Andy's Story

Andy Blagden is a young man, married to Charlotte and has 3 children; Lauren, Katie and Nathan. (The children were 12, 9 & 2.5 years old at the time of diagnosis).
Andy was diagnosed with a tumour in his spinal cord in June 2013. The tumour was at spinal level Cervical 3 going down to Thoracic 2 (C3-T2). This is incredibly high up the neck and the only option was to operate. This in itself was not without risk but after a 15-16 hour operation the tumour had been removed. The outlook was good. Then Andy became ill....
Early September Andy contracted pneumonia and then sepsis, Andy's kidneys then failed and he was put on constant dialysis for a month and required a blood transfusion during this time.
Andy came through all this but he now lives with the consequences; paralysed from the shoulders down and unable to breathe without ventilatory support, this is his ongoing story of rehabilitation with the goal of getting back home to his family and his future.

Saturday, 3 December 2016


This post is about possums, no NOT Dame Edna Everage either!! (Hello possums!) but the possum environmental controls unit.

If you want to find out more then look at the website but, in short, through the regional environmental controls department Andy is getting a primo+ unit which will be tailored to his wants and needs but will allow him to operate the television, telephone and lamps independently of anybody else. He will also get a pager system which means he can buzz for help rather than shouting until he's heard.

I can't tell you how I'm excited I am about it as it will finally get Andy on the road back to depending on himself, even if it is for 'little' things, such as choosing his TV channel, browsing the TV guide, choosing lighting levels or phoning people.  The environmental controls people will also look at controls that'll give Andy use of the computer once again. One of the most exciting things for me is the pager system which will mean that when Andy and I go out we can have approximately 300m distance between ourselves and the staff and still be able to page them if and when needed. A massive step on the road of independence. Whilst Andy may always need high levels of care every little thing he can do for himself is empowering for him and to him.

When the EC guys turned up there was an engineer and an OT, well it turned out the OT had worked alongside Andy's London OT and actually knew of him before she came, how bizarre is that!!

This is the type of unit that Andy will be getting, that will be able to clamp on to his wheelchair. He'll be using it with a click switch that he just needs to bang at the appropriate time to make it work.