Paul's story

I woke up July 13th 2010 with a racing heart beat, I put on my heart rate monitor i wear for the gym and had a heart rate of 203, stupidly I got ready for work and drove the 30 miles to work, I was still wearing my monitor and arriving at the office it was showing 230. Thinking this wasn't good I drove another 30 miles nearer home and visited a local NHS drop in Centre.

On arriving at the centre I was hooked up to an ECG and the numbers matched by own heart rate monitor. The staff called for an ambulance which arrived within minutes and they tried a few things to get my heart rate down including massaging my neck and getting me to blow into a syringe, neither of which worked.

I got into the ambulance on foot and was quite happily chatting to the paramedic opposite. I texted my girlfriend asking if she could pick my car up and I felt fine. I don't remember arriving at the hospital.

I was taken to the hospital and they informed my girlfriend I had a heart infection, they managed to stabilise my heart with a few defib shocks and my heart rate returned to normal and I was admitted to a general cardiac ward. Later that evening my heart started racing again and I was transferred to another hospital by ambulance.

I was immediately taken into theatre where the consultant fitted 5 stents to an artery that was completely blocked, transferred to ICU and stayed there for about 4 weeks. I also had a second operation an ablation during this time.

During my time in ICU i was sedated for 95% of the time and don't remember very much about the treatment, I also picked up pneumonia and was transferred onto a bed that rocked side to side, from what I understand this is used to clear the mucus in my chest.

I had some very strange dreams and hallucinations during this time. Initially I thought I had been kidnapped and was held in an old hospital not far from home (in reality it doesn't exist) in this hospital I was strapped to a bed while a nurse and assistant gave me various treatments. The hospital was filthy and had cats walking around. At one point the nurse a male urinated in a mop bucket and then proceeded to clear the floor with it. I was convinced they wanted to kill me and eventually gave in and offered the nurse money to kill me. I was injected with a substance from a blue bag and nothing happened - I believed this to be heroin. As nothing happened I got them to insert a knife into the back of my head, the rest is too graphic to write but it wasn't a pleasant experience. Eventually I was released from their captivity but I don't know how.

Following on from this I also believed I was sailing on the Titanic, I was a pirate in a very black sea and was floating above the earth for a while - I was able to fly to other planets like Superman.

I also experienced seeing dead relatives at the end of my bed and I can also recall (even today) words spoken in conversations with nursing staff as if it was a conversation I had moment ago, the level of detail I can recall is very detailed, even though I know now that none of the conversations never actually took place because of the sedation.

I was eventually taking of the ventilator and moved to a CCU area and then later to a general ward where I had an ICD fitted and was eventually discharged, in total I spent just over 5 weeks in hospital.

That was nearly 6 months ago now and I'm still getting flashbacks, I was only watching Casualty a few weeks ago and a ventilator alarm went off, my partner said "Ehh, that noise" and I instantly recognised this, it played an odd tone.