Thank you

Terry re­flects on a life-chang­ing event . . .

EADT Suffolk - - THE DIARY -

You know that old say­ing about it never be­ing too late to learn? In the last cou­ple of months, it’s taken on a whole new sig­nif­i­cance for me – be­cause I have had some real life-chang­ing lessons.

On May 14, while walk­ing through Ip­swich town cen­tre, I had a car­diac ar­rest. Out of the blue. I landed head first on the pave­ment. At that mo­ment, I had less than a 10 per cent chance of sur­viv­ing. Amaz­ingly, I’m still here to write this col­umn - and to en­joy all the good things in life - thanks to the ac­tions of some won­der­ful peo­ple.

One was a para­medic, who ‘shocked’ my heart four times to get it beat­ing prop­erly again. Then there was a lady called Lisa Perry, who trains other peo­ple in life-sav­ing skills, and just hap­pened to be walk­ing past as all this was go­ing on. She gave me CPR and helped to save my life. I also have to thank the skill of sur­geons at both Pap­worth and Ip­swich Hospi­tal, who have worked on my heart. I’m mak­ing good progress after what has been a rather be­wil­der­ing, and at times fright­en­ing, jour­ney.

Ob­vi­ously I have been in­cred­i­bly lucky. So for­tu­nate it hap­pened in the town cen­tre, with lots of peo­ple around. Amaz­ingly lucky that some­one with Lisa’s life-sav­ing skills just hap­pened to be right there. I’ve met her and thanked her for what she did. Say­ing thank you seemed so in­ad­e­quate in the cir­cum­stances . . .

Com­ing so close to death is dif­fi­cult to come to terms with. I have had dark thoughts. What if it had hap­pened when I was at home on my own?

Much worse, what if it had hap­pened when I was driv­ing on the A12 with my dar­ling lit­tle grand-daugh­ter Ava, as I’ve done so of­ten? I have shed tears think­ing about that.

But those things didn’t hap­pen, and I’ve been given a sec­ond chance. It’s now up to me to make the most of it. This is where the life-chang­ing lessons come in.

Les­son one: I will make sure I take plenty of ex­er­cise – brisk walks, cycling, and golf. They will go in my cal­en­dar first, and ev­ery­thing else will have to fit around them. I’ll stay busy, but I am in no doubt where my pri­or­i­ties lie.

Les­son two: I will live for the mo­ment. It’s taken me more than 60 years to learn this, but it’s fi­nally sunk in. When I’m en­joy­ing my­self, I will fo­cus on that and not get dis­tracted, wor­ry­ing about things hap­pen­ing to­mor­row, next week, or next month. I re­alised I had learned the les­son at last when I had a lovely day out with Ava, and her mummy, our daugh­ter, Har­riet. We went to Eas­ton Farm Park and then on to Fram­ling­ham, my favourite place. Lunch and a visit to the cas­tle. A per­fect day, and I sim­ply loved it for what it was. Looks like an old dog can learn new tricks!

Les­son three: The im­por­tance of life-sav­ing skills. If I came across some­one who needed CPR, I wouldn’t know what to do. I’ve had the best of in­ten­tions when it comes to first aid cour­ses. But life has al­ways got in the way.

No more ex­cuses. With­out Lisa, I sim­ply wouldn’t be here. So, when you read this, I will be en­rolled on a course and, if con­fronted by a life-and-death sit­u­a­tion, I will know what to do. If you feel the same way, just go on­line and search for cour­ses in Suf­folk. It looks as though there are lots.

Les­son four: Ev­ery dark cloud has a sil­ver lin­ing. What has been a dif­fi­cult time has also served as a won­der­ful re­minder of just how kind peo­ple are. I’ve been over­whelmed by the cards, let­ters, texts, e-mails and phone calls from peo­ple wish­ing me well and of­fer­ing to help. Thank you so much. Your kind thoughts have meant such a lot.

Fi­nally, to my fam­ily. Thank you for ev­ery­thing. I couldn’t have done it with­out your love, sup­port, and en­cour­age­ment. I love you – and I’m so sorry for the great big scare. x N

ABOVE: Terry with Lisa Perry, who helped to save his life by giv­ing him CPR when he col­lapsed sud­denly

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