I fell from a boat into cold water in the Hawkesbury River, which triggered a complete blockage of my right coronary artery.
I had no pain, but I felt off – so I sat down, then laid down. My wife, who was a nurse, recognised the symptoms of pins and needles in the left arm and a grey facial complexion. As I lay on the floor with legs in the air she rang 000.
I was dangerously distant from available transport to a hospital, let alone a catheterisation lab where heart attacks are treated). Yet within 15 minutes, I had met the first response paramedic. He gave me an aspirin and set up the ECG.
Fifteen minutes later, I was en route to Royal North Shore Hospital in an ambulance equipped with the early triage program.
Transport time was not wasted – paramedics transmitted my ECG to the hospital for triage and assessment.
By the time I arrived at the hospital, one of the top interventional cardiology teams in Australia was ready for me in the catheterisation lab, and I was immediately wheeled in, had the clot exploded and a stent inserted in my artery.
Thanks to the wonderful follow-up work of cardiologist Geoffrey Tofler and the whole cardiac rehab team, I’m not just surviving, I’m living a much healthier and well managed life to the full.
And thanks to my early triage miracle, I have just run my five-yearly stress test without a blip in sight.
Thanks team – you are miracle workers and you have given me a whole extra life!
– Chris, 52