'My boat capsized in Tesco'

16 October 2013        

Category: Survival and support

John Gill

Last year, John Gill had a cardiac arrest in a supermarket.

He owes his life to a fellow shopper who stepped in and carried out vital Hands-only CPR to the beat of Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees.

To mark today's European Restart a Heart Day, we’ve published the poem John wrote about his life-changing experience.

I felt all at sea.
I was on my beam ends,
Oars thrashing in thin air
My boat capsized in Tesco.
I could have been lost forever,
Adrift in the swirling brine
Of mulligatawny and curry paste.
There was no warning clang,
No clamour from a bobbing bell buoy.
The sea thundered in my ears
And closed above my head
But I was hauled up
In a flotsam of dried goods.
Dragged up from the depths
By a passing salt with strong hands
And a beard of polished iron wire.
Lighthouse flashing blue,
Beacons lit along the coast.
Tossed back into rough water.
The mariners in their sea green
Threw me coils of mooring lines.
Bobbing in and out of consciousness
'Will the owner of car'....
The Gulf Stream is cold today.
Storms brewing in Finisterre,
Shannon, Rockall, Irish Sea.
What a day to go for a swim.
We had to leave the carefully chosen
Contents of the trolley
When the wind was knocked out of my sails
And my wife said my face
Turned to purple slate and my eyes
Stared up through deep water.
Shingle rattled in my lungs
The last tot of rum lay wasted on my lips
And in my head a confusion of gulls
Wheeling and dealing.
Well, I'm on the beach again
All ship shape and watertight.
Waves juggling shards of sunlight,
A jubilation of gulls
Light as tissue paper on the breeze,
Don't need to write ' Wish I was here',
I'm just waiting to buy a cup of tea
For the man with the beard
Who has strong hands
And knows all the words to
'Stayin' Alive'.

Watch John tell his story