A woman paralysed following post op complications has been left ‘bed-blocking’ for ONE YEAR despite being able to leave hospital after she was refused a grant to make her home accessible.
Brave Lucy Lowe, 37, suffered two years of constant pain after damaging her coccyx, but was left paralysed from the waist down following surgery to remove the ‘tailbone’.
Mother-of-four Lucy is now deemed medically fit and told she could return home to her children, but 12 months on remains trapped in a hospital bed.
Lucy, who damaged her coccyx when she went down a death slide at her own wedding reception, cannot go home as it is inaccessible to wheelchair users.
The drive is so steep she could not reach the front door, but once inside Lucy has no way of getting up the stairs, meaning she has no access to a bathroom or bedroom.
Lucy and husband Adrian, 37, cannot afford the £30,000 adaptations needed to make their home wheel-chair friendly but have been told they are not eligible for a grant.
As a result, 11 months later, she is still living in a small inpatient room at Ottery Saint Mary Hospital, in Devon – away from her loving family.
Lucy said being away from her children Callum, 16, Tilly, 15, Lydia, 13, and Barnaby, 11, leaves her “crying all the time”.
She said: “I’m only here because I can’t go back to my house. I’ve been deemed fit to go home – I just can’t go there. There are no facilities for me there.
“I’ve got four children. It’s hideous, horrendous, horrible, not being with them.
“Two of my chidren are now living with my parents and the other two are living with their step-dad, my husband.
“I’m not there to wave goodbye to them every morning as they leave the house for school, two of them are doing their exams, it’s hideous.
“It’s really not a nice feeling being stuck here without them – it’s depressing. It’s not nice at all. I just find myself crying all the time.”
Lucy’s ordeal began at her wedding reception in August 2011 when she injured herself on the slide at their fairground venue.
She underwent surgery in May 2014 and although the procedure was a success, she caught an infection six weeks later and lost all feeling from the waist down.
Lucy was then transferred between numerous hospital – eventually ending up at Ottery Saint Mary Hospital, in Devon, where she remains.
In order to return, the couple need to install a ground floor wet room, a downstairs bedroom and an outdoor stair lift which would cost around #30,000.
But they cannot afford the lump sum and applied for a grant from the local council, which they have been told they are not eligible for.
The devastated pair have looked into moving house but were told this would not be possible as Lucy had stopped working and so changes to the mortgage couldn’t be made.
Lucy, who previously worked at a cafe, added: “We need to have the garage converted really.
“There needs to be some kind of wet room and toilet facility for me downstairs, as well as a bedroom downstairs because I cannot get up the stairs.
“I’d also need an outdoor stair lift type thing to get me up the drive, unfortunately it’s very steep and uneven so at the moment I wouldn’t be able to get to the door.
“It would also be nice if we could get the kitchen converted so it’s safe for me to use – but we’re not even thinking about that yet – one thing at a time.
“We thought we would have to pay something towards adapting the house, but we have now found out we are not entitled to any help.
“We do not have any other avenues to go down. This grant was our last hope and we have been turned down.
“I’d love to move house and we have looked into it but because I’m not working we wouldn’t be eligible to get a new mortgage – which is silly because we already have a mortgage.”
A spokesperson for East Devon District Council (EDDC) said that although a concrete decision has not yet been made Lucy does not qualify for funding.
They said: “We are currently waiting for information from Mrs Lowe’s occupational therapist.
“At this stage, no decision has been made about a grant for adaptations to the property.
“However, from the information already given to us by Mrs Lowe, it seems unlikely she will qualify for this grant, as it is means tested.”
Lucy’s husband, Adrian, a sales manager, said: “It’s a shock to be informed that we’ve been turned down on the basis that we should be able to afford it.
“I think anyone having to come up with £30,000 would struggle.
“We have a family of six to support on one income. We have three teenagers who are all going through exams and they are doing everything they can.
“To be told we will have to get into debt to make our home liveable is beyond reasonable. We just want to get to a state of normality again.”
To read more about Lucy’s story and to donate, go to: www.gofundme.com/lucylowe