A com­mon cold

turned into a four-week coma

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Contents -

Re­nee Power cred­its her beloved dad with help­ing bring her back from the other side af­ter she was struck down with a deadly ill­ness and left in a coma ear­lier this year.

“I feel lucky that I woke up – it could have been so much worse,” says Re­nee, 21, as she ex­pertly nav­i­gates her elec­tric wheel­chair around Fiona Stan­ley Hos­pi­tal.

“Mum thinks I’ve come back a brat, be­cause I speak my mind now, but life is short!”

Doc­tors blame swelling of the brain – vi­ral en­cephali­tis – for Re­nee’s to­tal body shut­down on March 27, but she and her mum thought she was suf­fer­ing from a cold when the or­deal be­gan.

“It started with a runny nose and sore throat, but by the end of day two I had a split­ting headache and fever,” says Re­nee.

She also thinks the grief of sud­denly los­ing her much-loved dad Craig two years ago at age 50 af­fected her health. But she cred­its her dad with bring­ing her back from the brink, say­ing his spirit told her to fight on.

“Dad was push­ing me back to life,” says Re­nee of her mes­sage from be­yond the grave. “He told me it wasn’t my time and I had to go back to Mum.”

Carmela, 51, says she never dreamed her daugh­ter would be at death’s door a day af­ter she put her to bed with ibupro­fen and a cold flan­nel, think­ing she had a com­mon cold.

“Re­nee was vague and semi­con­scious, so we raced her to the lo­cal doc­tor who treated her for sus­pected menin­gi­tis, and that prob­a­bly saved her life,” she says, adding she was so dis­traught she could barely eat for the month her daugh­ter was in a coma.

“It was a liv­ing hell be­cause there were no guar­an­tees she’d ever wake up,” she says. “I was scream­ing to my [late] hus­band, ‘Send her back – don’t you dare take her with you.’”

Af­ter four tor­tur­ous weeks of sit­ting by Re­nee’s bed­side, her prayers were an­swered with the flut­ter of an eye­lid. “I feel guilty for what I’ve put Mum through,” says Re­nee. “But I’m so thank­ful to be here and hope to be walk­ing by my birth­day, in Septem­ber.” The Power fam­ily would like to thank Joon­dalup Hos­pi­tal for their care of Re­nee. To help with med­i­cal ex­penses, go to au.gofundme.com/93p3jk­sleep­ing-beauty

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