It was a Friday morning around 7.15 am on the last day of 2 weeks annual leave from work. I was just at the end of my weekly outdoor training with a group of mates when I am told (I have lost about 2 weeks memory) that we were running up the last hill at Currumbin Beach when I started to fall behind the group.
I was moving slowly, some mates came back and said, “are you OK, Ken?” Famous last words: "No worries " and I collapsed.
I was dead when I hit the ground. Luckily at that time I was an active member of Currumbin Beach lifesavers, as were most of the lads training with me. They started CPR straight away and one lad ran back to the club house for the defibrillator.
A Care Flight Doctor was on the beach and saw him running to the clubhouse and came back with him to assist with my treatment. They also had the local cafe workers call triple O and get the Paramedics on their way.
I believe I died twice while they worked on me, and that there were moments of extreme highs and lows for them all as you can imagine. Several of the lads had counseling and there are times when they still mention that day and I can see the emotion in their eyes.
I love them all as brothers now and continue to train with them each week. If you’re going to drop; these are the mates you want around.
I probably feel the safest when I am with them as its always in the back of your mind that it might happen again?
A stress test about 18 months later showed that there may be a minor problem and my specialist had me book into the Gold Coast Hospital for a angiogram. The minor problem turned out to be the 2 stents I had previously had collapsed and that my arteries were blocked again.
I went straight to the Princess Alexandria Hospital and had a triple bypass. The only symptoms I had leading up to this was that I had been getting very tied early afternoon each day. Funny thing is I had my regular doctors check up the week before the Cardiac Arrest and all was good.
I had never had blood pressure problems or high cholesterol.
Hate to say it but I was feeling the best I had for years. I had never been a big drinker, just enjoyed a social beer with my family or friends every now and then. I had smoked earlier in my life but had stopped at 21.
I was off work for 3 months, but have returned to the same job. I do weekly training with my mates, spend time with my family and also am lucky enough to be able to spend time with my 4 grandkids, the youngest which would never had known me if I hadn’t survived.
My family had the hardest times throughout all this, my wife Chris was my rock and I love them all the more for their help.
All I can say is that there's not much you can do to prevent it, but it’s up to you once the professionals finish with you, how you respond to it mentally and physically and live the rest of your life.
Sounds corny but I do believe that the Cardiac Arrest, when and where it happened was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me. Thanks
Story edited by Jeremy Whitehead