Brave sep­sis sur­vivor re­turns home

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS - By Ju­dith Duffy JDUFFY@SUNDAYPOST.COM

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

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