A quadriplegic who has returned to work against all odds has praised the non-profit organisation which helped him on the road to recovery.
Meningitis caused Mike Fisher to lose the use of his arms, legs, hands, feet and face.
After several operations and years of painful rehabilitation, the 47-year-old who lives in Old Town has regained the ability to eat, talk and smile, and has limited use of his arms and hands.
Doctors told him that he would never be able to go back to his job as a management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Bristol but he now works at the company on trial basis for two days a week.
He was first diagnosed with meningitis and septicaemia at GWH in November 2014. He went into a coma, regained consciousness, slowly began to lose use of his limbs and briefly lost the use of muscles of his face.
Mr Fisher said: “I struggled to use my arms and when I could get food up to my mouth I couldn’t eat it. It was hellish.
“I had a lot of time to think, so I did a lot of meditation and mindfulness which was very helpful. There were downtimes, some pretty horrific ones, but I took each day as it came and generally I tried to keep my spirits up, concentrating on what I had not the things I’d lost.”
After several months in different hospital wards and transfers to specialist centres for treatment, exercise and 15 operations, he went to activity-based rehab centre Neurokinex, where his condition dramatically improved.
The Army Air Corps veteran said: “I felt like I had lost everything and was getting nowhere but my first session changed my attitude. It felt like I was fighting back at last, it was good for the mind and soul as well as the body.”
Mike was also full of gratitude for the support he’s received from his wife Amanda and his children Myles, 15, and Max, 11, who have kept him going, the two carers who care for him, and charities like Meningitis Now and BLESMA which fundraised to pay for changes to his home.
He said: “My ambition from the day I fell ill was to get back to work so I could see all this as a blip in my life. I was told it was too high an ambition and my eye doctor’s astonished that I’m in work again.”
Now that he’s accomplished the impossible, Mike’s looking forward to getting out and about.
He said: “I used to be really active, going on bike rides with the kids and taking my beagle for long walks all day, so this illness was a bit of a kick in the pants.
“My friends did a sponsored run for me to buy a hand-bike attachment for my chair, with an electric motor that lets me keep up with the kids on their bikes, so when it’s sunny we can go outside together.”