Staffordshire Man Supports Awareness Campaign By Revealing Charity Work
A former dog groomer who lives with a brain injury as a result of low sodium levels in his blood has spoken of his determination to overcome the “real challenges” he faces as he backs a major campaign.
Nick Maunders, from Newchapel, Stoke-on-Trent, elected for sinus surgery in October 2018 following bouts of sinusitis. After a period of recovery and changes to his medication, Nick began to feel increasingly depressed and unwell, and he visited his GP.
Some weeks later, at the beginning of December 2018, Nick experienced a tonic clonic seizure, a type of serious seizure affecting both sides of the brain similar to an epileptic fit. He was admitted to Royal Stoke Hospital and advised that his sodium levels were low.
Nick was admitted onto the Critical Care unit where over the next few days, hospital staff administered sodium to correct the problem. Unfortunately, Nick developed neurological difficulties which can occur when sodium levels are corrected too rapidly. After spending nearly 2 months in hospital, Nick’s condition was then only diagnosed after his neurological problems were assessed by a private consultant who diagnosed “central pontine and extra pontine myelinolysis”. This is a permanent condition which is associated with sodium levels rising too quickly. The injury highlights the importance of the need for monitoring by hospital staff when trying to correct low sodium levels.
Following the news, Nick, 50, and his wife, Karen, 47, instructed legal experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his brain injury and the care provided by University Hospitals Of North Midlands NHS Trust, which runs Royal Stoke University Hospital. The legal team are also looking to assist Nick access the specialist support and rehabilitation he requires to move forward with his recovery.
As he continues to make progress, he is joining with his lawyers in supporting Action for Brain Injury Week. This year’s campaign is focused on how memory loss, in particular, can affect people following a brain injury.
Expert Opinion“The past couple of years have been a real struggle for Nick. It was understandably a huge shock for Nick and his family to be given such devastating news.
“Nick’s case is a reminder of the challenges that people with brain injuries face on a daily basis but also the support that’s available to them. While we investigate what led to Nick’s injury, we will continue to support him and his family to provide them with the answers they deserve as they look to the future as best they can.” Chris Hurlston - Senior Associate Solicitor
Since his injury, Nick continues to face many daily challenges. He uses a wheelchair and is only able to walk short distances, struggles with balance and limb stiffness as well as visual problems, memory problems, fatigue and slow speech. He is no longer able to work. Nick and Karen have been married for 25 years. They have one daughter Shae, 23.
Almost 18 months on from being diagnosed, Nick said: “The past few years have been the worst of my life. To fall ill and require surgery was bad enough, but then to fall ill again, be admitted to hospital with low sodium and then later find out I had suffered a brain injury was devastating. I couldn’t quite believe what I was being told.
“There are so many things I used to enjoy that I can’t do anymore, such as driving, DIY work, gardening, keeping a dog and going on long walks. It is also really difficult to accept that everyday tasks have become real challenges and a constant struggle for me.
“While I can’t change what has happened to me, I’m lucky to have my family’s support. I’ve also been receiving support and rehabilitation from Headway North Staffordshire and I would like to help raise awareness of brain injuries and the help that is out there for people and their families in similar situations.
“It’s almost impossible to describe the effects of a brain injury to anyone. Even your closest family can find it difficult to grasp. It’s been an extremely isolating, difficult and lonely journey to face and make sense of on your own. Headway really do understand the enormity of what you are facing and what I can only describe as the “new you”. I can’t praise them enough for their support. By sharing my story, I hope that others realise help and support is available.”
Action for Brain Injury Week runs from 28 September to 4 October.
For more information visit www.headway.org.uk/news-and-campaigns/campaigns/memory-loss-a-campaign-to-remember/