Personal Stories: Ken Sexton



My name is Ken Sexton, I'm 57,married to Angela for 35 years and have 2 beautiful daughters aged 30 & 27. I live in Radcliff near Manchester in England. I am a keen squash player and a qualified gymnastics coach.

On 6 February 2005 I was walking my dog in the fields behind my home when I started to get a tingling in my legs and an ache in my chest. The sensation in my legs became worse and they would no longer support me. Fortunately I had met a couple of other dog walker friends and they came to my aid. Peter immediately rang my wife on his mobile and then the emergency services. Angela rang other friends and suddenly there were numbers of people looking after me. The paramedics arrived within about 10 minutes closely followed by an ambulance. They quickly managed to find a way of getting me from the fields to the ambulance with the help of a lot of friends. This was about 2.00pm on Sunday 6 February 2005.

My next memory was of somebody asking me to squeeze his hand. I now know that it was Eddie McLaughlin the consultant who performed the operation which saved my life.

The date was now Thursday 10 February 2005 and I had lost 4 days!

During those 4 days I had an 8 hour operation to repair an ascending aortic dissection. The volume of leakage meant they had to pack my chest which could not be closed for a further 24 hours. I have absolutely no memory of any of these events although all my family and friends cannot speak highly enough of Mr. McLaughlin and his team, especially the intensive care team.

I have since had a lot of the detail filled in, the lows of being given less than a 50% chance of survival to the highs of recognizing my wonderful wife and daughters for the first time and not understanding why they were so concerned about my condition.

I had no understanding of the seriousness of the situation nor the potential effect on the rest of my life. I thought I would be playing squash again in 2 or 3 months and back coaching at the same time. I now know of course that it may take just a little longer!

There are some flashbacks coming back to me, especially the nightmares and feelings of persecution due to the drugs, however the support of my family and very good friends are allowing me to view it all in a very positive light. I don't know what the future holds but I do know that I have the best family and friends in the world!

I think my experience can be summed up as being very fortunate that I had friends who took control, a wonderful succession of doctors at both Bolton and Manchester who diagnosed the condition so quickly and an intensive care team who took as much care of my family as they did of me. Many people criticize the Health Service in the UK, but when called into action I received the best attention possible from the best people.

I am now 1 month into my rehab and am taking short walks and progressing well. My daughter gets married on 8 July and I am well on track to ensure I walk her down the aisle!

Kind regards

Ken Sexton
Phone: 206-550-7957
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