“On 28 September 2014 my husband Pete and I had been sitting in the garden at home in Upton Scudamore having lunch when we decided to come in for a cup of tea. Within minutes of sitting down, and with no prior warning, I was alerted to Pete as the iPad he was using crashed to the floor. His eyes were wide open and he was totally unresponsive. With difficulty, as I am disabled, I got to the phone and dialled 999.
We are extremely fortunate living in Upton Scudamore as within six minutes an ambulance and an ambulance car arrived. It was clear at that stage Pete was not breathing. They used the defibrillator on him nine times and carried out CPR. My neighbour was with me all this time and kept giving me massive support.
Wiltshire Air Ambulance arrived so by this stage there were six paramedics and ambulance crew with him. It took 35 minutes to restart Pete’s heart. He was taken by ambulance to the helicopter parked in a nearby field and flown to Southampton Hospital.
Pete was 68 years old at the time and had been very fit. He did a lot of cycling, so this came as a massive shock to us all.
Our daughter arrived and we made our way to Southampton Hospital where we were immediately ushered into a room and brought a cup of tea. We had absolutely no idea if Pete was still alive. After what seemed like hours, but I am sure it was only minutes, a lovely staff nurse came and took us to another room but this time in the cardiac ward. She gently explained to us that Pete had had a stent fitted and that he was wired up to lots of machinery and on a ventilator, but it was normal procedure for a cardiac arrest patient.
Professor Curzen came to chat with us and told us that Pete was very critical. He was put in an induced coma for five days and slowly brought out of it. Pete spent 11 days in intensive care and another four weeks in the High Dependency Ward before being transferred to Glenside Neuro Rehab Hospital in Salisbury.
Pete suffered a brain injury where he had to relearn pretty much everything but, thankfully, he still remembered me and our three children.
He finally came home on 16 April 2015 where the re-learning process continued but this time with my help. It was a long journey but we are able to really enjoy our lives again and we will be celebrating our golden wedding later this year.
Last year a canvasser called at our door, explaining he was asking if we would be willing to sign up to the lottery for Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Naturally we immediately said yes and explained to him that they had airlifted Pete to Southampton after his cardiac arrest.
Pete has no memory of being in the helicopter, so it was very exciting to go and visit Wiltshire Air Ambulance in Devizes in February 2017. We were thrilled to meet Louise and Steve, the two paramedics that attended Pete. What wonderful people they are. I felt quite emotional meeting them, I guess it brought back memories.
Without doubt I am totally convinced that without Air Ambulance Pete would not be here today.
Please support Wiltshire Air Ambulance, you never know when you may need them. It comes out of the blue and may save your life one day."