A gym-mad dad was paralysed from the nose down by a rare immune disorder triggered by eating a chicken curry.
David Braham, 40, became unwell while watching his son play rugby after the dodgy meal and within a matter of days was fighting for his life in an induced coma.
Medics discovered he was suffering from food poisoning which caused the rare autoimmune disorder Guillian-Barré Syndrome.
The dad-of-two, from Wales, was left paralysed from the face down, unable to talk, and ended up on a ventilator for four months, unable to breathe on his own.
Eight months since the Chinese chicken curry which nearly cost him his life, he can finally walk on his own, and he has been allowed home for a short overnight visit.
“I felt fine until I had the chicken curry,” the former diving instructor explained.
“I just picked it up as a quick meal whilst a pupil was taking their test.
“I regret it. I am almost certain that’s what caused it.”
Mr Braham said that he felt “a bit dodgy” before his condition rapidly deteriorated days later and ended up in Princess Wales Hospital four days after consuming the meal.
“Before I knew it I was literally locked in my own body. It was absolutely terrifying,” he said.
Mr Braham said he thought he’d never see his children again, and the prospect of being reunited with them kept him going.
“I did wonder if there would ever be a way out. All I want to do is play with my kids again and be a dad again,” he said.
He was initially treated with antibiotics and sent home after a six-day hospital stay.
But the next day a tingling feeling started to spread through his body – which eventually caused complete paralysis.
Within 24 hours he “couldn’t move a muscle” and was taken back to hospital by ambulance.
It was only then that medical staff discovered he had been suffering from food poisoning campylobacter which caused the rare Guillian-Barré Syndrome.
The serious and rare condition causes the immune system to attack nerve functions and can be triggered by infections including food poisoning.
Mr Braham, who is separated, was placed in an induced coma for four weeks and placed on a ventilator for four months after he lost the ability to breathe on his own.
“When I woke up out of the coma I had no idea what was going on. I was paralysed and couldn’t feel a thing,” he said.
“I didn’t see my children for three months whilst I was in intensive care.”
Long road to recovery
After being woken out of the coma in May, he began on the long and slow road to recovery.
In September he was transferred from the Llandough Hospital to Rookwood in Cardiff for rehabilitation.
Thanks to daily physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and weekly aquatherapy sessions, he took his first steps in early November.
“I had to learn how to wash myself and brush my teeth again. It took me three months to be able to move my legs again,” he said.
“It was like being a baby and having to learn how to do simple things again. My mind knew how to do everything but my body just wouldn’t respond.”
He was able to visit home and spend time with his children for the first time on December 8.
He now has his sights set on sitting at the dinner table on Christmas Day surrounded by his loved ones.
“I can’t wait to be a dad again, just to spent time with the kids. It will feel amazing,” he said.
“I’m over the moon. It feels like there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.”
His old routine would see him take on five or six gym sessions every week, and the weight-lifting enthusiast is now looking forward to getting back in the gym and work next year.
He expects to remain in rehab until at least March.
– SWNS/ MEGA Australia