On the 28th December 2007, Kendall Eade suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at home in front of her two young sons. Here she tells her story.
“I was at home with my two sons, then aged 6 & 7 when I had my sudden cardiac arrest . I was 35 years old, reasonably fit and healthy, slim, non smoker, didn’t drink much. I can’t remember anything of my event, or the weeks leading up to it other than I was walking and suddenly fell face down – there was no pain and no warning signs. My boys thought I was playing a joke on them and tried, unsuccessfully, to wake me up. As I was unresponsive, Cullen (7 year old) rang my Dad who told him to call 111 (NZ emergency services number) which he did. Paramedics and the fire service arrived together 6 minutes later (according to ambulance records). They worked on resuscitating me for 40 minutes and during that time I was shocked 5 times. They considered pronouncing me dead after 20 minutes but continued because of the boys and it being just after Christmas. They were not hopeful of a good result. By the time I was taken to the hospital there were slight signs of hope I was breathing about 5 breaths a minute. Once at the hospital I was given hyperthermic treatment for 24 hours (a process of cooling the patients core body temperature to help reduce injury to the bodies organs following cardiac arrest). My family were told not to get their hopes up and during that time they received a phone call preparing them for the worst. Even if I did pull through they expected I would suffer brain damage.
My first memory is waking in hospital thinking “if that’s what it’s like to die, it’s not that bad”. Obviously I had been awake prior to know what had happened but I have no recollection of it. I don’t remember much of my time in hospital but my family and friends were very amused by me. About 5 days after arriving Dad said I demanded to see a doctor because I hadn’t seen one since arriving! My cousin had visited me from Auckland, every time he came into the room, I would be so excited to see him for the first time. He’d leave and come straight back in and I would be so excited to see him for the first time all over again!
Once I was more stable, I was flown to Auckland Hospital (from Wellington) to get my ICD implanted. Another hazy memory, except it was very painful for a long time afterwards.
I had my ICD for 4 years before it fired for the first time (and 2nd a minute or so later). It was a very scary time but I had overdone it mowing the lawns on a hot day so at least I had a reason for it. Unfortunately it meant 6 months without being able to drive, but better that than the alternative.
In June this year I went for my regular ICD check and was told I had had a cardiac arrest on 7th May at 1am(while I was sleeping). That really freaked me out, and has been harder to deal with that any of the other episodes.
I can’t think of anything else to add except to say that they still don’t know what caused my cardiac arrest.
It was awful for my kids, they still don’t talk about it, but they were treated as heroes by everyone, they got invited to parliament, appeared in numerous newspaper and TV items and were given certificates from Wellington Free Ambulance, so instead of it being a sad time, it was turned into a bit of an adventure. There is no one person I can thank, cardiac arrest survival is dependent on so many people, I’m just very grateful that they all came together for me.”
Wellington Free Ambulance were instrumental in saving Kendall’s life. It is a partly government funded organisation otherwise dependent on donations. If you would like to make a donation to the Wellington Free Ambulance, please click below.