Unfortunately, at the beginning of the year, I contracted meningococcal septicaemia without warning which has resulted in a below knee amputation of my right lower leg and foot following multiple failed skin grafts taken from my left thigh and amputation of all of my toes on my left foot which has also had multiple skin grafts and further affected my mobility.
I was airlifted to hospital and spent 4 months there in total; the first 24-48 hours of which were critical. I was put into an induced coma and on life support due to multiple organ failure, unable to breathe independently initially. They performed an emergency tracheotomy to allow breathing apparatus to be connected. I was completely reliant on this for approximately two months. This was then slowly reduced over a course of weeks; I went from being on 24 hour oxygen to multiple different types of breathing valves until I was breathing independently again.
Following this, I was then able to regain the use of my voice which is when they discovered my illness had an impact on this also. They carried out an MRI of my head as an investigation into why my speech had become impaired. It was then discovered that I had a small blood clot in one of the hemispheres of my brain, although this was an old clot they could not completely rule out that this may have had an impact on my speech.
Although I have undergone some speech therapy whilst I was an inpatient at the hospital and I can make myself now understood by most people, it has been significantly impaired. I also have some lasting effects to my short term memory and my fine motor skills, predominantly my writing which has become significantly impaired since my illness.
This has, alongside my physical health, has had a very detrimental impact on my mental health. As well as my new found disability and inability to live a completely independent life as before, I am also unable to work at present due to my role as a Receptionist requiring speaking to a variety of different people, some of which have impairments themselves, and needing also to communicate effectively with my colleagues. Although there was some input from Speech and Language therapists whilst I was in hospital and my speech has significantly improved since earlier on in my journey, I am still significantly speech impaired and my ability to effectively retain short term information has declined significantly also.
I am now bound to a wheelchair, having only walked a few steps with an inflatable pomade whilst in hospital and I'm having to adjust to normal life again, re-learn how to carry out simple tasks and continuously working to improve my fine motor skills in order to adapt to life now as an amputee in the safest and most effective ways. I am currently and am likely to continue to need outpatient support in the long term in respect of follow up checks/dressings on my remaining foot and graft sites and rehabilitation to improve my ability to walk and live as independently as possible again.
Although I have now been discharged from hospital, I have had to move out of my childhood home and into my own temporary hostel accommodation with the necessary adaptations in order for me to live as normal life as possible. Although these adaptations make it easier for me to live my day-to-day life, they are still not ideal at this present time. It is unclear how much my current condition will improve so, although some of my needs are met in the meantime, my current living conditions may not be suitable for all aspects of my journey which is why I am asking for some help to get my own property, adapted to meet my needs and enable me to live my life as normal as possible.
Having spent all year in hospital and not being able to return to my home or place of work since my new found disability, I am finding it hard to adapt to life outside of hospital and in this new, not ideal environment so I am asking for the help of the general public. such as yourself reading this, in order to make this possible. Even just a small amount will be gratefully accepted, every little helps in order to make living as normal life as possible happen.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and in advance for any donations you may decide to make in order to help me get my life back following my illness.
With kind regards,
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- Ellie Rodríguez
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