Newark physios help doting dad back on his feet
A father-of-two who was told he might not walk again after being diagnosed with a "one in a million" condition has praised the physiotherapy department at Newark Hospital for getting him back on his feet.
James Hart, 33, said it had taken him six weeks to recover from pneumonia and pleurisy. He thought he was on the mend but then woke up suffering from severe pins and needles in his legs.
The on-call doctor at Newark Hospital sent him to King's Mill Hospital for extensive tests. They found he had transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord, which leads to nerve damage and partial paralysis.
"I'd never heard of the condition," said Mr Hart. "It is extremely rare and there is a one in a million chance of getting the condition."
He was told there was only a 30% chance of him walking unaided again, but with his wife Beckie, 29, and two young children — Joshua, who was four at the time, and Sienna, who was five months — to think of, he was determined that would not be the case.
"I was determined not to have to depend on a wheelchair forever," he said.
"I didn't want my wife Beckie to have to be my carer forever and I wanted to be able to play with the children properly.
"They were my inspiration for getting back on my feet."
James has spent 18 months working hard with the physiotherapists at Newark Hospital. As a result he has been able to gradually build up his muscles and walk unaided.
"They have been great," he said. "I would like to say a huge thank-you for everything they have done."
As part of his recuperation he started playing at Newark Golf Club, where everyone has been very supportive.
He is now strong enough to play 18 holes and is able to play football with his children.
Mr Hart still has nerve damage and suffers from severe pins and needles but feels fortunate that he has been able to improve so much.
He is now planning to complete a coast-to-coast walking challenge with Beckie next Easter.
The route from Cumbria to Robin's Hood Bay covers 190 miles so they plan to do about 12 to 14 miles a day.
"It will not be easy but I am looking forward to it," he said.
Mr Hart is using the challenge to raise money for the Transverse Myelitis Society and hopes it will also raise awareness of the condition.
"It could happen to anybody," he said. "I want to give other diagnosed with it hope."
Anyone wanting to donate to his challenge can do so at gofundme.com/aeh36-transverse-myelitis-awareness