Former ‘locked-in’ patient speaks of her will to live

Thu, 5 Aug 2010

A mother of two has revealed how she never lost her will to live after an illness left her paralysed and unable to speak for 18 months.

Kerry Pink was left suffering from a condition known as ‘locked-in syndrome’ by an undiagnosed neurological illness when she was just 35.

Mrs Pink, writing in the Daily Mail, said: “My memories are blurred. But some things remain absolutely certain. I know that however dark the twilight world I inhabited, I never lost my will to live.

Determined

“I was always determined to come back home. And it was my absolute faith in my husband Greg’s love that propelled me on – that and, of course, the knowledge that my two beloved children needed me there to care for them.”

Her comments come in the wake of a legal challenge by Tony Nicklinson, who also suffers from ‘locked-in syndrome’, to force the Director of Public Prosecutions to issue guidance clarifying whether his wife would be prosecuted for murder if she kills him.

Mrs Pink, whose determination is likely to strengthen calls for the law on assisted suicide and euthanasia to remain firm, also recalled how at one point during her illness she heard her doctors advising her husband that she wouldn’t make it through.

Terror

Describing the moment she said: “I remember a flash of abject terror, then anger. I clearly recall thinking: ‘How dare they say I’m not going to pull through.’

“I don’t ever recall being worried that the doctors would allow me to die. I always had absolute faith that Greg would not let them.”

And she also recalls how her family kept her going by talking to her and telling her to keep fighting.

Love

She says she remebers her children saying to her: “Mummy we love you. Come home soon.”

And while many people may have given up on her at one time, Mrs Pink is now able to walk a few steps and has recovered all of her speech.

And, with the help of her family or a carer, she is able to socialise and visit shops, pubs and restaurants.

Her comments come after Richard Rudd, who currently suffers from ‘locked-in syndrome’, used eye movements to signal to doctors that he wanted to live as they were about to switch off his life support machine.

Overjoyed

Mrs Pink said that she wanted to show Mr Rudd that it “is worth battling on”.

She added: “When the day of my home-coming finally arrived I was overjoyed. AJ, then 12, yelled, ‘Mummy’ and raced down the ramp they’d put in for my wheelchair.

“Georgie, ten, peeped shyly round the door and as Greg wheeled me into the house there were tears of happiness in all our eyes.

Laughter

“Today my life is rich in love and laughter and I revel in my children’s achievements. AJ, now 20, is a mechanical engineer and Georgie, 18, is training in childcare.”

Last month a severely disabled woman urged other disabled people who may feel like ending their lives not to abandon hope for the future.

Marini McNeilly, who also suffers from ‘locked-in syndrome’, is paralysed and can only move her face, head and, very slightly, her fingers.

But in an interview with The Times newspaper she called for other sufferers not to give up hope, saying: “Hope is the last thing you should lose.”

This content requires the Adobe Flash Player. Download Adobe Flash Player here.