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I'm alive thanks to my daughter
8:33am Friday 20th December 2013 in News
“I’m one lucky lady.”
That’s how Romsey’s Cheryl Horton described herself after chance and her daughter’s determination brought her back from the brink of death.
Cheryl, 52, was checking her emails when she suffered a seizure and collapsed.
Normally she would have been alone in her house at Jenner Way but her 20-year-old daughter Jemma Adey was in the next room having delayed her planned trip to the gym.
“I heard a yelp and I thought she’d spilt her coffee,” said Jemma.
When she went to see what was wrong, Jemma found her mother on the floor fitting with froth coming from her mouth.
She rang 999 and described the situation, which rapidly took a turn for the worse.
“Mum made a snoring kind of noise then she stopped breathing,” said Jemma.
The cool-headed ambulance service call handler told Jemma to turn Cheryl onto her back and start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
Jemma admitted that she panicked at first. She couldn’t remember how to turn on the speaker phone and she had to dodge back and forth between her mother and the handset to receive instructions. Finally she got the speaker working and began the lifesaving chest pumps.
“I did panic at first but then I got angry and started shouting ‘You’re not going anywhere Mum!’” said Jemma.
She can’t remember how long she continued CPR before a paramedic arrived.
The paramedic shocked Cheryl with a defibrillator several times but she did not regain consciousness.
As they rushed her to Southampton General Hospital, paramedics continued to work on Cheryl as her heart rate veered up and down erratically.
Cheryl did not come round for two- and-a-half days.
Jemma said it was an agonising period of uncertainty.
“One doctor came in and told me quite bluntly ‘Your mum shouldn’t have made it this far’,” she recalled.
If she did live there was a danger Cheryl may have suffered brain damage caused by oxygen starvation.
“The doctor told me mum might be a different person when she wakes up,” said Jemma.
Fortunately that was not the case and Cheryl is making a full recovery. Although she admits she cannot remember anything of the incident, on November 14, or the week or so running up to it.
“If Jemma hadn’t have found me when she did, I could have died or suffered brain damage because of oxygen starvation. She saved my life.” said Cheryl, who spent more than two weeks in intensive care.
Jemma commented: “The weird thing was I had planned to go off to the gym. If I hadn’t have been lazy and put it off to the afternoon I would have come back to find mum dead.”
Doctors discovered that Cheryl suffers from serious ventricular fibrillation which means her heart can start to flutter rather than pump properly.
She now has a cardioverter-defibrillator implanted just under her skin which can restart her heart should she suffer another attack.
Cheryl, an ex-nurse who now works as an inspector for the Care Quality Commission, said she experienced no chest pains, shortness of breath or other symptoms prior to her seizure.
Ventricular fibrillation is hereditary and Jemma and her brother, Joe, 24, will undergo tests to see if they have the condition.
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