Brave sepsis survivor returns home
Agrandmother who lost her hands and legs to sepsis has told of her joy and sadness at returning home for the first time.
Those small things are really important – Jamie Andrew It was lovely to go home for a few hours but there are no ramps so I could only sit in the garden. It was a bit of a reality check and emotional. It was harder than I thought
– Marguerite Henderson
Last week Marguerite Henderson told how a simple paper cut led to her battling for her life and all her limbs being amputated.
Since falling ill in February, Marguerite, 55, has been in hospital, where she is expected to remain until the summer.
On Monday, however, she managed to go home from Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy for a few hours to sit in her back garden in Crosshill, Fife, to enjoy the sunny weather.
She said: “That was really quite emotional as it highlights what I have lost.
“It is a bit of a reality check of what I can’t do anymore and how my life is going to be different, so that was quite hard.
“It was just at home for three hours in the back garden. I can’t get into the house as there are no wheelchair ramps.
“The last time I was there I could do this and that, now I can’t do anything of those things.
“All the neighbours came to see me which was really nice. So it was a lovely day – but it was double-edged.
“It was emotional – and it was harder than I thought.”
Marguerite said her recovery is being helped by messages of support she received after telling her story, which also prompted nearly £ 1,000 of donations to a fundraising campaign to help buy items such as an electric wheelchair.
The family support worker, who has two daughters and two granddaughters, is pleased revealing her ordeal has raised awareness of sepsis.
She is taking each day at a time and knows there will be many more emotionally tough times ahead.
On Tuesday, she underwent further surgery on her hands to trim bone and assist healing.
“Hiding from challenges is not the answer, you need to be able to move forward,” she added.
Climber Jamie Andrew knows what she is going through. In 1999, at the age of 29, he lost his hands and feet after contracting frostbite while trapped for five nights by a snowstorm in the French Alps. His climbing partner Jamie Fisher died in the incident.
He said: “I didn’t have the same kind of sepsis that Marguerite had but I did have essentially the same thing: septic shock – because of all the dead tissue in my hands and feet – which precipitated the amputations.
“As I looked down my hospital bed and saw my hands and feet were gone forever, that was when it hit me.
“It is too much to take in to begin with, you can’t believe it is real.
“I didn’t see how I could ever lead any kind of meaningful life again.
“It was like my whole life had just been swept away from me in one stroke.”
Jamie, 48, who lives with his wife Anna and three children in Edinburgh, said the first year following his accident was the steepest learning curve, as he learned how to do everyday tasks again.
“Those small things are really important and each one is a little victory,” he said.
“When you brush your teeth for the first time – it might take you an hour or two hours or all day – it is a victory and that is what keep you going and motivates you to take on another challenge.”
In the years since he had his accident, he has taken on more than most people would achieve in a lifetime – including learning to ski and running marathons.
In 2016, he became the first quadruple amputee to conquer the iconic Matterhorn mountain in the Alps and he travels around the globe as a motivational speaker.
“I really didn’t know I had it in me to do the things I have achieved,” he said. To donate to the fundraising campaign for Marguerite visit: justgiving. com/ crowdfunding/kim-donnachie
Marguerite Henderson is taking things one day at a time