On Sunday 8th January 2023 I completed the North Tyne Trail 12K in a time I was happy with. I was coming back from injury so finishing at all was my main target and I was 3-4 mins quicker than planned. I remember chatting with a few poly friends in the clubhouse and saying well done to a couple of runners coming in as I walked back up the course on the way home.
Next thing I know, I’ve woken up in hospital … I try to wake myself up and snap myself out of the bad dream but slowly, ever so slowly, it sinks in that this is not a dream. It’s probably several hours until I really accept the reality of the situation.
I’m still dazed and confused at this stage and Claire has to tell me the same thing over and over but the pieces vaguely come together.
Half way between the clubhouse and home I experienced plaque rupture causing a cardiac arrest. My heart stopped completely and I crashed to the floor with my knees and face taking the brunt of it. Time will tell if that results in an improvement or not 😁.
I was, however, incredibly lucky! A passer-by saw me collapse and called 999 immediately and a man that lived close by appeared on scene to provide CPR within minutes … this undoubtedly saved my life and moreover … saved a life worth saving. I still can’t say or even type this last bit without tearing up as the enormity of what could have been hits home.
My recovery has been good and I was released from hospital on Sunday. I have a small stent (3.5mm × 23mm) inserted and I rattle a little when I walk with all the pills I’m on but that is a small price to pay and it also remains to be seen how many of those pills are for life.
Beyond that I have been told that the rest of my arteries are in good condition and my heart pump has a healthy level of efficiency.
At one point a doctor told me I was less likely to have another one because the damaged portion had been removed but later a cardiologist corrected that to say that the stent itself was enough to elevate my risk a fraction higher than average but only by a small amount and indeed my condition was very good considering. All things considered, I’ll take that.
It’s been a trial for us all and it is not lost on me how hard this must have been for my family, especially as I lay oblivious to it all for the first 24 hours. I have suffered no loss of mental capacity, remember everything up to just a few minutes before and my family are especially pleased that my sense of humour remains unchanged 🤣.
I spend much of my time tired and get out of breath easily (it’s still less than 1 week since it happened) but I’m up and about and already started on a sort of exercise “regime” (albeit modest). Moreover I am already feeling noticeably stronger day on day. By all accounts I’m already ahead of any reasonable expectation of recovery and that comes from my prior good level of fitness and apparently healthy lifestyle.
In 2018 I completed the Scafell Sky Race which was just short of marathon distance, then in 2019 I finished the Snowdon Ultra Marathon. Scafell one year then Snowdon the next … there is only one logical thing to do the next year.
Sadly, Covid put paid to the Ben Nevis Ultra in 2020 and lack of fitness ruled out my deferred entry for 2021 and 2022, then injury put 2023 out of reach as well. This is another major setback but I’ve still not given up on the idea although it does seem prohibitively far off right now (but so did the Scafell Sky Race for much of the time). But when I’m walking to the end of the street and back tomorrow I’m not joking when I say that that is what I am training for … that and being able to walk on the beach with my family.
I’m not sure what the moral of all of this is, there weren’t really any warning signs. So my advice is stay fit and marry a dietitian.
The final word however has to be this …
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Mark, the first person on the scene, and Peter who provided CPR. Massive shout out to Simon and Pat from North Shields Poly who also provided assistance on the scene and I especially don’t envy Simon his “job” (I was of course no longer the responsibility of the race organisers by this stage) of informing my wife.
Beyond this others are better qualified than me to know who did what but Great North Air Ambulance were in attendance (although I wasn’t treated to a ride in the helicopter), Mountain Rescue (sic – they were nearby because of the race) and then there are the paramedics/ambulance staff, police and countless staff at initially Cramlington then ultimately the Freeman.
I am aware at least one if not two people that went to get the local defibrillator and I am also aware that Lesley and Helen from The Poly were also present and I have just learned that Peter did not know how to do CPR but was guided through it. That is quite a remarkable feat as the paramedics commented how good a job he had done … maybe he’s a huge Bee Gees fan 🤣.
Lastly to everyone that reached out and gave me their best wishes whilst I was still in hospital and since. You all, every one of you, helped me get through the darkest days of my life .. and mostly with a smile on my face. Simon, I’m so sorry I drove you to drink, you were doing so well!
And if I thought my wife and family were wonderful before … I was a little short of the mark!
If I have forgotten anyone or mangled up some details then please accept my sincerest apologies, but remember … I wasn’t really there!
Thank you all ❤️.
Oh, one last thing, I need to get my priorities right …
… I somehow managed to keep my Wordle streak going (121 and counting) despite losing 24 hours of my life 🤣. Idle time was of course on my side.