In June 2022, my dad Malcolm had a cardiac arrest and my mum did CPR for 18 minutes while she waited for the ambulance to arrive.
A little bit about Lori and Malcom
My name is Lori and I work in the film and TV industry and one of my first jobs was on Solo; A Star Wars Story with Emilia Clarke. When I heard about SameYou and the work that they've been doing, I knew I had to get my dad and my family involved.
In June 2022 my dad, Malcolm, suffered from an out of hospital cardiac arrest. His heart stopped for 18 minutes, and my mum did CPR while she waited for the ambulance to arrive.
My dad was taken to hospital and put into an induced coma. We were told that after 72 hours they would start to wean him out of the coma depending on how his body was healing. My dad ended up being in that coma and in ICU for four weeks. Those four weeks seemed to last forever for my mum, my two sisters and I. We would visit the hospital every day, twice a day, and my mum would ring day and night for updates but nothing seemed to be changing. It was always one step forward three steps back.
Good news from the ICU
Finally, on a Sunday afternoon, we were summoned to the ICU for a chat with one of the doctors. He told us that the next step was to turn off the oxygen machine that was helping my dad to breath. The doctor said if he managed to breath on his own then that’s a step in the right direction but if he didn’t, they would immediately put the tube back in. The tube never went back in - my dad was breathing on his own!
Despite everything we were told and everything we feared my dad made a miraculous recovery. Five months later and from the ICU to the Brain Injury Unit my dad was finally coming home!
Two of the most bothersome symptoms for my dad have been the memory loss and fatigue. Before this happened, my dad was a 63-year-old retired, yet active and healthy, teacher of joinery. The morning before my dad was rushed to intensive care, he was putting up a fence in the back garden and had taken our dog, Bailey for a walk. Now he struggles with remembering things that happened a few weeks before the cardiac arrest and he struggles with small tasks making him exhausted.
The importance of a solid support system
My dad has been back home for just over six months now and it has been a challenging recovery process for him and my family. My dad has said that having the support of his wife and three daughters throughout this time has been an immense help for him. Throughout his recovery he has worked with physios, OT's, Speech and Language Therapists, Neurologists and many wonderful nurses.
Thanks to the wonderful doctors, nurses and many medical professionals that helped my dad get back home and back to a quality of life many of us thought wasn't possible, he is able to enjoy some of the hobbies he loved before this all happened. Now that summer is on the way he's back out in the garden planting an abundance of flowers, he's baking delicious cinnamon buns for us all to enjoy and of course he's back sitting on the sofa with our dog watching his favourite YouTube videos.
Once my dad made it back home to us, he has had the opportunity to avail of a number of great support groups such as cardiac rehab, brain injury recovery rehab and foot golf! He's also been spending lots of time with his young grandchildren and going for coffee with friends.
Malcom’s advice to other survivors
My dad says that his advice to anyone going through something similar would be to try and be patient and take things nice and easy. These have been very uncharted waters we've had to wade through this past year but having each other and the support of the doctors and nurses has helped us all as a family to get through it.