In December last year I developed mild food poisoning from under cooked chicken which triggered a severe rare autoimmune condition called Transverse Myelitis leaving me paralysed.
I was admitted to St Richards hospital as I started having problems being able to walk. I quickly deteriorated and within 24 hours I was unable to use my arms or even swallow. I was delirious and drifting in and out of consciousness. At this point the Drs did not know what was happening but they knew they had to do something quickly. I was moved to intensive care, placed on a ventilator and effectively switched off in a coma for 10 days to give myself the best chances of survival and the time to work out what was happening.
What they found was that my immune system had attacked my spinal cord leaving me paralysed from the neck down. On waking me up I showed signs of movement in my arms and feet. I was weaned off the ventilator and feeding tubes. I had wasted significantly and lost all strength in my core. Luckily I moved to Donald Wilson Neuro Rehab centre for the hard work to begin.
Donald Wilson were fantastic. I was given 24 hour nursing care, a private room, daily physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Each mealtime I was winched into a wheelchair and taken to a communal room for meals and to meet the other inmates! Physio started immediately. I could only manage a few minutes at first but with all the attention I showed strong signs of recovery. In just under two months they taught me to sit, eat, speak clearly, transfer to wheelchairs by myself, stand brushing my teeth, get into cars from a wheelchair and greatest of all to be able to walk again.
Your window of opportunity for greatest recovery is within the first 3 months. Donald Wilson gave me the best shot at achieving my best outcome. Although I haven't made a full recovery and still have a lot of issues, I have everything to thank Donald Wilson for as I have recovered my mobility and a near normal quality of life.
Donald Wilson are not fully funded and rely on donations for equipment. I would like to say thank you and raise money by completing the Goodwood motor racing circuit 5k run for them. It's on 8th December, next door to the hospital and a year on from my illness, It may not sound far but it's a miracle that I can even attempt this.
(My intensive care bed)
(Stand aid which strapped me up standing which helps you get accustomed to being upright)
(Getting in the parallel bars]
(Getting walking again)