From Heart Attack to Hitch-Hiker

A story of recovery by Pauline Denton

DSC_0155The last thing I remembered was queuing up in Abu Dhabi to board my flight to Sydney as I returned to New Zealand following three months in the UK visiting my 91-year-old mother. There were no reminders on the flight about the risk of DVT - Deep Vein Thrombosis but it struck anyway. A clot in my leg went to my lung and triggered a series of three heart attacks. I must have gone to the loo an hour before landing in Sydney and the plane landed with me still in the loo. The passengers were emptied out and a Para-medic was on hand when they retrieved me from the loo. I stated my name before having the first of three heart attacks.
Meanwhile, at home in New Zealand, my husband, Andrew, was half an hour from setting off to pick me up from the airport and had arranged a surprise welcome home party when he got a phone call from Sydney to say there’d been a medical incident and they advised he come straight over.
He got there that evening to find me wired up to life support. At some point I came too and read a text clearly but then swelling on the brain kicked in and my speech became slurred and my vision became as if I was looking through broken glass. If I could see a doctors eyes I, had to look down to focus on his nose and further still to see his mouth. I couldn’t read, write or watch TV, nor could I see to eat properly or coordinate to use a knife and fork.
I remember the man in the next bed seeing me struggle and feeding me one night.
My recovery in Sydney was described as ‘Miraculous’ by one of the Doctors and I put that down to the prayers of the people of Helensville as, immediately the news got out, I was put on several ‘Prayer Chains’ and even now I have people I don’t even recognize telling me they have been praying for me.
I want to dedicate this article to those people who have prayed for and supported Andrew and myself. Both my jobs have been held open for me and my vision is almost back to normal but I have stopped driving until I get medical clearance, and that’s where the hitch hiking comes in as I work in Helensville but live in Kaukapakapa so cross the road from my house and hitch in each working day – a big thank you to all who have picked me up, including the police, who at first I thought were going to tell me off for attempting to hitch.

in hospital in Sydney with Tess Goulsbra

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