Suffering a cardiac arrest has tested Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson in a myriad of ways – challenging his memory, confidence and resilient personality.
The traumatic event, which erased two weeks from his memory, also prompted him to re-evaluate his life and consider adopting a more moderate approach to his professional duties.
During his recovery, the commissioner has received support from brain injury charity Head-way Swindon and District, which he has been visiting each week for almost a month to test his cognitive and maths skills and ensure his faculties remain as they always were.
Most importantly the exercises, including Sudoku and crosswords, have allowed him to gradually return to normality.
“It is quite unsettling to have that period of time you don’t remember,” said the 62-year-old.
“I can’t remember my holiday to France. I have no recollection of the day before it happened.
“I’ve got my confidence back. I’m not going to regain the memories I lost but coming here has been about remembering what you could and getting my concentration back.
“It has been about getting back to normal and having the confidence not to worry about what I don’t remember; it’s time to move on.”
“A month ago, I was tired and still desperately trying to remember what the doctor’s name was but now I’m concentrating on remembering things that matter and it’s falling into shape over time.
“Headway is an entirely safe place to challenge what you know. We support each other in group work. There is peer support.”
Two days after returning from a holiday in Paris, Angus was attending a function in Trowbridge on May 30 when he collapsed. He was taken to hospital in Bath.
He had a pacemaker fitted at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital.
While rest was what the doctor ordered – something Angus has attempted to live by – he will be fully back as police commissioner by September.
He said: “I’m being phased back into work. I do two half days at the moment but I’m expecting to be back fully by September. But I’ve got to accept that there is a work-life balance that requires me to work less.
“We will define it as maybe 30 hours a week rather than 60 hours as before..
“A lot of the work has been testing the role and the putting in place office structures. The whole thing was new. It’s a difficult job. The personnel in the office have meant it has continued to work.
“Obviously major decisions can’t be made without me there, but I was not absent long enough for it to affect anything.”