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Monday, 10 August 2020

Heart Attack


Twelve weeks ago today.

A day like any other.

We woke to the early morning light streaming through the blinds.
Nass put the kettle on and walked down the garden with Elsa.

As he always does.
We had plans for the day.
I would walk Elsa at Slindon and start work on bamboo tables.
Nass would be going to the shop.

A day like any other.

I worked on business emails on my tablet.
Propped up in bed, occasionally gazing across the field opposite.
Elsa joined me, idly watching the horses grazing outside our window.

A day like any other.

Nass brought me coffee.
As he always does.
I laugh and say he wants to keep me upstairs.
He can watch the early news programmes in peace.
Channel hop as much as he likes.

A day like any other.

Only it wasn't........

" I  don't feel so good. "

Not like him at all.
He never comments on how he is feeling.
His MS is a pain in the backside.
But he never moans.

So I took notice.
" What's up?"
" I've got a pain in my shoulder and my arm hurts. "
"Nass, that sounds like the heart. We need to get that checked. "
"Nah. It's probably just the way I slept. "

And he went downstairs.

Seconds later, I hadn't even picked up the cup, I heard the crash.
Running down calling his name, I knew something was very wrong.

But I wasn't prepared for what I saw.

Nass lying on the floor.
Completely still.
On his side.
Changing colour.

I tried to roll him.
Old nurse training kicking in.
Think, think.


He was too heavy for me.

I grabbed the phone.
"Is the patient responding?"

If I answer all these questions he will be dead.

Running next door I hammered on the letterbox.
No answer.

Ran back inside.

Tried to turn Nass.

No, can't do it.

Shouted through next door's letterbox.

They had heard the crash and were pulling on clothes.

In spite of self-isolating, Theo ran in.

He performed CPR.

I cleared the airway and did mouth to mouth.
In between, I whispered,

"Come back to us Nass, come back."

Elsa watched from a distance with wide, terrified eyes.

She adores Nass.

The ambulance arrived quickly.

They said we were lucky, they were only up the road at Crossbush.

The team took over.





One said
" Who owns the horses in the field opposite?"
" There is a number to phone on the gate."

Arundel stables were over, moving their horses in minutes.

Thank goodness for the field.

Where else could you land a helicopter in Arundel....
......unless you're the Duke?

Nass was put on a trolley and out into the road.
The team made their final checks.

They were so calm.

Used to it.

They wheeled Nass along the road, into the field and onto the Air Ambulance.

Isn't it the strangest thoughts you have during life's scariest moments?
"Nass will love the drama of it all."

The team were discussing.

"Brighton or Portsmouth?"

The helicopter lifted off and took him to Portsmouth hospital.

One minute nearer. Time was crucial.

I heard afterwards about the little girl down our road.

She adores Nass and he, her.

She waved up at the helicopter from her back garden saying to Mummy and Daddy,

" I'm sending all my love up to Nass in that helicopter. 
Don't any of you ask for any love today as I won't have any more to give. "

My neighbour Lisa drove me to Portsmouth.
She even thought of bringing us a coffee each to drink in the car.

Arriving at the hospital now is not like it's ever been.
You can't get in easily.
Difficult to park.
It's mostly staff parking.

The security guard said we could park in the police bay.

We spoke to the doctor.
I wouldn't have remembered a word.
Thank goodness for a sensible friend.

I spent two days answering texts, phone calls and messages.

All three phones going at once
Mine, Nass's and the house.

The devastated family in Iran were trying for video calls at 5 am, forgetting the time difference.
Calling day and night, I didn't know how to explain.
Their English is ok for brief chats.
My farcie only good enough to say simple phrases like
"Where is the toilet?" 
And " I'm starving, what's for dinner?"

Thank goodness for Google translate and our Iranian friend who was at Slindon College with Nass.

Affectionately known as Sandbag he took over family communications. 
Then he was the one being woken early.

Elsa trawled the house looking for Nass.

After two days, as things quietened down, the realisation hit.
" He almost died..... he still might."

People left flowers on the doorstep.
Handed food over the fence.

Walked in the hills with Elsa and me, 
listening while I went over and over the event.

People are amazing.

Even during this time of lockdown they still pour out to friends in crisis.

Nass was put on a ventilator.
Of course, I never saw him, impossible in these covid days.

He's such a fighter.
MS hasn't been a walk in the park..but...shortly after diagnosis, Nass ran the Brighton marathon for the Chestnut Tree Children's Hospice.

and the Arundel 10k

In aid of Brain Tumour Charity and for a little girl in the US.

Neice of one of our US trade clients, Caty Ross had touched both our hearts.
In and out of hospital since birth, Nass wanted to raise money to give her a treat.
And raise it he did.
A lot.

Then when he felt he couldn't run as his legs were playing up......what did he do?
He bought a bike and did the London to Brighton bike ride.
56 miles.

For the British Heart Foundation. 

He had never cycled in his life.

But this.....
I thought we had lost him for sure.
He won't beat this.

Two days after his arrival in Portsmouth hospital they took him off the ventilator. 
I was on the other end of the phone.

Christian the nurse said 
" Nass, Brennie sends her love."
" Christian, what's he saying?"
" He's smiling."

Elsa was jumping around and barking at the sound of Nass's name.
Christian said
" What's her name?"
" Elsa. Tell him she sends her love."
" He's really smiling now."

As they handed him the phone I was crying with relief. 
I couldn't understand him.

I asked Nass to give the phone back to the nurse.
"Christian what's he saying. Is it the brain or the tube?"

" Its because he has had the tube in his throat. He is saying, "I  want to come home."

That's Nass.

Thank goodness for WhatsApp as I couldn't visit due to Covid. 
I watched as he grew a little stronger by the day.

What I didn't know until Nass came home was his heart had stopped twice more in hospital.

They almost lost him.

Nass was home in time for the final Thursday night NHS clap.

Neighbours hadn't realised he was home.

Well, it was only a week.

They were ecstatic.

The clapping and shouting could be heard all along Fitzalan Road.

Weirdly enough, the 3 horses in the field at the time, stood in a line.

Thanks so much to everyone supporting us.
Especially Arundel and in particular Fitzalan Road.

All the texts, emails and calls.
Sometimes too many to answer individually.

Huge thanks to NHS of course.

Theo, for saving Nass's life.
All those friends who provided food and support.
Sandbag for his immense patience.

All staff on C7 at Portsmouth Hospital.
Ambulance crew 
Friends and neighbours
Air Ambulance 
Arundel stables.

The cardiac team from St Richards Hospital                                                                                                                                                                           

All the kind people who left cards, flowers, wine and homemade cakes and biscuits.

I have never seen so many get-well cards.

As for flowers, I ran out of vases. 

They were in jam jars all over the house.

And apologies to friends I haven't got around to contacting.

The patient is doing well. 

It's hard getting him to take it easy. 

Of course, it is. 

This is Nass we are talking about. 

You will often find him in our antiques warehouse.

If you find him lifting him

Nass's reaction to what happened?

He can often be heard singing, loudly, out of tune, (as usual)




Monday, 13 July 2020

Elsa The Explorer Visits Nore Folly.

Slindon figures strongly in our little family's lives.

Jay, my son, went to Slindon College when he was eleven.

Two years later I was going through a divorce and joined the PTA to give myself something to do.

I wound up dating the young, very handsome, (rather wild) sports teacher, Nass.

I took this photo in our early days.
Had it blown up as big as a poster.

When I collected it from Bonusprint the shop assistant said,
"Gawd, he's nice, my old man wouldn't let me 'ave that on my wall!"

It made all that divorce stuff worth it when I was able to say,
" That IS my old man"

Jay was mortified, as you can imagine.
"Don't you dare tell the boys at school."
That's Jay and Mr. Nassarian.

Mr. Nassarian (back right)
Jay (2nd row, 2nd from the right)

Nass had come to school in England from Iran at 10.

I think his parents thought it would calm him down.
( No comment.)
He wound up at Slindon College.
Because of the uprising in Iran and the war with Iraq, he couldn't get home.

In fact, he never returned until he was 30.
Didn't see any of his family for over 20 years.
When he finished his schooling, he had no-where to go.

Slindon is a beautiful village just outside of Arundel

The school kept him on and trained him to teach PE.
One day he was a "boy," the next day he was on the podium taking the register.

He was understandably nervous.
Didn't know how the boys would react.
Fortunately, he was well-liked.
As he called each name a very clear, "here sir," rang out.

He played for Slindon cricket club.

As a 14-year-old, and a good cricketer even then, he marched into their weekly meeting at The Newburgh Arms.
" If you only pick me when you need an extra man I'm not playing for you. You either pick me for the team or I'm out."

He played for the Slindon Village side until he was 50.
(He also played for the Arundel Castle team for many years.)

As a teacher, Nass lived in what was the old Victorian Primary school.
His front door was 15 paces from The Newburgh Arms front door.
(No comment.)

So yes, Slindon. the school and village have been very much part of our lives.
For Nass, it was his family.

The Bignor Walk was a tradition at the end of each term, in both Nass's days as a pupil and Jays.

The Folly was another.

And yes...Nass did eventually get home and was reunited with his family.

But, hey, that's a story for another time.

Here's the Folly Walk.

The Guardian link gives you a route.

that's the folly in the distance.

the scenery is beautiful

yes, Elsa I'm coming

The Folly was built around 1814 to provide work for villagers
 during the depression following the Napoleonic Wars.