Ironically, I remember feeling the best I had in a long time on the morning of that fateful day.
I received a phone call from my son’s school, alerting me my five-year-old son wasn’t feeling well. Little did I know how his illness would end up saving my life that very same day.
After taking my son home and calling the family doctor, I was instructed to take him immediately to hospital. Weakened by his illness, my son was unable to walk from the house to the car and into the hospital, so I carried him.
As I approached emergency at the hospital, I told the receptionist I felt like I was going to faint.
I then collapsed and went into sudden cardiac arrest. A nurse nearby caught my son as I fell to the floor.
My husband arrived to find my son was no longer the issue. He was escorted to the adult emergency where CPR was being administered on me.
I was initially treated for what was thought to be a seizure but later diagnosed as ventricular fibrillation and Prolonged QT Syndrome, coupled with premature ventricular contractions (PVCs).
After my condition stabilised, a cardiac catheterisation was performed which showed none of my arteries were blocked. I was then placed in a hypothermic coma for 24 hours to reduce swelling in my brain and prevent any potential brain damage from taking place.
On the day I was to be taken out of the coma – someone working on my case told my husband there could be many outcomes – from brain damage to death to not being able to breathe on my own.
After an unsuccessful attempt at removing my breathing tube, doctors placed me back in a coma. I was eventually able to be taken off the machines and began the 13-hour long defrosting process. To the relief of mu entire family, I awoke, was able to speak and had no signs of brain damage.
Yet my journey to recovery was not complete. I immersed myself in educational materials, finding out as much as I could about Prolonged QT Syndrome (LQTS). I was implanted with an ICD.
Two weeks later I was back in hospital only to learn the ICD needed adjusted, after going into ventricular fibrillation, passing out again and being shocked twice.
Two weeks after the ICD adjustments were made, I was back on the road to feeling well. But my journey remained unfinished.
I soon learned LQTS is either genetic or acquired, and since I have children, I needed to identify if the deadly condition could be passed on.
My family is currently undergoing genetic testing for LQTS.
– Dawn, 36