Now, back at home and slowly recovering, Sammy has praised the NHS for saving her life and said that her near-death experience has made her relationship with Warwick stronger than ever.
Speaking with The Sun she praised the doctors and nurses who cared for her. She said: “I owe my life to them. They were amazing.”
Sammy, who has achondroplasia, had decompression surgery on her spine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge on July 18, which involved removing bone to release pressure on the nerves around her spinal cord. It was 19 days after this surgery that she fell seriously ill.
She’s had the operation four times before and after eight hours in surgery she spent five days in hospital. Sammy then spent a week recovering with her children, Annabelle and Harrison in Warwick’s hotel room near Pinewood Studios, where he was filming.
“We went home a week later and suddenly I couldn’t feel my legs. I thought I was still recovering from the surgery so I went to bed, but the next day I felt awful, as though I had been hit by a truck,” she said.
“As the day went on I couldn’t concentrate, I lay on the sofa and when I tried to get up I collapsed on the floor.”
Warwick took Sammy to her GP but as she sat in her office her condition quickly deteriorated.
“The doctor sent me to A&E at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and as Warwick drove me there I drifted in and out of consciousness. By the time I reached the hospital my temperature had rocketed, I couldn’t walk and I was screaming with pain if my legs were moved.”
Sammy was given an MRI scan and after other tests, doctors discovered her scar tissue was infected with bacterial meningitis and sepsis.
“They told me they might have to put metal rods in my back if any of the bone in my spine had become infected, so I was even more worried, as I knew that would be a game-changer and I didn’t know how I’d cope.”
After surgery, the next morning Sammy woke up in intensive care and felt elated to be alive.
“The nurse said I was doing well. They’d washed out the area of my original surgery to remove the infection and hadn’t had to put in metal rods. I was so happy, I sent a silly selfie to Warwick. I looked awful, but I was alive.”
Over the next few days Sammy drifted in and out of consciousness as the doctors worked to find the right antibiotics to keep the infections at bay.
“My whole body was poisoned, I was low on everything. It was like having a big hand over my body holding it down,” she said. “Eventually I started to get better and was moved to a general ward. The nurses were amazing and I felt really loved and cared for.”
But a week later she woke feeling sick and dizzy. “I felt awful, my blood pressure dropped, my heart rate soared and I felt as though I didn’t have the energy to fight anymore. At 4am I was given another MRI scan because the doctors were worried the meningitis had gone to my brain.”
Thankfully the infection had been caught in time and Sammy was given different antibiotics which soon started working. Sammy left hospital on August 15 but will be on intravenous antibiotics for six weeks.
“I’m gradually getting my strength back but I’m still in a lot of pain. I can’t do anything for myself, Warwick is doing everything for me at the moment,” she said.
“I’m also hugely grateful to the NHS. I lay in bed and watched the doctors and nurses working tirelessly, their care and attention is second to none. I felt so safe and I owe my life to them. They were all truly amazing.”