‘I nearly died so it was time to pop the ques­tion’

Cynon Valley - - YOUR NEWS - TOM HOUGHTON tom.houghton@waleson­line.co.uk

HE AL­MOST died from a se­ri­ous con­di­tion af­fect­ing his spine. Then he con­tracted the se­ri­ous in­fec­tion sep­sis and was told by doc­tors he wouldn’t walk again.

But just months af­ter be­ing given these dras­tic prog­noses, in­spi­ra­tional grand­fa­ther of two David Smith, 52, made a re­mark­able re­cov­ery.

Ear­lier this month pro­duc­tion man­ager David, from Risca, near Caer­philly, walked to the top of a Welsh moun­tain where he pro­posed to his now-fi­ancée Mary. He said: “I’m quite strong men­tally and I have man­aged peo­ple for a long time. From this past year I have learned life is a gift and you must live it and I am liv­ing it to the fullest now.

“We have a date for the wed­ding and are al­ready plan­ning the hon­ey­moon.”

It all be­gan in Au­gust last year when keen pho­tog­ra­pher David was driv­ing back from tak­ing snaps with Mary around the Bre­con Bea­cons.

A car pulling out to over­take cut back in, caus­ing David to slam on the brakes, but there was no col­li­sion and he didn’t even have to stop.

Think­ing noth­ing of it, David con­tin­ued his ev­ery­day life. Over the next few days, how­ever, he be­gan to ex­pe­ri­ence se­vere pain in his neck.

He took him­self to A&E and was told it was prob­a­bly whiplash from the in­ci­dent days be­fore and was pre­scribed painkillers.

The pain got worse and David, who also has type one di­a­betes, lost his ap­petite and had dif­fi­culty mov­ing, need­ing help to even an­swer the phone.

Seven days later he was ad­mit­ted to the Univer­sity Hospi­tal of Wales in Cardiff, where he was told he had spinal epidu­ral ab­scesses, a se­ri­ous con­di­tion, and that he would need a life-sav­ing op­er­a­tion. It emerged that the ab­scesses had been dor­mant for a while but the heavy brak­ing in­ci­dent had brought them on.

Af­ter the op­er­a­tion and be­ing dis­charged from hospi­tal, David con­tin­ued to ex­pe­ri­ence health prob­lems.

He back they said: “I ended up in hospi­tal where didn’t know what to do with me and sent me to the di­a­betic ward. I couldn’t walk and I couldn’t even eat.”

Days later he was trans­ferred to the in­ten­sive care unit, where he would spend three weeks.

“That was hor­ren­dous. My tem­per­a­ture was through the roof and the whole thing was made worse be­cause I am al­ler­gic to peni­cillin. That was when they told me I had sep­sis.

“It was scary, be­cause af­ter all that had hap­pened I was still so close to death and they had been telling my fam­ily a lot that I would never walk again. They weren’t sure if I would even sur­vive at all.”

He was trans­ferred to the high-de­pen­dency ward, where he went through yet an­other op­er­a­tion and, in Novem­ber, was given a pre­dicted re­cov­ery pe­riod of six months.

De­ter­mined David proved doc­tors wrong. He was re­leased from hospi­tal a week be­fore Christ­mas, mean­ing he could cel­e­brate at home, and he said: “My fam­ily and the doc­tors were gob­s­macked. It was such amaz­ing news.”

Three months of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fol­lowed and David was back do­ing photography again and, while still ex­pe­ri­enc­ing pain on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, en­joy­ing life once more.

He has been with part­ner Mary for about four years and felt it was the right time to pop the ques­tion, plan­ning a ro­man­tic get­away for two in the Bre­con Bea­cons.

David said: “I booked us a cot­tage. We got up early for the sun­rise on July 8 and went on one of our favourite walks, up the Fan Frynych sum­mit, and I got down on one knee.

“I was down on one knee for a while and made a joke about it and was over­joyed when she said ‘yes’.”

The cou­ple have al­ready set a date for the wed­ding in July next year.

David Smith propos­ing to Mary at the sum­mit of Fan Frynych

David with Mary in hospi­tal while he was un­der­go­ing treat­ment

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.