It's everyone's nightmare scenario; standing next to a loved one who has mysteriously collapsed and stopped breathing for no obvious reason. This was the situation Tabby found herself in last year when she and her husband Martin visited friends on the Dorset coast. After many months in hospital and in Thomas Edward Mitton House, part of the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust, Martin worked his way towards seeing his son's nativity play and going home at Christmas to spend time with his family.
Following a day on the beach having a BBQ, Martin unexpectedly collapsed, remaining unconscious and stopped breathing. Fortunately Martin's friend performed CPR, not only did he manage to resuscitate him once but twice, saving his life and keeping him alive long enough to be reached by the emergency services.
Martin was taken to Poole hospital where doctors found that he unfortunately had a bleed on the brain. He was then taken to Southampton hospital where he was operated on after sustaining a ruptured brain aneurysm. It was only because Doctors saw that he was able to move his arm was it decided to operate.
Due to the aneurysm he suffered, Martin became partially sighted in one eye, making it difficult for him to recognise shapes and colours that were familiar to him.
After the operation, the prognosis looked positive. Martin was in a stable condition but three days later his health began to deteriorate. His family were told to expect the worse. As time passed Martin's condition began to improve once again and after six weeks of an emotional roller-coaster ride for his family he was finally stable.
Martin was then able to be moved to Thomas Edward Milton House in Buckinghamshire, which fortunately was near to the family home which meant they could visit him more often, offering vital support.
Martin's wife Tabby described her husband as being "less confused" and saw positive changes to him when he began to become more comfortable with the centre. Martin started physiotherapy, becoming more mobile and was able to sit up on the end of his bed unassisted which he was unable to do before moving in to TEM House. As time progressed, he began to stand up and then to walk with a walking aide. Tabby described some of the moments that gave the family hope.
"Martin's sight started to come back gradually". It was discovered one lunchtime with the family at TEM house. "Martin looked at a support worker from TEM house and was able to comment on particular details on her face, it was truly amazing".
The level of interaction with his surroundings was another sign of improvement for both his mobility and visually as he was able to notice some blue footballs in front of him, commenting that they were "blue balls" and managed to move them out of the way with his walking stick.
Tabby, Martin's wife, decided to keep a diary of Martin's recuperation which helped the whole family see any progress he had been achieving including regaining his sense of humour.
It was discussed between the Service Manager, the Clinical Team and Tabby, that some goals should be set for Martin to focus on. The main aim was for Martin to be home for Christmas, spending Christmas Eve at home and waking up on Christmas morning with his wife and three boys.
So starting at the beginning of December, Martin and Tabby would go on short outings; home and to the shops, making to transition easier for them both. Tabby said that she was "quite nervous about it all, but everything went according to plan which was a wonderful for everyone".
Martin managed to spend Christmas together with his family and would like to thank everyone who has been involved with making this all seem possible. Martin's progress has continued to amaze. He is now able to walk unassisted with his walking stick with only one person for supervision. It is a fantastic way to end what has been such a terrible year for Martin, Tabby and their family. Tabby is looking forward to Martin's progress and she is "hopeful that everything will continue to go to plan".
Early in 2014, Martin was discharged from TEM House after a number of successful home visits. The clinical psychologists were in agreement that Martin would be able to move back into his home with his family after showing excellent progress.