A man claims he saw his own unconscious body while doctors worked on him after his heart stopped twice. Dad-of-two Slav Wojcik had been rushed to hospital after he became suddenly unwell.
It was May 2021 when Slav, a personal trainer, had come home from work only to start feeling shaky and dizzy. Slav, 42, headed to bed, but things only got worse.
He soon started to vomit and his wife phoned for an ambulance. At hospital, doctors said he had severe sepsis.
“I couldn’t stop shaking, it was the shock,” he told the M.E.N. “My bladder, kidney and stomach stopped working. The next thing I was in an isolation room in critical condition plugged into loads of machines – then the fight for my life started.”
Slav’s blood pressure dropped dangerously low and his lungs began to fail. His heart stopped beating twice.
He added: “My blood pressure went so low they had to rescue me and bring me back to life. The first 48 hours are blurry; I had all these flashbacks.
“My heart stopped and started beating again and it happened twice over a few hours. It felt like being in a movie. At one point, I had an experience where I was outside my body and I could see myself on the bed talking to myself. It was like I was coming in and out of different dimensions.
“I would try to listen to what (the doctors) would tell me as much as I could, I kept calm. I made peace with the situation and I was ready. If I died, I achieved so much and lived the life I wanted to.”
After three days in intensive care, Slav’s swollen body began to return to normal, although he was still unable to move. The infection led to heart failure, which caused an irregular heartbeat. It took six weeks for Slav’s heartrate to return to normal – something he describes as the “greatest day” of his life.
“Even lying down, it was constantly fast,” he said. “It was an irregular rhythm; it was horrible. Before that I was very active and very busy, as a personal trainer I used to train 30 hours a week.
“Not being able to move after this busy life would affect me and depress me. I can’t explain it – even when I’m talking about it now, I get goose bumps.
“I was so close to giving up. I had counsellors and people talking to me about PTSD, but nothing worked. One day I thought, ‘OK, that’s enough of the moaning and being sad and depressed. I need to start doing something about it.
“It started with walks, I would go for a 10-minute walk and come back panicked because I didn’t know what would happen the next day or if my heart would hurt. I took it a day at a time.”
Miraculously, Slav, from Stafford, made a recovery and even completed the Manchester Marathon in April. “Manchester Marathon was actually the first marathon event that I had ever done and therefore I wanted to come back to do it again out of sentimentality,” he said.
“It’s possible as long as we want things. We can achieve a lot, not just fitness. It’s the same with everyday life. If you want something, you find a way.”