Heartbeat

"Just a heart-beat away..."
(Adlai Stevenson: New York Times)

In September 1990, at the age of 36, I suffered a heart attack, followed by two more, resulting in heart surgery in January 1993. In 1995, my heart condition deteriorated further and reluctantly, I had to retire in December of that year.

Throughout my years with St. Thomas', I was fascinated by the iron lung. I collected as much information about the history of its development and uses as I could find. By chance, in my last few months at St.Thomas', I heard about an annual competition run by the Special Trustees of Guy's Hospital - 'The Lord Brock Memorial Historical Essay Prize'. Thinking little of my chances against learned medics, I decided it would be a challenge I would enjoy. I researched, wrote and entered an essay on the history of the British Iron Lung from 1832 to 1995. To my suprise, I won joint first prize. This was the point I realised that maybe, despite having to retire, I could earn money from writing.