It's just business as usual for 46-year-old Greenmeadows man Jamie Parker who simply shrugged off the fact that he died twice after his heart stopped.

There was no shining light or gates of white when it happened - he just thought he was asleep.

In 2006, Parker was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, otherwise known as an enlarged heart. He went for regular check-ups since his diagnoses, but never made the criteria for a resynchronisation device to regulate his heart.

His condition never affected his work or daily life, at least not until July 2 this year.


It was just another Monday for Parker, who installs and maintains about 100 vending machines across Hawke's Bay.

He was at a packaging company outside Hastings in the afternoon when his world was turned upside down.

"I woke up in the morning feeling fine, went to work and basically just collapsed," he said.

He has no recollection of what happened before he died for close to an hour, with staff, paramedics and firefighters working tirelessly to bring him back to life.

"There were no warning signs before it happened, I didn't clutch my chest or anything - I just went down - boom.

"A guy saw me collapse and he went straight away to get the first aider, I was put in the recovery position, I had blood coming out of my nose, I had bitten my tongue on the way down and landed on a concrete floor."

Parker was out for 50 minutes with company staff performing CPR before firefighters and paramedics took over.

Staff member Simon Nelson was the first person to perform CPR on Parker and worked on him for 15 minutes.

"Although I did the CPR and applied the defibrillator for that period of time, there were a lot of other people doing things. There was a guy beside me phoning the medic, there were people outside clearing the way for the ambulance to make sure they had access. It was a real team effort," he said.

Once revived, Parker was taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital and was placed in an induced coma to protect his brain from over-stimulating.

"Apparently I looked like a car crash victim before I left the scene, I had 12 broken ribs from all the compressions and a fractured sternum.

"I died again in ICU and it took them about four minutes to revive me."

Parker said he didn't sustain any brain damage despite brushing death twice.

"When I first came out of hospital my short-term memory was pretty bad, but it's absolutely fine now."

It wasn't all smooth sailing for Parker's five-week stay in hospital as the high dosage of medication caused him to suffer from delusions.

At one point he was convinced that he was the victim of an organ harvest and attempted a great escape.

"I had been in bed for nearly two weeks at this stage, lost a lot of muscle mass - so pretty much skin and bone - got out of bed, went straight down and collapsed on the floor, so I got back into bed again.

"Later on I ripped out the nasal tube and the catheter, got out of the ward somehow, ran down the corridor - and I know the hospital quite well because I install the vending machines there - and end up in the orderlies office.

"I was convinced they were harvesting me for body parts. Security was there, ICU were there, nurses were there - all telling me to get back into bed, which I did eventually.

"The nurses and the doctors were wonderful, they did an amazing job. Angels."

Parker now has a resynchronisation device in his heart or what he calls the "Rolls Royce of pacemakers" to regulate his heart.

"In terms of my heart condition there really was no warning, I'm a bit of an anomaly, I've got heaps of energy, I don't shut up, I'm pretty full-on and then one day I just collapse."

"I've got the device now and I only had to die twice to get it, but that's fine, I'm still here."

Parker hosted a thank you party at his home during the weekend for those who aided him during his collapse.