One of the last things on Chaikel Muksin’s mind a month before he turned 28 years old was heart disease.
He can’t recall anything from his medical event… all he can remember is waking up in Westmead Hospital one month later.
Chaikel suffered an active heart attack in early March and was rushed to Westmead by ambulance.
Investigations found that this was a result of a blockage to the artery in Chaikel’s heart which can be caused by a range of factors including age, weight, lifestyle or genetics.
Now, after months of life-saving treatment and rehabilitation, Westmead’s health heroes lined the halls to wave farewell to their miracle patient.
“I never could have imagined leaving hospital standing on my own two feet,” Chaikel said.
“I remember waking up in the middle of the night, not being able to talk because there was a breathing tube in my throat.
“I knew from the stark white walls and beeping machines that something bad had happened.”
Chaikel was initially in Westmead’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where he was on an ECMO – Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation – machine to ensure his organs didn’t fail.
After a month in the ICU, he was transferred to the cardiology ward where his treatment and rehabilitation continued.
Westmead Hospital’s nursing staff recall they weren’t sure if Chaikel would pull through, considering the impact the heart attack had on his body.
Cardiology Nursing Unit Manager Robbie Cruceanu said that 80 per cent of patients on ECMO pass away from further complications.
“Chaikel was in a bad way. He had internal bleeding, infections, a breathing tube and was bed-bound for well over a month. We knew the extent of his physical health but not the neurological impact,” Robbie reflected.
“However, when he came up to cardiology we started to see little glimpses of hope.
It was in those moments we thought, ‘Okay, this young patient might make it.’”
Chaikel started his rehabilitation at Westmead to learn how to walk again.
At first, he could only walk with assistance but this week – two months after arriving at Westmead – he stood on his own two feet, striding out of the ward with confidence.
“Chaikel has made immense progress in a short amount of time, and although we will miss his bright personality, we are all so happy for him,” Robbie said.
“He is going to a rehabilitation hospital where they will continue working on his physical and neurological health.”
Despite all he has been through in the last couple of months, Chaikel hasn’t stopped smiling,
“I’m a very active person, so when I couldn’t walk or talk, I was sad… but then I remembered I was alive,” Chaikel said.
“Little moments like these have made me appreciate life. I feel like I have been reborn, and I am not going to waste my second chance!”