Gary's story

24th November 2019

Isabel was at school in November 2017 when her mother found her 48-year-old father Gary at home, sitting on the floor and staring at the wall. She knew something was wrong and called an ambulance

Gary S bacterial meningitis case study

Now Isabel, from Warlingham in Surrey, tells us their story.

“It all started on Friday 24 November 2017. I went to school as usual and my mother went to the shop to get some supplies for my dad. My father phoned the doctor to speak to him to get an appointment later that day as he had complained for around a week that he had a bad shoulder. He thought he had lifted a heavy package at work and after visiting numerous people at the doctors and walk in hospital he got told that he had a frozen shoulder."

“My mother got back home from the shop to find out that my father had slipped off his chair and was sat on the floor staring at the wall as if he was talking to the wall. He started talking to my mother and asked her if she wanted a glass of wine with her dinner. But this was extremely odd as my mother doesn’t drink."

“My mother immediately phoned the doctor to ask him for advice and he said to put the phone down on him and phone the emergency services. The ambulance got to the house in about ten minutes and got my dad into the ambulance and went at full speed on flashing lights to get him to the hospital as soon as they could."

So many machines

“My dad got out of the ambulance and went straight to resus, where there were about 20 people surrounding my father. This overwhelmed my mother a huge amount. My father got taken to the Intensive Care Unit and he got attached to many machines which controlled his breathing."

“Family and friends came to the hospital on many occasions and at that point we knew that he would have a difficult time if he was to stay alive. At some point in the hospital we got told as a family that he was brain stem dead and he was the most critical person in the hospital. From this point we knew he was not going to last much longer. After calling his name numerous times we knew it was near the end."

“On 29 November 2017, just five days after he was rushed to hospital, the machines and life support were turned off. We continue to keep Gary Spackman in every conversation as if he was right next to us talking. We fundraise whenever we can and the money that we raise goes onto Gary Spackman’s Forever Fund."

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