Mum-of-three speaks of ordeal after 'super-fit' husband suffers stroke
A mum-of-three has spoken candidly of her family's terrifying ordeal, when her super-fit husband suffered a life-threatening stroke and had the left side of his skull removed to relieve deadly pressure on his brain.
Jo Smith found husband Geoff, a 49-year-old maintenance engineer for a large hotel chain, sitting in his boxer shorts with a gash on his head, eyes rolling backwards and the right side of his face collapsed.
The maintenance engineer had gone downstairs in their family home in South Woodham Ferrers, near Chelmsford, Essex, to let the dogs out but collapsed in the garden and smashed his head on a bed of stones following a devastating haemorrhagic stroke.
This type of stroke sees blood vessel bursts and bleeds in the brain, pressure from the leaked blood damages brains cells, impairing the organ's functioning.
The odds of surviving a subarachnoid haemorrhage are low - 40 percent of sufferers die within a week.
Jo, 48, recounted the incident to The Daily Mail : "I would normally hear the dogs' feet on the hallway at that time, so I went downstairs and saw Geoff's legs lying halfway through the doorway to the lounge.
"The right side of Geoff's face had collapsed and he had a long deep gash to the side of his head, which was bleeding so I screamed for my daughter Paige to call an ambulance while I sat with him.
"It's so upsetting seeing someone you love lying there like that. You don't know whether they can see you, hear you, or understand you. You just have no idea.
"Every dog had blood on it, so they had clearly licked his wound. He must have struggled back in where he undressed before he collapsed on the floor, where I found him.
"I kept thinking, "This must be a nightmare and I am going to wake up". I kept asking, "Why me? Why Geoff? Why this beautiful person who is my soulmate?"'
At hospital Mrs Smith was told that her husband had a good chance of surviving because he was physically fit, but for 12 days after surgery Mr Smith was in a critical unit struggling to breathe and talk.
When he was able to finally remove his oxygen mask his first words to his wife were: 'I love you.'
Jo has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to help finance both his rehabilitation, post hospital, and to help keep the family afloat financially.
'I'm going to effectively be a single parent for the foreseeable future,' Mrs Smith added.
'We've never lived beyond our means, but we have a mortgage to pay and if I want the best treatment for Geoff, including alternative and other specialist therapies, I am going to have to find the money for that.
On the GoFundMe page Mrs Smith wrote: "They say money can't buy happiness and Geoff and I never needed it to have the kind of relationship that we had because money can't buy that. However, what it can buy is security.......security for his future in order for him to achieve his maximum recovery potential to hopefully become the man he once was.
"We would be so eternally grateful for any amount of money or support received so that Geoff can become 'this man' again. He is a light in my darkness and my inspiration for everything I do.
"I promised the life saving team at Queens that one day, we will take Geoff back and he WILL walk through those doors, stick or no stick because we owe him that for everything he has given me and our family."