A date I’ll never forget and a day I’ll never remember

I live in Tallaght, Dublin with my wife Rose. The 28th of February 2015 is a date I’ll never forget and a day I’ll never remember.

The night before was a Friday and I had worked my last day in work prior to moving to a new job.

This would be the last memory I would have until the following Thursday.

I woke up on the Saturday morning and felt alright. A work medical had uncovered high blood pressure which was a surprise because I took care of myself and had never been ill to any degree.

I went for a long walk around the area I live (roughly 3 miles), came home and we went to The Square shopping centre to do the usual Saturday thing.

All of this I’m telling you is only what I’ve been told by my wife, I don’t remember any of it.

The only reason I know I felt good was because I had phoned Rose during my walk and told her.

Rose and I were with her sister and father and I left them to put the shopping in the car, which was in the multi-storey car park.

On the way back into The Square, on level 1, I collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.

Some of The Square security guards, including Tony, reacted extremely quickly and got me into the recovery position. My sister-in-law Lorraine made them aware that there was heart trouble in my family. My heart had stopped for two minutes. Luckily Siobhan, a young cardiac doctor from Tallaght Hospital, was also there that morning and she performed CPR on me before the paramedics arrived. I was then brought to James’ Hospital before being transferred back to Tallaght Hospital.

Thanks to the actions of the security guards, Siobhan and the paramedics my life was saved. It was such a shock for Rose, nobody ever expects something like that to happen.

Fortunately the fact I can’t remember probably helped my recovery. To me a whole chain of events happened that were so lucky for me.  Only 1 in 10 people who have a cardiac arrest outside of hospital survive.

The staff in the hospital told me that if Siobhan hadn’t started CPR on me it would’ve been too late. Literally every second counts in a cardiac arrest.

The first memory I had after it was waking up on the following Thursday morning realising I was in hospital and having no idea why I was there. I had a defibrillator fitted but was still having problems with my short term memory. After it happened I felt like a completely different person, I barely had the strength to walk around the bed. When I got home I struggled to get up the stairs. My heart was only working at 15/20% capacity which meant I was barely able to do anything in the early days but after six months, which included two months of rehabilitation, it was up to 55% which is the range for a normal person.

The first year was tough, but two years on everything is going in the right way. My focus is to keep my health as good as I can for as long as I can and my recovery is going great. I still attend the weekly phase 4 Cardiac Rehabilitation class in Tallaght Leisure Centre, Tallaght Heartbeat, run by a cardiac nurse specialist and physiotherapist, when my work schedule allows. I’m training and even running on treadmills, that’s how far I’ve come! As stress was somewhat of a factor, and my previous work being stressful at times, my work life will be based around my health in the future. My number one focus is my health.

The reason I want to tell the story is to show my appreciation to Tony and all the security staff who helped on the day; Siobhan, and the paramedics – they saved my life, and I’ll be forever thankful to them for that.

The whole thing has changed my attitude to life, honestly I can’t describe really how much it’s changed.

Now I wake up every day and appreciate being alive, I realise life is so precious.

I don’t care if it’s sunny or raining, as long as I feel good everything is great. I realise what a waste of time it is to stress over stuff that doesn’t really matter

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