In 2013 eager for a new adventure, Sue and her husband Rob set sail for the clear seas and fabulous shores of the Isle of Wight. But when Sue’s cardiac problems appeared over the horizon six years later, the couple’s dream move would soon be cut short.
“Living the dream”
“I’ve always wanted to live by the sea and Rob made my dream come true,” said Sue. “We were having the time of our lives – living the dream, you could say.”
As the blue June skies bathed the couple’s home, Sue began feeling unwell – “dreadful”, in fact.
“I started passing out – I was even passing out in my sleep.” Concerned for his wife, Rob called for an ambulance.
“The paramedic was fantastic,” said Sue. “He immediately knew I had severe heart block and needed urgent care.”
Heart block: a condition where the heart beats more slowly or with an abnormal rhythm caused by a problem with the electrical pulses that control how your heart beats.
Sue was blue-lighted by road to St Mary’s Hospital, Newport some fifteen miles from her home.
Getting Sue to the right hospital
“Due to the complications of my condition, as a matter of urgency they needed to get me to the cardiac unit of the Queen Alexandra’s Hospital, Portsmouth, so the Air Ambulance was contacted. Going by ferry was not an option!” she said.
Sue was still in and out of consciousness but remembers “seeing the Air Ambulance team arrive with an air of confidence and assured competence. My husband said it was a bit like the A Team arriving.”
Sue was stabilised and loaded onto the helicopter and readied for the flight across the Solent.
“When they took me up to the Helipad, I had to keep my eyes closed because of how high up we were. The paramedic put headphones on me so she could talk to me during the flight. As I was so scared she held my hand, which was just wonderful.”
Sue had an emergency surgical procedure to insert a pacemaker which undoubtedly saved her life and was in hospital for the next month.
After her life-threatening medical emergencies, Sue and Rob took the decision to move back to the mainland to be closer to family and nearer to major hospitals. They sold their lovely home on the Island and are now settled in Church Crookham, Fleet.
A chance meeting
Sue volunteers for a charity organising volunteers to drive local people to medical appointments – not via Helicopter, though. She recently came across our Simulator Van and Supporter Engagement team at an event in Hartley Wintney.
A big lover of Christmas, Sue is looking forward to spending time with her family of twin sons, daughters-in-law and twin grandchildren, plus step-children and extended family.
“Even though Rob has played the monthly Air Ambulance Lottery for many, many years, I was shocked to find out Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance is a charity and as such is not government funded. I am eternally grateful for the service that was there when I most needed it.”
“The Air Ambulance crew were like my knights in shining armour. They just made me feel completely safe. Without them, who knows if I would be here today.”