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‘I thought the doctors and nurses were trying to kill me’

December 2021

The vivid dreams Aaron Wilkinson experienced when he received ECMO treatment come back to him every time he puts on his trainers to chip away at his 1,000 mile target to fundraise for Glenfield Hospital.

38-year-old Aaron credits the ECMO team with saving his life when he became ill following a bout of swine flu and double pneumonia back in the winter of 2018.

Now, he wants to thank them by raising £1,000 while at the same time, improving his own health and lifestyle after he says he was given a ‘second chance’ at life.

Aaron Wilkinson
Aaron Wilkinson

Reflecting on his time on the unit – there is one standout memory for him.

“It sounds weird to say out loud but I really thought the staff were trying to kill me.

“The dreams I had while I was in a coma were so vivid and real that I believed them when I came around, before I could even talk I wrote on an iPad to my wife that there was a conspiracy and I’d been kidnapped and the doctors wanted to harm me.

“I now know that it’s not uncommon for people in my situation to experience those dreams, but at the time it was very weird.

“I’ve since written them all down and published them in a book – it’s fascinating.”

After feeling unwell over the Christmas of 2018, Aaron visited his GP, from there he was blue lighted to his local hospital - Hull Royal Infirmary – not long later he was on the ECMO list.

“They call it the last roll of the dice, I’m so lucky I was found a bed at Glenfield Hospital, if I hadn’t have been I would have died.

“I have a one-year-old now she, and my wife and family, make me realise just how lucky I was.

After spending almost three weeks on ECMO - including being in a coma for Christmas and New Year - Aaron spent a further few days in the ICU at Glenfield, before going back to Hull to continue his recovery.

His experience, and the anxiety he felt when COVID pandemic began, encouraged him to take on his charity challenge.

“I always said I wanted to do something to thank the staff at Glenfield Hospital so I decided to combine it with something that will make me healthier.

“When I fell ill I was overweight and on the verge of being diagnosed with Diabetes – being so poorly was a wakeup call so I started walking and gradually built up my fitness by doing Couch to 5k, I started eating healthier too.

“When it came to setting myself a fundraising challenge raising £1,000 while walking/running 1,000 miles seemed the right thing to do.”

Since starting in August, Aaron has managed just shy of 300 miles so far and has collected £740 in sponsorship.

“I know £1,000 is nowhere near enough to buy one of the machines that saved me but hopefully it can be used to show the staff how grateful I am.”

To sponsor Aaron visit Fundraiser by Aaron Wilkinson : Helping the Adult ICU at Glenfield Hospital (gofundme.com)

Contact communications@uhl-tr.nhs.uk for more information