Prior to June 13th 2004, Marrianne was a fun loving, bubbly 27 year old with her whole life in front of her. Marrianne had started her own hospitality business in Hertfordshire with her partner Andrew and had spent the last 12 months making contact with sporting events throughout the world. Marrianne was and still is a big fan of travel.
June 12th 2004 – Marrianne enjoys the wedding of a friend with her sister and others. Whilst returning home, Marrianne is the passenger in a car involved in an accident…her life would change forever.
June 13th 2004 – Marrianne is in intensive care at a local hospital, a broken neck has left her fighting for her life.
Several days later, loved ones are told by a doctor that Marrianne should pull through but that she will be paralysed from the shoulders down for the rest of her life. The doctor is keen to tell Marrianne that news upon her gaining consciousness but needless to say, the family objected to such a ‘rushed’ action. (Spinal cord injury was not this doctor’s particular field of expertise)
Marrianne’s head was put into traction, via two bolts in the side of the head and a series of weights ‘dangling’ from the end of the bed. The traction was to remain on for 3 months, meaning that Marrianne was to lie flat in bed throughout this period.
June 22nd 2004 – Marrianne was transferred by ambulance 99 miles to The Osborn Spinal Unit, Sheffield. The journey was slow for obvious reasons, taking many hours. A mixture of trauma and drugs meant that Marrianne was hallucinogenic throughout the journey. Upon arrival at the spinal unit, the family were told that the prognoses given by the previous doctor was wrong – it was far too early for anyone to predict the outcome of Marrianne’s injury. They were as appalled as the family.
July 4th 2004 – Marrianne is ’settled’ in the spinal unit and appears to be making progress. The nursing staff have been very professional and very caring.
July 8th 2004 – Whilst being visited by loved ones, Marrianne’s health takes a sharp nosedive. A ‘crash team’ is called to her bedside; a life saving procedure is performed on Marrianne and she is rushed to intensive care in the main building of The Northern General Hospital. Internal bleeding and septicaemia are thought to be the problem.
July 12th 2004 – Marrianne has surgery to fit a tracheotomy to aid breathing (a pipe inserted through the neck with a ventilator attached). This normally straightforward procedure was considered a necessary risk due to Marrianne’s condition.
A week or so later, when Marrianne’s condition had improved, she was returned to the spinal unit. For two more weeks, Marrianne was to remain in a ‘ventilation bay’. Here she was watched 24 hours a day and could breathe only with the help of a ventilator. Marrianne’s only way to communicate was to make a clicking sound with her tongue (the ventilator meant Marrianne was unable to speak). At this point, Marrianne had ‘died’ on three occasions.
Whilst in intensive care, Marrianne developed four pressure sores, which were later to contract MRSA and requre surgery.
August 4th 2004 – Earlier than expected, Marrianne pushes herself to breathe permanently without the aid of a ventilator. The doctors are very surprised but very pleased, as is everybody.
August 13th 2004 – 5 days after Marrianne’s birthday and again earlier than expected, Marrianne’s traction was taken off.
August 27th – No traction means that Marrianne can start the slow process of gradually sitting up. The head of her bed is raised by 20 degrees for a short period, before a drop in blood pressure causes dizziness.
September 9th – bed up to 50 degrees
September 20th 2004– Marrianne is able to tolerate sitting up enough to consider getting into a wheelchair. The sight of the chair was a traumatic experience which hit home the realty of Marrianne’s injury, but she still cracks her ‘trade mark’ smile.
September 27th – Marrianne is able to venture downstairs to the physio and occupational therapy rooms; rooms she would visit at every opportunity until leaving hospital.
November 6th 2004 – Marrianne shows small signs of movement in her right arm.
December 9th 2004 –Marrianne is allowed home for a week.
December 22nd 2004 – Marrianne is allowed home for Christmas.
January 28th Marrianne leaves hospital…7 months on. Marrianne’s time in hospital was a traumatic one, but she always managed a smile and she touched many people. Marrianne will be eternally grateful to everyone who helped her along the way.