Film star material?

We were contacted yesterday by a film company making a film for the BBC who are after featuring a young cardiac arrest survivor in a short feature they have been commissioned to make.  They said…

A documentary company called True Vision are looking to speak to young people who have survived a Cardiac Arrest and may be interested in being part of a short film on the subject.
The film is part of a short form series called How Not To Die which is being made for BBC Three.  The idea of the series is to give first aid advice to BBC Three’s young online audience about medical incidents that may happen to them or their friends.
At the centre of the films is the gripping testimony of a young person who has first hand experience of a life and death situation. The first film in the series focussed on what to do in a stabbing, you can watch it here:
If you’re under 30, have survived a cardiac arrest and would like to know more about the film then please contact Lilly at True Vision on:
True Vision are hoping that the film will raise huge awareness of Cardiac Arrest amongst young people whilst giving them the essential first aid knowledge they’d need to help a friend or stranger.

Guinness World Record Attempt

Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK in conjunction with The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre and SADS UK will be attempting to create a Guinness World Record of the largest gathering of cardiac arrest survivors in one place.

The attempt will take place on Saturday 9th June at the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre, which is part of the Basildon Hospital campus.

Volunteers from the hospital and Essex Air Ambulance will be assisting with the event so that everyone knows what they are doing and it runs smoothly.

We would like to ensure that the event is worth travelling for and so are looking to add educational sessions and a party afterwards.  Of course it’ll also be a great opportunity to meet survivors and others affected by an SCA – which is usually a great experience in itself!

More information can be found on the event page.


CPR Awareness videos across the globe

In the group today a link to a new CPR awareness video was posted.  It’s from Australia and has a humorous nature but get’s the point across really well – in a similar way to the BHF’s Vinnie video a few years back.

I’ve heard a number of those who have administered CPR that they managed to remember it by recalling the Vinnie video so these kind of infomercial do work and actually save lives.

I wondered what other CPR awareness videos were out there and so did some searching on the internet and the following is what I came up with.

It’s interesting how some of the difference nations have tackled the problem but there are some common themes – humour and the Bee Gees “Staying Alive” song.

If you’ve been involved in using or receiving CPR you may want to make sure that you are ok with watching any of the videos as they can cause emotions to stir especially if you’re in a vulnerable place.

If you know of any videos that would fit in with the list please let us know at [email protected]

You you want more information about learning CPR please go to this section on the British Heart Foundation website.

United Kingdom

The most well known of CPR adverts in the UK has got to be the Vinnie Jones Hands Only video from 2012.  Done with humour and in a way that people will remember it in a good way – it works as at least a couple of our group members will testify!

A spin off of the Vinnie Jones Hands Only is one that was done for a younger audience.  Again, very well done with a humorous theme.

And a further spin off is a Lego version…

And one for CPR on babies is this St Johns Ambulance video which again uses humour and is worthwhile just for the fact it focuses on an age group where many might be even more scared to attempt CPR on.


The cast of a hit TV series “Rake” have come together to create a CPR video after they were contacted by a fan of the show who is a heart specialist.



Trust the French to do the most sylish advert, it’s in their native language but you don’t need to speak it to get what’s happening.


Possibly the most moving and poignant is the Danish video which shows two versions of what could happen when someone has an SCA.  When the bystanders know CPR and when they don’t.  Hit’s the point home very well.



An adevrtising firms rather interesting take on raising CPR awareness!  Apparently this has been used by the British Army and Spanish Police!!



And definitely NOT an infomercial, but worth a watch if you like the awkward humour of “The Office” TV show.  It’s a funny scene from the US version of the show where they are being taught first aid including CPR and it takes a rather strange turn.

My EMDR experience

I was born Lisa Marie Snopek and I am thirty six years old.  I have always been pretty fit and healthy without any real serious health issues.  That was until the day of the fifth of April 2017 arrived.

That day I travelled to Sutton on the outskirts of London to stay with my father in law from the South West.

About six o’clock in the evening I dropped to the floor like a tree trunk! Hitting my head and face on furniture.

My husband performed CPR on me until the emergency services arrived with the defibrillator.

I had cardiac arrests there and also in St Georges Hospital in Tooting when I arrived by Ambulance.  My medical team in hospital kept telling me, when I was up and about a week later, how really lucky I was!

I got on with my recovery but I was aware of something just not being right.

On realising there was a closed off feeling in the back of my head like there was a small cabinet in there that I just couldn’t reach, I had a chat with my Cardiologist who said it sounded like I had some Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

I went for an appointment with my GP who told me I could self refer myself to Options, the local Mental Health Unit. Or I could just deal with it myself as many people do.

I sat on the fence for a while thinking I’ll be ok, it will probably pass! It didn’t.

I noticed myself getting repeatedly upset whilst watching TV programs or films where someone suddenly died. Instantly I would break into tears. Not just that, but I’d start sweating and feeling anxious when people would stop me unexpectedly in the street or if a group  gathered around me. Working as a hotel receptionist dealing with groups is to be expected.

Whilst watching a film where a teenager died of a drug overdose, and I instantly reacted. I decided to try and get some help.

I called the number I had been given to refer myself, the very next day.  There was a cancellation that afternoon so I only had a few hours to wait to be seen.

During that first appointment, I had an informal chat about my issues and about my Cardiac Arrests with a Mental Health Worker.

I had to fill out a questionnaire about my symptoms and how I was feeling. My answers indicated that it was likely I had PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

There was a bit of a waiting list for  Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) which was the therapy my assessor thought would be the correct therapy for me.

He wasn’t an expert in it he told me but he would speak to someone who was and come back to me.

He sent me an email to say I was on the waiting list!

It was 5 months before I heard anything. An email came through from a therapist saying I was next on the waiting list would I like an appointment still?

My first appointment was a get to know you session.  Me and my therapist Holly chatted about what happened to me during the Cardiac Arrests and what problems I was experiencing.

I had to fill out a two page questionnaire on how I had been feeling during the week.  These same questions are asked every week at the start of every EMDR session . Sessions vary from an hour to an hour and a half.

We spent four sessions just talking about myself, my family and my upbringing. I became comfortable with her and felt at ease talking to her about myself. Usually I am a keep everything close to my chest sort of woman!

EMDR is a visual therapy and in my case a physical therapy. It is not a talking therapy. You give short indications of what your aware of mentally, physically or visually.

The images that you see in your mind that are causing problems are discussed in the planning stages and are visualised one at a time at the start of a EMDR session. Though until one image becomes processed, you have to stick with the same one.

You and the therapist have to sit diagonally facing each other and the therapist puts two fingers in the air and moves them in straight lines. In any direction that the therapist chooses.

We spent one session practicing, Holly my therapist moved her fingers from side to side and I had to follow with my eyes and not move my head at all.

After a very short  time of doing this on my first EMDR session I started to experience  some very physical body memories.

My starting image was of me stood in the doorway of my father in laws flat in London. I can remember that my husband was sat on the sofa with my two youngest children. I’m not feeling well stood in that doorway and I’m trying to communicate that to them, but I can’t.

I have lost the ability to speak and I am panicking.

Whilst following the therapists fingers with my eyes I started to get a feeling in my throat like I couldn’t breathe. I began gasping and spluttering for air.

My body was remembering what it had been through.  The therapist encouraged me through the pretty horrendous memories then asked me how I felt or what I could see when she stopped moving her fingers.

After that incident, whilst following her fingers with my eyes I began jumping and jerking around in my chair. I was remembering how I felt when I had the electrical energy passed into me via the defibrillator. I wasn’t consciously thinking about it but my body remembered.

It had stored all the trauma and I had not been aware that this was even possible.

I felt pain in my chest that made me call out and I felt pain in my ribs.

Through out, I was also experiencing symptoms of indigestion and coughing. I had forgotten but my body hadn’t!

It was really pretty unbelievable. I left feeling amazed and dazed at the same times.

Three times I struggled to breathe and three times I jumped and jerked about like I was being resuscitated with the defibrillator.

I had gone into Ventricular Fibrillation three times.

I knew through out the session that I was safe and that it wasn’t really happening to me at that moment , but it was my memory and it was weighing heavily on me.  The tears silently rolled down my face.

I was given a print out explaining how EMDR actually works.

Well the theory behind it is that when someone suffers something traumatising  the event may not be processed properly and stored in the memory part of the brain. The following with the eyes motion is known as bilateral stimulation. It is the same movement that your eyes make when you are asleep in the REM processing stage. Therefore it has been found to enhance memory processing.

A week since my first appointment on a Sunday night, settled down to watch Call The Midwife with my family. In the episode a lady was dying from a condition of the lungs. She was struggling to breathe and coughing up blood.

Within seconds of seeing this I was a hot mess, with tears silently flooding down my cheeks and I was gasping for air and breathing loudly. As quickly as the Flashback started it finished. My children were all sat around looking at me frightened .

My husband explained to them that it was my subconsciousness and  body remembering what had happened to me because of the EMDR Therapy that I go to on a Monday . He also explained to them that what  I had watched on telly had instantly triggered it.

At my EMDR Therapy appointment on the following day I informed Holly my therapist about my flashback and then we we went back into processing.

Starting again with the memory of me standing in my father in laws doorway unable to speak and unable to move. Though added to that picture now was the memory of me collapsing to the floor when I cardiac arrested the first time.

My previous EMDR session had resulted in my brain processing  that memory, so I could now remember it.

This processing session was much shorter in length, only half hour but the breathing and body jerking reactions had reduced a lot and were no where as violent. I no longer felt “Desperate” or “Powerless” either when I though about the memory at the end of the session.

Though I did feel exhausted and my brain felt foggy, like I had had a few glasses of wine. The channel had been cleared so I was no longer feeling threatened by it.

The next channel for me to process is as equally unpleasant for me as my doorway image used to be.

Memories of being treated,  wanting the medics to stop treating me because it hurt so much. I couldn’t take it any longer. I was thinking just let me go now, I won’t fight any more, I’ll go now!

Being unconscious I had no way of communicating to them.

I was powerless! Though now I’m so very grateful to them for what they did for me, but the memory of it still bothers me. Though I now understand in a few weeks it will have no more negative effect on me.

The brain and the body are amazing and we need to realise they work together and they are both affected by what happens to us and we should not feel guilty about our behaviour or mental state.

We should listen to what it tells us.

I for one am starting to feel a lot lighter and the back of my mind isn’t feeling so much out of reach.


Click on the following link to read more about  Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)

And the following link for more on  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Pay it forward

As a survivor of a cardiac arrest I consider myself extremely lucky to stll be here.  In the UK roughly 8% of those experiencing a cardiac arrests survive and only a paltry 3% survive similar circumstances to my own i.e. unwitnessed.

You may of heard of “Pay if forward”  (doing good deeds to others in the hope that they will do the same) and whilst I’m sure my wife wasn’t thinking of that as she hammered on my chest doing CPR, for me it was the ultimate good deed – she helped save my life.

On my journey of recovery I’ve found that I’ve been able to “Pay it forward” in my own way by doing some of the things I’ve done and relaying what survival is like.  It wasn’t something I did consciously, but over time I’ve found that talking and sharing about my experience has made things better, not only for me, but also for others.

It’s very easy to dwell on your own troubles and your thought processes can sometimes send you in a downwards spiral.  Changing the focus to others, changes the way you think. Not only are you able to put yourself in a different mindset, but you can reflect on how you dealt with your own situation and maybe improve any future response.

Giving is better than receiving, so the adage goes and since starting the SCA UK Facebook group I’ve found it to be very true.  There is a great feeling to be had when you can answer that question that has been troubling someone. Knowing that the turmoil that you went through can ease the pain for someone else is not only worthwhile, but also very rewarding.

Contributing to the group in any way can be one of the easiest ways that you can “Pay it foward”.  Sharing your experiences and giving advice can not only be mutually beneficial, but also spread hope.  And believe me, HOPE can make a whole lot of difference.

Here are some more suggestions to help you “Pay if forward”

Post your story in the Facebook group

Write an article for our blogsee here for more on this

Attend one of our meetups

Distribute our leaflet to your local cardiac unit

and finally checkout our page for other ways of giving back


Post by Ian

Well, following Richard’s post, I can not add my bit albeit with somewhat less aplomb. I have never tried to share my experiences before. As Richard said; only I really know… or at least that is what my damaged brain tells me.

I had a ‘cold’ in Dec 2015.

Being a typical man, I disregarded my loving wife and continued my 90 hour week as always in that month including the absurdity of a family trip to Sydney and a high pressure US trip for Raytheon. Points on the BA Gold card… so, I cooked Xmas dinner as always complete with trimmings etc and that cough just would not go away.

Dec 27 I agreed to be ‘hassled’ by Kim and go and see the on-call GP. This was, as was proved to be lucky, at St Mary’s in Paddington. I never saw the GP. Instead I had an SCA next to the lift. That was my last memory of 2015; “I think I need to sit down darling “…

Little did I know I had raging pneumococcal pneumonia which had gained sepsis to help it to basically kill me. At the time my lungs were 90% damaged. 6 rounds of CPR ensued after my wife screamed and got a Dr out of the ladies room. I got to visit the special room normally reserved for the Royal Family and was in an induced coma for several weeks.

That was the easy bit !

I woke up and everything was a bit different… I too had that pesky Action Myoclonus thing, otherwise known as Lance Adams Syndrome. So, I essentially went from retired RAF Fighter Pilot, decorated senior officer of 20 years and senior engineering Manager to a 2 year old baby. I hit myself in the head with my spoon when I could pick it up. Could not stand, forget walking.

So, there it was. Life over. I too dreamed about suicide innumerable times when in the Charing Cross Neural Rehabilitation Unit (CNRU). Every day was another failure to meet my own standards.

What next, I hear you ask ?

Piracetam and lots of it, dampened the shaking and jerking. 8g, 3 times a day at that time. The maximum. Lots of physio and eventually release 24/3/16. With wheelchair. Special toilet seat, handrails and swivel bather. Daytime tv as per Richard and eventually Physio/ OT outpatient care.

Quite a lot of despair and utter rejection of love ensued. Amazing who you can hurt, just because they care… I discovered that Alcohol makes everything go away… life, love, hope. No one needs them huh ?

Clearly, that’s not the end; just the start.

We now live in Sydney, I have loads of nephews and nieces to spoil. I catch every cold going because I have no immune system, Myoclonus never goes away. I get scared of crowds, transport and anything that changes my routine. I’m blessed because of what I have now. I might have changed; but that’s all. My wheelchair is in my Mum-in-laws garage.I’m a house husband who bakes a mean apple pie if he can avoid stabbing himself.. I have a 30 year RAF Reunion to go to next week in the UK and I shall.

Am I scared ?

Damn straight !

Shall I do it ?


You CAN.

That is the start of my new story.

Enjoy life

Guest post from Mick Schofield

This was originally posted into our Facebook group (October 2017) and received such a warm reception we thought it worth publishing to a wider audience.

Firstly, please don’t view into this post as me boasting and sorry about the length of it. I hope it may help others in the group.

My wife and I have just returned from a holiday, the first since my SCA 1 year 11 months ago. We booked a 3 week fly drive in North America, passing through numerous National Parks to celebrate us both reaching a ‘significant 0’ age.

Before going, I can’t deny that I had numerous concerns. Would I still be here, would I be legally allowed to drive, would I get travel insurance, would the holiday be ‘too much’ for my body, would the airport security checks be a problem, would the long flight be OK and finally would being at altitude during the time in the USA cause me problems?

A lot of my concerns were answered just before we went, the ICD technicians and my GP, both said for me to get out and enjoy it. My GP gave me extra medication because the prescription was due to run out during the holiday.

My insurance company was a bit more of a problem, two weeks before departure and after the ICD had undergone its 6 monthly check, they then sprung it on me by e mail, that they were happy to provide cover as long as the person responsible for my treatment said they were happy. (I chose to check with them that I did have cover for the USA with my declared condition because I simply do not trust insurance companies and I wanted something from them in writing in addition to their terms etc).

As I have not seen the consultant since my discharge from hospital, then who was responsible? To cover all angles I managed to get an OK from the consultant who treated me in hospital in time, (only because a friend of mine works alongside him). I told him exactly where we were going and what I wanted to do and the altitude.

The airport was no problem, the 10 hour flight was no issue at all. My experience of being at a mainly 6000′ above sea level in the USA for just short of 3 weeks turned out to be no more a problem for me than being at sea level. I actually went up as high as 10,500 feet. I checked trails and their severity before we left the UK and made a route before we left.

All of this took time and planning, but it turned out to be worth it. I accept that there were some places I did not consider trying to get to see, I knew the trail would be too severe. While going to those places I did go to, I just took my time and listened to my body whilst carrying 10kg of my camera equipment.

So what is the point of this post?

Don’t let the SCA stop you doing things, it’s a beautiful world we live in and you can still get out and see it if you choose to.

Enjoy life.

Dare to dream update

I am writing this post for all the right reasons in the hope it is well received and through it some people might sense the art of the possible. I am not writing it for any egotistic reasons or to solicit any endorsements for I have far too much humility for that.

I previously wrote a post called ‘ Dare to Dream ‘ in November 15 when the group was much smaller than it is today. Although I am not sure if it’s still available I suppose this is a follow on post from that ?

I had my SCA in June 2013 at 4am in the morning while fast asleep.
A sleep I never woke from but my then partner Dawn for some reason of fate stirred, woke up and realised I had suffered from some form of catastrophic cardiac event.

She did all the right things by calling 999 and commencing CPR and eventually my heartbeat was restored with a defibrillator operated by a skilled paramedic.  I know I am extraordinarily fortunate as indeed we all are who survive an SCA.

A week in a coma in ITU followed by a two month stint in hospital where my hypoxic brain injury affected most of my functionality for example my co-ordination was that of a toddler thus walking, holding a spoon to feed myself, washing or even wiping my arse was all beyond me.

Listening to someone speak and then understanding what they said was all but impossible and my memory was shocking.  In fact I could retain data for at least as long as a Goldfish before having to ask people to repeat information again and again and again. I thus did abysmally on the psychological testing that all brain damaged people go through in order to know how badly they have been affected. I just could not find my way through the maze or put the brown bear into the cage?

I was thus diagnosed with hypoxic brain injury resulting in poor executive skills, poor attention span and poor memory.

I was bed ridden so I peed through a catheter and did a No 2 into a bed pan after which some unfortunate had to wipe my bum.
Bet they loved that Job !

In fact I was a mess riddled with myoclonus (involuntary jerking) that was so bad one day I jerked so ferociously I landed on the floor next to the bed.
For those who do not know Myoclonus is similar to when you are on the verge of sleep and suddenly for no apparent reason you jump. Only I did that all the time while awake or sleeping, and the muscle pain is considerable, akin to severe cramp. Give me a spoon to eat with and moments later it would be a missile because I had jerked. The ice cream I was supposed to eat decorated all the walls around me because I could not control my arm movements to feed myself.

The realisation that I was seriously damaged and it wasn’t everyone else being idiots smashed my confidence to smithereens and at that point if I could……..I would have killed myself.  I looked at the ward windows with both fear and longing but I couldn’t get there because I couldn’t walk or crawl, so I planned my suicide and planned it again and again because 2 minutes after I had made a fantastic plan I promptly forgot it and had to plan it again, but of course then I would forget what it was I was supposed to be planning ?

It was indeed a very low time for me.

Two months later they sent me home with an ICD and a wheel chair and made arrangements for community physiotherapy and psychological re-evaluation.
Six months later I received an appointment with a physiotherapist and shortly afterward a letter from the psychological evaluation team telling me my appointment had been cancelled.
I immediately wrote back an angry letter cancelling any future assessment not realising that by doing so my hospital notes would forever state that I had hypoxic brain injury and needed an appropriate adult to accompany me on all future appointments 🙂

Sometimes I am such an idiot !

Six months after coming home I also received a shock from my ICD at about 4 in the morning. Subsequent investigations revealing that I suffer from mild sleep apnoea which may trigger cardiac irregularity.
Just another thing really ?

When I look back on this period in my life I realise that Dr’s are skilled and wonderful human beings but they are not gods, and they don’t know everything. Unfortunately they are expected to know everything so when they are asked a question that they do not know the answer to they guess ?

Dr how long am I going to live ?
Dr will my wife still love me when I get home ?
Dr what are next Saturdays lucky lotto numbers ?

They will try and answer by giving a calculated guess based on what they think they know and what it is you are hoping to hear.

Well I asked questions that I have since forgotten together with the answers but what I do remember is how as a result my personal confidence was shattered, spat on and ground into a pulp. I thought I am alive but yet my life was over because now I am the village idiot (ever had that feeling ? I hope not)
I left hospital brain washed with half baked opinions that I took as gospel because Doctors know everything and everything they say is true !
Reminds me of the theory of voodoo when I think about it !

By way of example I was told that you improve for two years and after that you have got what you have got. Simply not true you continue to improve forever long you live and the more you try to improve the more you will improve.

I was told that my mobility would not improve to the point of independence and I would need a person or carer to accompany me when I ventured out.
Wrong ! My mobility has improved and I do not need an adult or carer to accompany me when I venture out. When in ITU my relatives were told I would probably die and when I didn’t they were told I would probably be a cabbage ?

Not something grand like Asparagus or a Truffle but a bloody cabbage?

I now realise that if you sustained hypoxic brain injury as I did/have then with time other parts of the brain take over that missing functionality.
As in my case you may have to re-learn how to do things but you can re-learn and be as efficient as you once were.
You really can !

To be fair to the Doctors my balance was blooming awful and once I became ambulant I fell over frequently, but as time has passed my balance has improved, so although I still fall over I fall over much less than I did which is fantastic !

Then again I am 61 years old and thus four years older and of course balance degrades with age but my cunning plan is to take up yoga (more of that later) ?

So why am I writing this post ?

Well after I had gone home from hospital and sat wasting my life away watching day time television for long enough I got a little angry.
I realised that I had bought into the despair of having an SCA. That I was no longer capable, that I was forgetful and clumsy I got angry with the Doctors and nurses who implied how limited my life would be.

But most of all I got angry with myself for buying into these beliefs and for feeling permanently depressed, for wasting what years I had left watching Cash in the Attic and Bargain Hunt and for well………….frankly believing that my life was over and I was just …………waiting to die.

The truth is that this isn’t true and it’s a mistake to believe this rubbish !
Life isn’t over, indeed far from it !

After my anger had subsided I came up with a cunning plan and we sold or gave away pretty well everything we owned which was both a bitter sweet experience. It was hard parting with things we had owned for almost all of our adult life. Useless things that were mementos of some person, event or experience.

Note that all these things refer to the past !

But we did it, cried over the loss and then next day celebrated the freedom because everything you own sort of owns you back in a way doesn’t it ?

Now at this point I should say that I am writing this post on a table top in the saloon of a yacht that we bought in October 2015 and sailed with my wife, (yes my wife Dawn who last year I married on a beach in Australia ) from New Caledonia to Australia then Indonesia and now we are currently on route across the Singapore Straits to Malaysia and then Thailand

Having been told I had such a poor future I manage to undertake all the maintenance, service the engines, replace and tune electronics, plumbing, calculate routes and pretty well everything else that it helps to know when running a boat.

When I embarked on this journey I honestly didn’t know if I could do this or not because I still believed all the hype and my confidence was shattered. Indeed I didn’t know if I could fly half way around the world to even look at a boat I was interested in that was for sale. It was in a boat yard and I didn’t know if I would be able to climb the ladder to get onto it let alone sail it anywhere ?

But as doddery as I think I was I managed it and we bought it.
Since buying it we have sailed it to some wonderful places and seen some wonderful things that if I remained at home I would never have undertaken or seen.

If I had of failed it would have been sad but then I would have taken up golf, fell walking, camping, gone to college to learn something new or whatever.
I would have done something that gave me a belief that I had a value because it’s important to feel that we have a human value whether it’s in building a house, looking after the children or grand children or growing lovely tomatoes 🍅 in the garden.

As a side I take Bisoprolol to regulate my heart and my Medtronic ICD sits happily in my chest. I have a home monitoring kit which I plug in and charge up as and when I need to do a six monthly download, I can walk, run a short way with wobbling difficulty and remember my name and a few other things. I don’t dive but I do snorkel on the many reefs that we have anchored near and I have seen some wondrous things.

My stamina has improved because it had to, my balance has improved because it had to and my joie de vivre (love of life) is now as it should be.

I am writing this because I sincerely believe that far too many of us experience an SCA and believe the hype that we cannot or should not do anything which might endanger us. That life is somehow restricted and now dominated by hospital appointments, physical and most of all mental limitations that we impose on ourselves.

Utter crap !

What is the point of living if we let our SCA confine us to an ill state ?
We worry about falling over in public or having an ICD shock in the cinema or feeling unwell at a party when these are all our own fears no-one else’s ?
The truth is if you fall over most people are concerned and want to help.

When I told my Cardiologist I was buying a yacht and going off sailing he truly belly laughed. I often think of that when I go swimming off the back of the boat in amongst the Turtles and Clown fish or watch a perfect sunrise.

But when I asked him if I could do a tandem sky dive in no uncertain terms he vigorously and expressly forbade it, so I suppose there are limits ?

An SCA can ruin your life, it can destroy your confidence in yourself, it can take away your livelihood and test your relationships, it can leave you feeling depressed, suicidal, unloved, sexually inadequate, useless, helpless and hopeless.

We all know it can do lots of negative things ?

But you also can do lots of positive things because you are not dead you are still here and you………yes you……….have all the tools you need.
You are alive, you have skills unique to you, you can think and you can do, and it’s a fact that most things in life that we consider impossible is because we haven’t yet tried them?

Oh yes the yoga ?

During my travels I have met many wonderful people one of which is a middle aged woman who taught yoga. Well in all honesty I felt a bit of a plonker lying on a mat bending this or twisting that amongst a group of ladies but I watched this teacher almost balancing on one toe while standing on the end of a pencil and my jaw dropped in awe !
I was sold on the obvious benefits so I thought as we are hoping to sail to Thailand where yoga is huge, and hopefully spend a while there, I am hoping to go to yoga classes to learn how to control my balance better 🙂

At least that is my ambition ?

I hope I haven’t made this all sound very easy because it certainly has been anything but that ! I have fallen off the boat some 10ft onto concrete and got away with grazing and some bruising. Fallen off the boat during the night in heavy seas and got tangled in illegal fishing nets. Got smashed to bits at the top of the mast when I had to go up there to sort out an emergency and came down looking black and blue and I have reached levels of exhaustion that have really tested my metal. I have clearly forgotten things and had to re-learn after mistakes were made but fortunately nothing terminal.

The rewards have been immense, but at times it’s been a hard thing for me to do but I do feel that my balance has considerably improved, my stamina increased and my confidence enhanced.

If you are like I was when I watched daytime television lost in the abyss of depression thinking your life is over then please think again because it isn’t. But you have to take that first step and as a clever Chinese guy once said ‘ Every journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step ‘

Whether it’s growing potatoes or spending a dawn watching the sunrise from the gardens of the Taj Mahal it’s up to you to take the first step ?

Awareness during a sudden cardiac arrest

Last week I attended a strategy day at Essex Air Ambulance which was the first of several they were holding to ensure their service was the best it could possibly be.  The first of these focused on out of hospital cardiac arrests, of which makes up 40% of their missions.  I was honoured to be asked to tell my story as the opener of the session especially as one of the paramedics who saved my life was attending.   It was great to give him a hug again and catch up, especially as the last time I met him I was a bit of an emotional wreck!

Anyway, during the course of the afternoon a question was put to me that I didn’t really feel able to answer as I have no memory of my cardiac arrest or the time around it.  So, I put the question to the group to see what the response would be.

The question was as follows:

“As a survivor, were you aware of what was happening to you during your SCA?”

134 members responded to the poll, which had the options of Yes, No and Maybe.  The results are displayed below and as you’ll see most survivors were totally oblivious to it all, which is probably a good thing.

Fantastic donation

We’re excited to announce that today we have received a fantastic donation of £1125 thanks to one of our members Hayley Thompson, her survivor son Dan and his football team Adwick Park Rangers (Doncaster).
Hayley and Dan’s world was turned upside down last year and Chris Crowe, Chairman of the football club told us about what happened…
“Dan had a cardiac arrest on 21st August 2016 while playing football, with CPR given straight away and the quick attendance of the emergency services he has made a full recovery.  As a football club we at Adwick Park Rangers raised money from a just giving page that was set up to install a defibrillator on our local park for the whole community. A fun day was arranged on the bank holiday where we raised more than enough money to get a few defibrillators, one for the park and some portable ones. With the extra money raised we have split it between Leeds General Hospital Ward 51, Air Ambulance and Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK which provided support and was a lifeline to Dan’s Mum Hayley Thomson who is a member of the group”
You can read more about Dan’s story in the following Doncaster  Free Press article:

If you would like to know more about supporting SCA UK please check out our page on Donating to us.