Growing up I was always the small kid. I had asthma, a heart murmulr and I was anaemic. Those things aren’t exactly conducive to being an excellent athlete. I never really thought about it much until the past couple of years, but I’ll get to that later. I didn’t let my lack of athleticism get to me, I still played football with my friends every night until I was about 15 and then took up skateboarding and rollerblading. It was around that time I started hanging out with the stoner crowd.
A couple of years later I was smoking weed and cigarettes all day everyday. I never had the healthiest of diets either. Sausages, burgers, chips, pies, egg sandwiches and biscuits of any kind were pretty much all I ever ate. This went on for a number of years until I was about 25 at which point I started to try other foods. I still ate terribly but I’d at least started to try other foods.
A month after I turned 27 everything changed. I woke up on March 22nd 2014 and didn’t notice a thing. I got up, went to the toilet then went back to bed where I chilled for a bit to browse Facebook for a while (I was working nights in a bar so didn’t have much to do until later). When I went to get up the second time to go out back to smoke, I noticed a sharp pain in my back. It felt like I had pulled a muscle so I called my mother and said I would call NHS 24 and ask what to do as it was really painful. Then I just carried on outside for a smoke thinking I would have time for a quick one before calling. As soon as I inhaled and the smoke hit my lung I knew something was wrong. I hurried back inside as quick as I could. By the time I’d made it back in I couldn’t take more than 25% of a breath in without being in excruciating pain. I thought I was having a heart attack. I called out for my brother in between breaths “Kyle…..phone…..now”. I was unable to say more and could hardly breath at all but my brother Kyle who was upstairs at the time knew instantly what I was trying to say, I need a phone for an ambulance. He was scared and handed me the phone, he probably could have called for me but for some reason I wanted to do it myself, until mum walked in the door and I handed her the phone and said “ambulance”. She had sensed something was up after getting off the phone and head straight home. By this point I was bent over struggling to breathe and my head was starting to pound and go a bit dizzy, probably with panicking so much. On the phone the woman who answered the 999 call was saying I should take paracetamol. I knew we didn’t have any so I went to ask the neighbour. It’s funny looking back, I could hardly breathe and thought I was going to die but I couldn’t sit still, it was like I thought to myself “if you stop and sit down you’ll die, save yourself”. I knocked on the neighbours door but no one answered. I went back in my own house and sat down bent doubled trying to get a breath. I remember thinking “mum and Kyle have been through a lot, don’t die!”. That went through my head over and over. A lot of it is a blur and I think I remember wanting to sit on the front door step because I was worried the ambulance driver would miss our door without there being a number on it. By the time the ambulance got there I was sweating and panicking even more. They asked all the questions to see if I was having a heart attack and this made me worse.
Eventually they put me in the back of the ambulance and off we went to hospital. They kept saying I would be fine and that they weren’t sure what was wrong. They were both great and I couldn’t have hoped for a better pair to be the first responders, looking back I realise that they knew what had happened but weren’t telling me as they saw how panicked I was already. They listened to my chest and must have heard that one lung was working and the other wasn’t.