab on the top of the Facebook page and it will highlight what meetups are currently arranged, where and when.

We look forward to meeting again, on 2nd May 2020 to celebrate being amazing people, survivors, lifesavers, families and friends.

You are Not Alone!

…and some pics from other recent meetups…

Stowmarket, January 2020
Bath, Feb 2020
London, January 2020

Are you okay? A sort of Homecoming Part 2

I write this as a husband of a cardiac arrest survivor and a lifesaver. I make no apologies for trying to focus on myself and how my wife’s SCA had an effect on me. There have been many stories shared from survivors but very few from husbands, wife’s, relatives or friends of SCA survivors who were actually present during the event and carried out lifesaving actions. I hope that by writing this I can assist those people with their recovery. This is the second part of episode 2. If you have not done so, it may be better to read the first 3 parts episode 1 part 1,  episode 1 part 2 and episode 2 part 1 to provide a background.

Thank you, these don’t get any easier to write, nearly 3 years on.

Why?

As time progressed one thing I was struggling with was the question Why?

Was anyone else like this?

I eventually tracked down a young woman through the BHF who had gone through what Susan had. I made contact with the woman, a young woman, similar age as our son . She was a fantastic help to me and in turn to Susan, sharing what she had gone through and how she recovered. The mental anxiety of having an ICD and being diagnosed idiopathic. This confirmed to me the benefits I personally felt from speaking with other people, sharing our story and trying to understand.

Remember, this was only 2016. We thought there were very few people out there like us, only 8% survive and Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK was still in it’s infancy. Once I found it and joined we quickly realised we were not alone, it was so comforting for me to realise that and to engage with like minded people and I really see the benefit of its existence to this day.

Rachel

Another hurdle was for Susan to meet her lifesaving team. We have never spoken with the ambulance crews or with the call taker at ambulance control, but as you may recall from the previous writings, I was assisted in carrying out CPR on Susan by an off duty colleague, Rachel.

Me with Rachel

She is my hero and will remain so for ever more. We kept Rachel updated with Susan’s progress and during early March arranged for Rachel to come and meet Susan, alive this time.

I knew Rachel well from work but she had never met Susan in a decent state!! Rachel arrived at our house, we were all very nervous. I announced us into our living room as your lifesaving team. It was a very emotional moment.

I can’t to this day find the words to express my gratitude to Rachel. She stopped and helped me during the worst crisis anyone could have been involved in. She gave Susan her oxygen and in turn life.

How can you thank someone for that?

You cannot.

Rachel’s reaction, other than emotional was rather amusing. After settling down, she said to Susan she realised that she wasn’t keen on a woman doing mouth to mouth on her, she couldn’t get Susan’s mouth open properly so carried out rescue breaths up her nose. That made us laugh.

Are you OK?

Susan on her birthday, 8 weeks post SCA

We had Susan’s birthday in April along with our twin daughters, another emotional affair. It was always going to be the case and to this day every birthday, every Christmas, every reason to celebrate is given our full attention. Never take anything or anyone for granted as it can be taken away from you without a moments thought.

Was I still waking up at night and checking Susan was alive – YES!

“Are you okay?”

Constantly, “YES.”

Indeed.

On one occasion I popped out for half an hour. When I returned I could not find Susan at all.

Had she collapsed?

Where was she?

What state would I find her?

I went into our outside garage and saw her legs sticking out of the chest freezer! She had collapsed in the freezer. I ran to her shouting, she pulled herself out and laughed at me, having decided to clean the freezer out when I was away.

Not funny.

Was I paranoid? Yes.

Am I still paranoid? Yes.

Molly

Molly our therapet

The next big step on our recovery was to add to our family. Susan didn’t enjoy being home alone. I didn’t enjoy her being home alone. What better way to rescue that situation than to add a dog to our family? We looked about but very quickly found her, our therapet, Molly the cockapoo who has been worth her weight in gold . On 18th April 2016 we brought Molly home. She has helped us both so much with her presence, company and ability to lighten up even the most darkest of times. I can’t emphasise enough how Molly helped our recovery and continues to do so to this day.

Now into May, things were good. Susan started a phased return to work. We were lucky as she works in a school in our street so losing her licence did not effect her job, this is clearly not the case for the vast majority of other survivors. Her phased return worked well, with her working half days to start with, building up hours gradually each week and after 5 weeks she was back up to full time, just in time for the school holidays starting.

Things were good, apart from the fatigue, Susan felt good considering all she had been through. She had no memory at all of her SCA so as far as she was concerned, it happened to someone else. I wish I could say the same.

Through my job and experience as a police officer I learn to deal with or should I say manage trauma. This was different and takes a great deal of mental strength to park away. I call it my bottom drawer. A place I put all the nasty things I have seen and heard. Sometimes I open my drawer as it becomes to full, I speak about what is there, and then I close it again. It’s my own way of dealing with trauma.

Life was good

Us at the airport, 4 months post SCA, we were very nervous

Into June, remember that cancelled holiday to Lanzarote? Well, we plucked up the courage and went for it . We were nervous wrecks at the airport. I had all the Drs and hospitals identified in the island. I knew how to say what had occurred in Spanish. I knew where to go for help.

We went for a week, Susan took care of her ICD scar in the sun, and showed it off proudly. We arrived home, having had a couple of wobbles but all in all we had a great holiday.

Nothing was going wrong.

After all we had been through, life was good.

In August, Susan had her driving licence returned . A huge moment for her in her recovery. It was amazing to see her heading back out in the car again. Getting her independence and life back.

All was good.

But it was not to last…