Rutland woman joins world record attempt to show there is life after a cardiac arrest
A woman from Rutland is joining a record breaking attempt in a bid to show people that there can life after a cardiac arrest.
The event will try and create a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of cardiac arrest survivors in one place, and Ingrid Gardner of Oakham is urging others to join her.
Ingrid, 42, from Hector’s Way, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest out of the blue in October 2016.
On that life-changing day, the trainee funeral director had attended the funeral of a former work colleague in Milton Keynes. She was on her way from the wake to visit a friend when her heart stopped beating and she collapsed in the street.
She said: “I have no memory of my cardiac arrest or the three or four days following. I was put in an induced coma for 48 hours to give my brain and heart a chance to recover. All I know is that I was lucky and that a woman passer-by was on hand to help me.
“It’s a funny coincidence but she wouldn’t normally have seen me as she would have been at the gym, but she changed her routine that day.
“She initially thought I was drunk, but she quickly realised my face had turned blue, I was foaming at the mouth and that my breath was raspy.”
Ingrid’s guardian angel performed CPR until the ambulance arrived and she was then rushed to hospital.
Although she can’t remember anything of her ordeal, she has since found out she was given three defibrillator shocks in the back of the ambulance and that she was clinically dead for 30 minutes. Her family were told twice that she was that critically ill and that she ‘was not going to make it’.
Ingrid, 42, said: “I had an implantable cardioverter fitted a week after the event and returned home.”
It was then that her new life started, and she admits she is still adapting to life some 18 months after it happened.
The mother-of-two, said: “What happened to me came totally out of the blue. I was healthy and there were no warning signs. I have never smoked, I only drink socially and I was fit and healthy.
“Obviously now I’m on medication, and physically I get fatigued a lot, but the only real difference is that the defibrillator in my chest means my left arm doesn’t have the strength it did and I struggle to lift things.
“The biggest change has been emotionally. It has been very traumatic and I am still struggling emotionally. I have just been diagnosed with depression, but slowly and surely I am getting there.”
Ingrid is trying to make the most out of her experience.
She said: “This isn’t the end, it’s just the start of something new.
“This record attempt is the perfect way to raise awareness of cardiac arrest and encourage more get people to think about undertaking CPR training. It’s also the perfect vehicle for promoting the use of community defibrillators – if this manages to save just one life then it will all be worth it!
“I’m so excited about it. I really am, as are my children, Madelaine, 12, and Jed, 10
“It will be nice to be a part of something positive, and if we get the record, it means I will have something I can show which validates the fact I survived.”
Ingrid is also using the record attempt, which takes place at the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre in Basildon on Sunday, June 9 at 1pm, to help her with her emotional recovery.
She said: “It’s an amazing opportunity to meet other survivors and learn more about heart health as well as celebrate all the miracles of life in that room that day.
“The statistics for survival of cardiac arrest make for grim reading. This is an incredibly rare occurrence, and speaking to other survivors makes me realise that my thoughts and feelings are normal. It’s not just me – there are other people who have been through the same thing. That kind of support is invaluable.”
Ingrid is slowly rebuilding her life and her heart medical tests have come back ‘good’.
She said: “My body now feels the same as it did before. I would like to get fitter and I’ve just bought a treadmill as my lung health needs improving.
“I will be going to a cardiac rehab course, and this will work out how much physical exertion my heart can tolerate. Then I can crack on.”
Long-term, Ingrid, who is currently working as a cleaner, plans to train to be able to work in a mentoring role helping other people who have been through major medical or health traumas.
Any other survivors wishing to join the attempt can contact Ingrid on 07702 265238.