By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Every Beat of My Heart
By Jeff Waters (ABC Books, $29.99, softcover, 264 pages)
After a heart attack two years ago that left him dead for 56 minutes, Jeff Waters has written a life-affirming memoir that is a profoundly private elucidation of a near-death experience.
His journey back from ‘death by cardiac arrest to complete recovery’ makes for a frankly moving biography of his many psychological and physical trials.
Late one hot and sultry evening, Waters woke up in his Melbourne home after feeling pain in his left arm and chest. Casually, he mentioned it to his wife, Fiona, who became alarmed and called an ambulance.
Seconds later, ‘a dark curtain’ fell and he was ‘dead’.
It wouldn’t be erroneous to say that reporter Jeff Waters displayed amazing prudence in marrying a GP … Fiona had administered “perfect CPR”.
He investigates his own frightening post-traumatic stress that highlights current medical science. “…I lay on our bedroom floor, apparently beyond saving. I would say it was undignified, lying there on the floor and being repeatedly shocked with high voltage, but how dignified can death ever be?”
Waters was ‘clinically dead’. Due to the failure of his heart, he had suffered a fatal loss of blood pressure.
He writes: “it was all the fault of a piece of crusted sludge, most likely less than a millimetre deep” which had lodged in one of the largest blood expressways in the heart and had built up over time. The “crust” had split and the “goo inside spewed forth to block the tiny pipe”.
Initially, Waters had not shared Fiona’s anxiety: he was only 43 years old, wasn’t overweight, had a healthy diet, wasn’t a diabetic and swam regularly.
Now he has a different outlook on life.
Every Beat of My Heart elaborates on how he “survived the actual death experience of the heart attack” and went on to recover and learn from a petrifying ordeal.
Edition 320, 3 July 2012
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.