Stroke-Hit Brit Mother Raises Her Kids by Blinking

by VR Sreeraman on August 8, 2009 at 2:20 PM
 Stroke-Hit Brit Mother Raises Her Kids by Blinking

A young Brit mother, who suffered a devastating stroke while bathing her baby daughter, and became paralysed, is determined to help raise her three children by blinking.

Michelle Wheatley, 26, who was left paralysed with the rare condition called Locked-in Syndrome, is unable to move her body or even speak, and can only communicate by blinking.


Wheatley, of Stockport, uses her eyes to communicate with partner Rick, 24, and children Ryan, three, and Holly, one, looking up when it's a "yes" and closing her eyelids when it's a "no".

"We were warned to expect the worst after the stroke," the Daily Express quoted her father, Frank, as saying on August 5.

"It was mind-blowing and we were distraught. Communicating is an enormous effort for her but she has always been very determined. She tries so hard with the kids and they respond really well to her. We are incredibly proud of her.

"Ryan was old enough to know his mummy was unwell, but Holly was so young we worried she would not understand. But she responds really well to her mother," he said.

The young mum is still in hospital, where she needs support to help her breathe, while she is fed through a tube.

But she is slowly gaining control of her tongue, and she can now slightly move her head.

She is so determined to be a mother to her children that she has developed a technique of "speaking" which even allows her to tell off Ryan when he is naughty.

Her family have an alphabet board and painstakingly work out which letter she wants as she moves her eyes.

To keep her involved in family life, Rick, who works as a mechanic, will take in a catalogue so she can choose new clothes for the children using the board.

"Michelle has coped with it really well, but her own environment will provide another stimulus," he said, hoping to being her home from hospital soon.

"She just wants her life as it was before and we will make it as close as it can be," he added.

Locked-in Syndrome was made famous by the case of Jean-Dominique Bauby, a French journalist who wrote his bestselling autobiography 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' by blinking an eye.

Source: ANI
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