At the end of June 2011, I spent my four days off helping a friend fit some banisters at the top of his stairs, skirting boards, and architraves around the bedrooms, (lots of kneeling).

1st July I was due to go back to work for my four night shifts on, so I came home mid afternoon to rest. I had a pain in my knee, but after the last 3½ days kneeling this was to be expected. I took 2 paracetamol, the pain got worse, I went and laid on my bed, my chest went tight and I could not relax the muscles.

I asked my wife to phone an ambulance, she called 999, and was told to give me an aspirin, and she's still not got the lid off.

The paramedic was at my bed side in seconds doing an ECG, he said I was ok but due to one little blip he would send me to the hospital to be checked.

Once they knew my heart was ok, the doctors were looking at my knee, unable to draw any fluid off and because of the immense pain, I was told some keyhole surgery was necessary, (My memory stops here!)

During the next three weeks I have some bizarre dreams and night mares, in all of them I am unable to move and in a confined space, they seemed so real.

I had two incisions made in my left leg to see if I had a flesh eating disease, one in my thigh and one in my calf, each about four inches long. Because they bled, OK.

The next incision was in my knee where a large amount of pus was removed.

During this procedure I went into septic shock (septicaemia), my organs started shutting down, my blood pressure dropped and I had a small stroke. Sent to ICU I was put into a drug induced coma while I got better.

When I awoke, despite being told, I could not work out why I could not move my left side or talk. My last few days in ICU are very vague now; I was moved to ward 17 during the night as they needed the bed in ICU. I was in hospital for about two more weeks, I was having physio twice a day, counting the minutes until visiting time. I felt very homesick. As soon as it was safe to do so I went home.

My family continued to visit me daily and the district nurse came twice a week, this helped no end.

When the eight week physio rehab started it gave me some weekly targets, and I could see the progress.

After the eight weeks of physio, I was invited back to ICU to be shown where I had been and what had happened to me during the three weeks I was in there. I had no idea how ill I was. At this point I was given a diary that my family and the nurses had kept while I was unconscious. Some of my family have commented how helpful this was for them during that time, as it has been to me since ICU.

Four months from when this all started I returned to work, starting with light duties and less hours.

I am now attending ICU Steps drop in sessions and finding I have a lot in common with other ICU patients e.g. less tolerant, mood swings, anxiety, etc. I think a psychiatric follow up from ICU might be beneficial to some patients.

The booklet and leaflets produced by ICU Steps are very helpful to patients and relatives, more are needed.

I am about to do a sponsored tandem sky dive to raise money for ICU Steps,

Thank you, Ian