People with my level of injury don't normally get to go home - Lyn broke every rule in the book to get me back.  I'm sure they kept my hospital bed warm for me but here we are, living a normal life and doing so very successfully.

At first, nothing was set up to help us.  We even had to buy medical equipment on eBay.  We've continued to hit the odd snag.  When we tried to get physiotherapy sessions in the local hospital, they told us that they didn't have expertise in ventilators and so, for Health and Safety reasons, we couldn't come in.  When they phoned to tell us that, we were sitting in a café at the supermarket where I'm pretty sure they also don't have that expertise!

I don't need now to live in a care home

Yes, it's awful what's happened to me.  But I don't need now to live in a care home.  I've got various bits of technology so I can control my surroundings, we head up to the pub, go and do the shopping.  I've got my family around me and right now I'm sitting here looking out over my own back garden.  We've had to fight for that every step of the way, but it was worth fighting for and we would do it all again without hesitation.

Looking through the window at Brian and Lyn sitting in a cafeLyn

Hospitals are so risk averse.  But we've always said you have to put risk into perspective - Brian's been to three wars, so living at home isn't what we'd define as a risk.

My background is in solving problems and not accepting what I'm first told.  There was a general consensus that Brian would have to go to a nursing home, but we made it clear from the start that his coming home was the only option we would accept.  It took us six months of fighting to get it.  The people you are dealing with aren't horrible, but they do like to follow policy.  I tried to get as many meetings as possible at Brian's bedside so that they could see him as a person, not just a name on a bit of paper.  If you can build a relationship with them then they want to help, you just have to ease them past their worries and budget constraints.

We've had to break down barriers and get new ways of working in place.  The PCT were worried it wouldn't work, but I think now it has they are chuffed.  And because we've been trend setting, this will become more common and we'll see many more people on ventilators living at home.

Go back to the stories