Suddenly I felt this incredible pain, an intense aching pain all the way down my left arm. There was nowhere I could put my arm to relieve the feeling. The pain in my chest was like, it´s so hard to explain, it was like a ten tonne weight pressing down on me. I thought, This is crazy' and then I started to feel rather clammy. I said to my doctor, What's happening to me?' She said, Martyn, sit down, you're having a heart attack'. She called for an ambulance straight away. The pain just got worse and worse. She took my jacket and shirt off and laid me on her examining table and started to give me oxygen. The pain kept increasing, but the ambulance still hadn't arrived. As far as I was concerned I was dying. Dr McGeachy started to give me morphine saying that she had to find a way to calm my heart down. The practice nurse was stood on the other side of me holding my hand. I found myself thinking three things: I was worrying about holding up the other patients who had appointments, why wasn't the ambulance arriving, and where was my jacket because my wallet was in my pocket!
Started to shake
The perspiration was pouring off me. My entire body started to shake and I went into shock. I remember thinking, I have to tell someone what's happening and it was then that I asked for my phone and I managed to call Janine, who was my wife for twenty years, although we are now divorced. I told her what was happening and that was it, I felt like and thought I was dying.
The ambulance took an hour to arrive. It was a very long hour.
When they finally got to me the paramedics told me that I had a blockage in my main artery and that they had to get me to a hospital very urgently. They told me that they were taking me to Basildon Cardiac which is the best in the country, that was good news. The bad news was that it was an hour's drive away. So they arranged for us to be met by the air ambulance in a field somewhere. There was the problem of transferring me from the ambulance to the helicopter, and I told them that I would walk. By this time my jacket, my waistcoat and my shirt were in a black plastic bag. I said, I'm having that', and made sure it came with me as my wallet was in there as well! When I arrived at the hospital I was taken straight into theatre, there was a team standing by waiting for me. The surgeon told me that they would have to cut my trousers off and I said, pointing to the bag with my things in, To hell you will they're part of that suit!' They went in through my wrist. I was awake throughout the whole operation. I could hear what sounded like wires unravelling, I could hear him working and instructing the rest of the team what he wanted them to do. It took about forty five minutes to find the blockage and then put a stent into my artery. And all of the time I watched that black plastic bag on the table! They wheeled me into the ward. Janine had found where I was and she was there to meet me. Then a lady arrived who asked me, What would you like to eat?' I said, What have you got?' had a look at the menu and chose a chicken korma. All of this had kicked off at eleven in the morning and there I was at three in the afternoon sitting up in bed eating a curry. ....it's God
Whilst I was eating a guy came in and asked me how I was feeling. I said I felt incredibly well considering. He told me that I had had a major heart attack and that there was a very high level of adrenaline running through my body and that when that had calmed down I would understand the seriousness of what had happened. Then I realised that this man was the surgeon who had just operated on me, I asked him What's your name?' he replied, Doctor Tang', I said, No, no, you're wrong. What's your name?' Dr Tang' he replied, and I said, No, that's not your name . . . it's God.' He nodded as he understood what I was getting at: the skill and speed that he and his team had worked at were amazing. Twenty years ago I would have had open heart surgery. Because they do keyhole surgery these days you don't grasp the fact of how dangerous it is. He told me the reason I was still alive was the fact that I work out every day, if I hadn't been fit then I would not have got through the attack.
Apparently a blockage in your artery is normally a piece of calcium or fatty tissue, but I've been joking, telling people that mine was either an albondiga or a salt beef sandwich. I cannot thank my own doctor or the team at the hospital enough. I received incredible care from them. I'll never forget. It was my birthday on Friday I felt pretty lucky to be honest.