This odd looking device is a tracheotomy, or “trachy”. The pipe portion of it was in my throat for me to breathe via. Note the inflatable cuff, designed to give the trachy a snug fit inside my wind-pipe. Sadly I would later pull this out of my neck due to a horrible hallucination. The second picture shows the wound healing a few days later. You can also see the stitches from where my ECMO cannula.

Fast asleep January 1st

Fast asleep in my bed on bay C of the ICU at Glenfield Hospital. The day must have been January 1st, because I’ve been removed from the ECMO machine (no tubes full of my blood next to my right ear). Later that day I had an exercise bike connected to the end of my bed by the physio staff. As you’ll read in the book…it didn’t go very well. I was shortly moved from this location to bay B to continue my recovery.

My Scar

These are the stitches placed in my neck to close up the incision made for the ECMO cannula. The thread was made of tough stuff, and Dr Porter even wrote on the dressing when said stitches should be removed. I was back at my local hospital for their removal. I’d never had stitches removed before, so the first time was from a main vein in my neck. To say I was worried would be an understatement. I had visions of seeing my blood spurting everywhere. But of course, it didn’t. I’m now left with a neat scar in its place. I call it my ECMO badge.

December 21st

The text message conversation with my wife whereby I informed her of my impending trip to the hospital. You can see my misspelling of certain words due to my cognitive ability getting worse. The words “love to” at the end are significant in the book, so I don’t want to spoil it for you. It still makes me shake my head that I thought I could “stall” the ambulance crew until Tow arrived.

To the Dark and Back….on sale now

This website and blog have been created to support the publication of my book, To the Dark and Back.

On the page you’ll see photographs and other information linked to the amazing treatment and care I received from our NHS. Without their help I wouldn’t be alive today to provide this information.

Links to my book can be found below, and please know that all proceeds will be provided to the charity Heartlink Glenfield to help fund a new ambulance to transport very sick people who have just been put on ECMO themselves.

Paper Back –
Kindle –

“The story detailing the journey taken by Aaron Wilkinson with what appeared to begin with nothing more than a cough and common cold. 

The story quickly escalates into a struggle for survival when Aaron became gripped with H1N1 Swine Flu, double pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Following the eventual diagnosis, the race was on for Aaron to be accepted into the care of Glenfield Hospital, a specialist unit located over 100 miles away from his home. Here, an amazing but widely unknown form of life support known as ECMO became Aaron’s last line of defence and only hope of survival.

The story explains every step taken to preserve Aaron’s life and to provide his waiting wife, family and friends a glimmer of hope that, with the expertise of medical professionals, he will defy the odds and make a complete recovery. 

The story continues by explaining vivid and horrific tales of dreams and hallucinations caused by strong medication, coupled with the natural fight or flight instinct of the human mind. Hallucination scenarios include a violent kidnapping, withholding of medication, attempted murder, torture and a hospital breakout orchestrated by armed Police and a secret subsection of the British Special Forces.

Survival was no way guaranteed, but thankfully Aaron’s life was in the hands of the best in the NHS.”

First day on ECMO, fully intubated and on a ventilator.