Friday, 2 March 2018

Meet Pete, before and after Locked-in Syndrome

Peter Coghlan
Meet Pete - preteen Pete. Cute, ey? Yet this handsome, happy-go-lucky lad was already verging on hooliganism.

You know the type - the type mums tell their sons not to play with and dads tell their daughters not to date.....or at least, in Pete's case, they would have done had it not been for 'AvaChat' Coghlan's engaging charm and genuinely good heart.

This angelic boy was soon to become a typical teen, wilder than most with a taste for 'magic mushrooms' and a habit of setting things on fire. (If you read the first chapter of his book you'll find out what I mean!)*
Pete served in Northern Ireland after joining the army
It's fair to say Pete's teens and twenties were a blast (sometimes literally!) Despite serving in Northern Ireland during the dying days of the troubles, and having a brush with Hodgkinson's Lymphoma aged 21, which put an end to his army career, he maintained his cheerful outlook, met the girl he was to marry and emigrated to Perth, Western Australia for a new life in the sun.

For several years, Pete worked hard, played hard, had loads of laughs, gained Australian citizenship and managed to satisfy his arsonist tendencies with plenty of barbies.

Then, out of the blue, tragedy struck with a blow to the back of his head while laying drains on a build. Next news, he was being rushed to A&E with a massive brain stem stroke which left him paralysed. Totally paralysed - except for some movement in his eyes. At just 32, he faced a grim future.
Totally paralysed after his locked-in stroke, Pete needed sandbags to hold down his arms
Locked-in syndrome, they called it (LIS) - a rare and little understood condition, brought about by brain injury, illness or severe stroke. Not even top neurologists could tell whether he'd recover from this frightening 'disease of the walled living' as LIS is sometimes known.

But Peter fought back. Having survived bullying, mobs, cancer and years of hard work, he was determined, not only to survive, but to regain everything LIS had robbed from him.

Six months and one day after being admitted to hospital, he walked out of Shenton Rehabilitation Unit, albeit shakily, and began his long, exhausting journey back to life.

After 6 months, Peter could walk but only shakily
Since then, he has taken part in marathons, regained his voice to become an inspirational speaker, learned to play the guitar, qualified as a Health Assistant supporting disabilities in the community, begun training as a bodybuilder and written a book about his experience with the aim of bringing hope to thousands of people struck down, locked-in and often left to battle on their own, with his resounding cry: "Keep trying and never ever give up!"

Triumphant after completing Pdrth's City to Surf marathon

*"In the Blink of an Eye - Reborn" by Peter Coghlan is available from Amazon  in both printed and  digital formats 



1 comment:

  1. What an amazing story. Pete certainly led a colourful and eventful life before the accident and his courageous fight to be well again and turn his life around is truly inspirational.