A mother who claims to have received the heart of a dead soldier developed strange cravings for beer and could not shift the smell of damp socks. Sheron Williamson’s daughter watched her ‘die’ in hospital when her heart stopped and her monitor flatlined. But medics brought her back.
Doctors warned she would die within two weeks without a new heart.
Four days later, she received one, believed to have been from a soldier who died from injuries sustained in the Iraq War.
But when Ms Williamson, who now lives in Solihull, awoke from the operation, she started to experience strange, unexplained symptoms. The 50-year-old believes the bizarre side-effects, which haunted her for around a year, were down to ‘wearing somebody else’s heart’.
Ms Williamson told the Sunday Mercury how she suddenly became ill after a run, and managed to get herself to hospital just in time.
‘I had just been for a 10-mile run around Edgbaston Reservoir and was walking back to my car when I started to feel unwell,’ she said.
‘My legs were shaking, and I started to vomit. I took myself to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. ‘I’d been there around six times recently, but they kept reassuring me I was fit and healthy. ‘On this particular morning it was different. They told me I had just 12 days to live.’
Almost as soon as she had woken up from the life-changing operation, carried out by Professor Robert Bonser, she started to experience strange symptoms.
‘When I woke up, there were wires all coming out of me – and all I could smell was wet woolly socks.
‘Apparently. I was screaming that I wanted a beer. It’s all I kept saying. ‘Eventually, a member of my family was able to bring me a can of beer into the ward, and I just spat it out.
‘Who knows, but perhaps it was because I was wearing a soldier’s heart that I was getting his cravings. ‘All I could smell was those socks for about a year, but thankfully it’s faded now.’
The gift of the donor family had saved Ms Williamson’s life, meaning that she can now see her teenage daughter grow up.
Her daughter Sheroni is in her final year at university, studying nursing. She wants to specialise in cardiac care.