Rosie had just returned from a Head Teacher conference and decided to pop home before going back to school.  She experienced a strange pain in her thighs so thought she’d have a lie down to see if it passed.  The sensation changed to one of feeling as though all of her leg muscles were clenched and then she realised that she couldn’t feel anything from the waist down. 

Her husband was working abroad, and so she was on her own in the house with no-one expected home anytime soon, Rosie realised she would have to try and get downstairs to reach her phone.  Somehow, she managed to pull herself to the edge of the bed then rolled off down to the floor.  She bumped down the stairs and called her husband in France and then called for an ambulance.  As she wasn’t in any immediate danger (according to the dispatcher’s protocols), Rosie was not a priority and so it wasn’t until 4am that an ambulance finally arrived.

She was taken to Scunthorpe General Hospital and admitted to the Stroke Ward as the doctors didn’t know what was wrong, but it was decided that some of the symptoms suggested a stroke of some kind.  From Wednesday to Friday, they still hadn’t treated Rosie other than to give her aspirin, but they had decided she had either had a spinal stroke or it was transverse myelitis.  She persuaded them to start treatment and so they began steroids and physio.

Rosie in her wheelchair

For three weeks, no diagnosis was made but the doctors had decided that Rosie should start rehab at either the specialist Spinal Injury Centre at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield or the neuro-rehabilitation centre in Goole.  Thankfully a bed became available at Pinderfields and Rosie was soon in the hands of people with experience of spinal cord injuries and her rehabilitation could begin in earnest. 

Rosie would end up staying at Pinderfields for five months and during this time met Kevin, Aspire’s Independent Living Advisor.  “It was great meeting Kevin, he was always cheerful and encouraged me to get involved in lots of things and I never would have tried sport without his encouragement.  Whenever I had a difficulty, such as sore hands, I knew I could ask him for advice.  When I wanted to know how I would transfer into a car, Kevin showed me.

"Having someone like Kevin around to encourage, cajole and have a laugh with made such a difference.  He broke down barriers and because of that I gave everything a go.  As he’d already gone through rehab, he was happy to share his experiences as were ex-patients.  Doctors and the medical team can tell you things but having someone there who has gone through it and can suggest other ways to try makes such a difference.  It inspired me to keep trying, as if they can do it, then I can too.”

Rosie and the other patients in the Centre were able to ask Kevin anything and he was always willing to share his experiences of subjects such as going on holiday, cycling, driving.  He wanted everyone to do well and was a great support to Rosie. 

Kevin’s honesty, willingness to share and being successful in his own life was inspiring.  He didn’t always butter people up but liked us to have a laugh and encouraged us to give things a go

Rosie was lucky to be able to go home after having adaptations made to her property but wasn’t prepared for it mentally.  “It was really hard adjusting for me and my family.  We were all a bit shell-shocked.”

Since leaving Pinderfields, Rosie is continuing to improve, and believes that this has only been thanks to the care, support and rehabilitation she received at the specialist Centre.  “The rehab, psychology team, physios – all were second to none, constantly pushing and getting us to try." 

The only thing was I felt there should be more emphasis on being independent, but luckily I had Kevin there for that

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