When Wayne had a headache he shrugged it off and convinced himself he was fine.
So when doctors told the 50-year-old vehicle bodywork expert that he’d suffered a brain haemorrhage his world was flipped upside down.
“It began initially with just a headache and feeling a bit sick, but I thought I was fine really.
“I don’t really remember anything after that,” said the married father-of-two from Braintree, who was rushed to Broomfield Hospital 14 months ago before being blue-lighted to Queens Hospital in Romford for emergency treatment. Photo: Wayne (left) with Peter, ECL'S Vision Rehabilitation Worker.
“I had suffered a massive brain haemorrhage and my whole world changed instantly. I spent three months in intensive care. Amazingly, with daily rehabilitation, I was able to eventually return home, but I soon became very isolated as I was stuck in the house all day.
“I lost all my independence but I wasn’t prepared to go and get help. I was fiercely independent and convinced I could do it on my own, but I soon realised I couldn’t.
“So we contacted ECL Sensory Service and I was introduced to Peter, a vision rehabilitation worker, who got me out of the house for the first time – only to the end of the road, but at least I was out.”
“Then one day we crossed the road and I haven’t looked back since then.”
Wayne, who now suffers from tunnel vision and hearing loss, as well as restricted movement and memory issues due to his brain injury, was forced to shut down his vehicle bodywork company. However, he considers himself lucky to be alive and wants to raise awareness about people with sensory impairments, particularly the fact that the red and white colours of his walking cane symbolise that he is both visually and hearing impaired.
“No one knows what it means so lots of people get in your way when you’re out and about, which can be really difficult,” he said.
“Without Peter I would still be stuck indoors now. I've been through some very dark times, so I’m just grateful for the lifeline ECL have given me.
“Yes, every day is a challenge but I’m alive at least and have plenty to live for still.”