Nick was on holiday in France, camping, when he had a sudden stroke.
“There were no warning signs. One morning, just before I finished showering, I lost control of the right side of my body. Fortunately, I had enough control on my left side to unlock the shower I was in and I collapsed onto the floor. Luckily, there was a German doctor in the shower next to me and he got help.”
Nick’s body completely shut down and he spent the next 2 weeks unconscious in a French hospital. Language difficulties meant that not much was explained to him until he got back to the UK.
Doctors told Nick the type of stroke he experienced is caused by trauma in the neck, although to this day he has no idea how the trauma in his neck occurred. They also explained that, sometime in the first 24 hours, Nick had another stroke which stopped the left side of his body working. Consequently, Nick was diagnosed with locked-in syndrome at just 36 years old.
“From the day of my stroke my life completely changed. I am unable to eat, drink, move or go to the toilet without assistance and I can no longer speak. I now use a communication board, blinking my eyes to spell out every word I want to say. If I want to send an email, someone has to type it out for me. It follows that I can’t work or do anything I used to do before my stroke.”
Locked-in syndrome only affects around 1% of people who have a stroke, making it extremely rare. Unfortunately, Nick found his previous care provider extremely unsatisfactory, both operationally and clinically, something which was explained to us by Sian, who lives with Nick.
“Their chosen way of covering absent shifts was to threaten to send Nick to hospital, resulting in him accepting he must manage with just one member of staff and staying in bed all day.”
At Bespoke, we are passionate about “homes not hospitals”, and do everything within our power to ensure the people we support remain as independent as possible within their own home. Since being chosen for Nick’s care, our staff have worked hard to ensure he receives the full support of his team, something which Sian is absolutely thrilled with.
“I never worry about Nick’s care anymore - he remains at the centre of care at all times. Moving to Bespoke for Nick’s care has genuinely been transformational for my quality of life and mental health, and I know that Nick feels the same.”