Heart attack meant I died for 'more than 10 minutes', says mum-of-one
PUBLISHED: 19:06 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:17 21 August 2019
At the age of 40, Lou Montgomery was a busy, fun-filled mother-of-one who loved meeting friends and completing her favourite puzzle, the Rubik's Cube.
But, after months of an undiagnosed illness in 2019 the Ipswich local, who had suffered with diabetes since the age of 18, took a unexpected turn for the worse.
After being rushed to the Claydon Ward at Ipswich Hospital, which specialises in cardiology, with a suspected diabetes-related illness, health workers ended up fighting to save her life after heart scans and tests showed that she had been suffering from 'silent heart attacks' for more than two months.
"Lou had been feeling unwell since the start of the year but was still full of energy," said, Lou's full-time carer Paula Nurse, 39.
"She started complaining of having pain in her hand so I took her to the doctors.
"All of the staff were waiting for us when we got there and she was put on a bed, but within a couple of minutes they realised it was serious.
"I remember the nurse putting a ECG on her, unplugging it, restarting it and even punching it a few times because they didn't believe what it was saying.
"They started working on her straight away. It was the worst hour and a half of my life.
"I could hear the doctors saying: 'We are losing her.' I just crumpled to the ground."
Lou was rushed into emergency surgery.
At one point her heart was only functioning at 20% of its full capacity and her kidneys at only 11%, such was the damage caused by the small cardiac arrests which had gone undetected because symptoms relating to diabetes meant that her nerve endings had been 'fried'.
Despite appearing her normal self making everyone laugh, Lou had another, more severe cardiac arrest just a week later.
"It was so, so scary," said Paula. "They started doing CPR and used a defibrillator. She died for over 10 minutes.
"They blue lighted her to Papworth Hospital, where she went for another emergency surgery and stayed for 11 days."
The mother-of-one has now improved, allowing her to go home under the care of Paula. However she is still unable to do day-to-day tasks, taking 16 tablets a day.
She has bad days but still sits on her bed, which has been moved to the living room of her Ipswich house, laughing and playing with her dog Max.
Lou said: "I can't really think about it too much. The people around me keep me distracted.
"It's simple, I'd be dead if it wasn't for Paula.
"She spends all her time looking after me and she doesn't have to. She just does it because she does it.
"I have an amazing group of friends as well. It's a small but amazing group of people.
"It doesn't matter if I'm asleep or tired, they will still sit around me and keep me company.
"I always want to see them because I never know if it is the last time I will."
Following the difficult two months, Lou and her carer Paula want to say thank you to the "absolutely amazing" staff at both Ipswich Hospital and Papworth Hospital.
To show their gratitude, they are organising a psychic medium event at Manor Ballroom in Margaret's Green, Ipswich with all the money raised going to the doctors and nurses at the Claydon Ward at Ipswich Hospital.
"They were all absolutely amazing," Paula said.
"You only hear the negative things about the NHS but we want people to know how fantastic everybody was.
"We don't want anything for us, we just want to thank them and if I could write them a cheque I would. But there isn't a cheque big enough.
"They gave us Lou's life so we want to give them what we can and that's why we organised the event. They are heroes."
Tickets for the event, which will take place at 6.30pm on October 5, will cost £10.
There will be a psychic performance from Stephanie Carr before a raffle with some exciting prizes.
Anyone who would like to donate a prize for the raffle should contact here.