Mike’s Story

Mike, from Wokingham, is a fit and healthy 65-year-old who enjoys long walks and playing golf. At the time of his accident he was visiting the Isle of Wight. Below he tells his story.

Very recently we sold the small house that we have been lucky enough to own for a number of years, in Bembridge, on the Isle of Wight. At the time of my accident, around a week before completion day, I was visiting the house to make sure everything was in order. I was ahead of schedule that day, and was doing well so decided to go for a walk along the beach, to the Crab and Lobster pub, a favourite of ours, with my beloved golden retriever, Buddy.

I remember leaving the house and locking up as I usually would, but for some reason, one that I can’t explain, I decided to cross the road, rather than turn right and continue on my usual route. As I crossed the road, and without any forewarning, I collapsed.

The rest of my story is pieced together from what others have told me, as I have very little recollection of what happened after my collapse.

I had collapsed outside The Limes Residential Home, which was very fortunate, as the manager and care assistant immediately knew what to do to attempt to recover me. When their defibrillator didn’t work, they performed CPR on me for 15 minutes, until the ambulance arrived. I have since found out the manager is an ex Cardiac Nurse from University Hospital Southampton. I’m sure that this, and the fact that I took a different route that day played a huge role in my outcome.

The ambulance arrived and the crew got my heart going and took me to St Mary’s A&E, where it was quickly decided I would need to go to the specialist Cardiac Department at University Hospital Southampton. The Air Ambulance was called. I have a vague recollection of someone telling me we were going in a helicopter, but no more than that, unfortunately. A shame, as I would love to have been able to enjoy the ride!

My next recollection was of being in a bed, in Southampton, with a number of people around me. After initial examinations I was told I had had a ventricular fibrillation, resulting in cardiac arrest, but they were unable to determine the cause. I have since been fitted with an ICD heart monitor, so if it happens again, I am at lower risk of going into arrest.

I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say, that without the Air Ambulance taking me to University Hospital Southampton for the specialist care I needed, in such a short time, the health of my heart would have been compromised further and I may not have survived.

I have only the upmost respect, gratitude and admiration for everyone who helped me on the day of my accident and has been involved in my ongoing recovery. It is extraordinary that the Air Ambulance is a charity; the work they do is both outstanding and essential and it is frightening to think what could happen without them around.

Personally, I feel very lucky. I have a lovely wife and two sons, who have all been fantastic throughout the whole process. My youngest son and daughter-in-law are expecting a baby in December and I shudder at the thought that I may not have been around.

I’ve always been fortunate to have a good life, but I cherish it that much more now.