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16 September 2016

Simon’s Experience of Life-Saving Treatment at the Bristol Heart Institute

outside BHISimon's story

At the age of 40, no-one expects to be struck down by a heart attack but for Simon Law that's exactly what happened; his whole life was changed in an instant.

Father to five year old Ella, Simon was busy running his distribution company and making time for family life unaware of the pressure he was putting his body under. On the 13th September 2013, whilst having a BBQ with friends he felt an uncomfortable pain in his chest. Thinking it was something he ate he thought nothing of it, had a glass of water and returned to his friends. Moments later, the pain was so severe he was slumped against the kitchen unit and his wife was bundling him into a car bound for A&E.

Throughout the10minute journey, Simon was vomiting, felt dizzy and noticed a shooting pain down his left arm, but he still wasn't convinced it was a heart attack, not at 40.

By the time he reached reception he could hardly talk. After an ECG, staff confirmed the worst and he was immediately taken to Bristol Heart Institute (BHI) and straight into theatre.

"Then came the most efficient process I have ever witnessed" explained Simon. "The medical staff were calm, proficient and talked me through every step of the procedure. Within fifteen minutes my stent was fitted to remedy the blocked artery, a minor procedure which involves a small incision in your wrist, and I was on the Intensive Care Unit."

The long road to recovery

After his stent was fitted he remained in hospital for 10 days. However, instead of taking it easy he continued to work from his hospital bed, in denial about the reality of what had happened.

"Experiencing a critical illness at such a young age was a massive shock to my system.  To feel invincible, as we all do to a degree, and then have your life flash before your eyes is not easy to deal with.  I experienced both denial and resentment in addition to the physical trauma my body had gone through."

To begin with, he pushed away those closest who wanted to help and support him. Once discharged, he even thought he could get home on his own and made it as far as Cabot Circus before having to call a taxi because his body simply couldn't cope. It was only then that Simon realised seriousness of what he had been through and finally sought help.

simon talking

The BHI had recommended Simon get in contact with the Cardiac Rehabilitation Team who would help him on the road to recovery with specific physio and exercises designed to slowly re-build his strength.

"I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I owe my successful recovery and rehabilitation to the Bristol Heart Institute.  In particular the Cardiac Rehabilitation Team who, with limited resources, helped me rehabilitate both physically and mentally. I don't think I would have recovered as quickly as I did otherwise."


The challenge of a life-timein the gym

To mark the third anniversary of his heart attack, Simon is taking on the Bristol Half Marathon on Saturday 25th September; after three years of rehabilitation and training, he is finally at a stage of recovery where his is able to take on such a massive challenge.

"I was always someone who naturally disliked running but it has now become a significant activity in my life and was a vital tool in my recovery process.  I initially set myself a target of running a 10k and used this goal to rehabilitate."

A small way to say thank you

Since his heart attack, Simon has been looking for a way to give something back to the hospitals to say thank you for all the excellent care and support they provided in his time of need. He has decided to specifically fundraise for Bristol Heart Institute through local hospital charity, Above & Beyond.

His target is to raise an impressive £10,000, primarily for the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit which proved vital in Simon's long road to recovery, both mentally and physically. Speaking about the team and his experience at the hospital he commented:









"For me, this team of dedicated individuals with little resource helped me more than they possibly realised.  I owe both my physical and metal rehabilitation to them and would love nothing more than to help them continue to help others like me by fundraising for Above & Beyond."

To support Simon in his marathon effort and help raise funds for Bristol Heart Institute please visit: