On the approach to our cycling event in Wicklow (in aid of Physiotherapy at St. James’s Hospital), Michael Sayers, cardiac and physiotherapy patient tells us his story. Michael had a heart attack in 2015 and required a course of cardiac rehabilitation in the Physiotherapy Department.
My name is Michael Sayers and I am 56 years old. On the 26th September 2015 I was at home with my wife. At 1pm I developed a severe pain in my chest, it travelled out into both my arms and up into my jaw. I felt very unwell, clammy, sweaty and nauseous. My wife called an ambulance saying I felt I was having a heart attack. Luckily for me an ambulance from the national ambulance service happened to be in the area and was with me with a few minutes. They very quickly assessed me and recognised that I was having a severe heart attack. They rapidly transported me to St. James’s A&E department. They called ahead and advised them of my condition. When we arrived I was taken to the resuscitation area, within minutes of arriving at the A&E the pain in my chest became unbearable.
I was given morphine and rushed to the cardiac catheterisation lab; I was only there a few minutes when I went into cardiac arrest. I was resuscitated three times, received nine electric shocks and had four cardiac stents fitted in my heart. I regained consciousness that night in the coronary care unit; I had a tube in my airway and my family where at my bed side. I had survived and suffered minimal damage to my heart thanks to the professionalism and expertise of the ambulance, A&E and cath lab staff.
I spent two days in the CCU and three days in the Robert Adams ward before being discharged home. The level of care I received was superb, the staff where so supportive and caring I couldn’t have asked for better.
Within a few days of arriving home the gravity of what happened to me began to sink in, I became very emotional and afraid, my life had completely changed and I was unsure of what my future would be and if I would ever be able to return to a “normal life” again.
In November I started my cardiac rehabilitation course in the physiotherapy department of St. James’s. From the moment I met the rehab team I was astonished at the level of care they provided. The nurses, physiotherapist councillors, dieticians, pharmacist and care staff where world class. The programme lasted 6 weeks. By the time it concluded I felt so much better. I felt fitter and healthier than I had for a long time. I was regaining my confidence and now felt my future was looking brighter. During the course I met other patients who also had cardiac problems; we supported each other and became friends. I feel that we understood each other because we had all come through similar situations.
In January I continued my recovery in the community based cardiac rehab programme which to this day I still attend. Once again the level of care and support of the staff is world class.
In early February I became unwell. I went to my GP who immediately referred me back to St. James’s A&E. I was readmitted and following another angiogramme I was told that the 4 stents fitted to my heart had collapsed. Once again I was devastated by the news. I felt that I had had the heart attack all over again. The doctors told me that despite the collapse of the stent my heart had made “it own bypass” and my heart was functioning normally. I felt that all my hard work had been for nothing, but they assured me that it was, in fact, all the hard work I have been doing with the rehab team that made my recovery possible.
I have recently returned as an outpatient, I am making great progress and my heart is functioning normally. I now feel my life is returning to some kind of normality and my future looks brighter.
I can never repay the debt of gratitude I owe to all the staff who took such excellent care of me and above all SAVED MY LIFE.