Falling Head Over Heels
Nix: 2006 I met my soul mate, Brett, on line. We were married 25 April 2008 in a beautiful and intimate ceremony. It was the happiest day of my life. I laughed the whole time.
Brett: After our first date I knew that we would marry. Nicky chose the venue (and the sunflowers!) and I did everything else. I was composed until she walked down the aisle - then I burst into tears! She took my breath away.
Nix: Four days later I was at home. I fainted twice and went to the window to get some fresh air, but I fainted again and fell one-and-a-half floors. Someone saw me fall and called an ambulance. I am eternally grateful to them.
Brett: I got a call from the paramedics and rushed to the hospital. She was conscious and able to move her hands and arms. Her sister, Tracy, and my father, Neville, arrived. The doctor told us there was a break in the C7 vertebrae and there was a possibility that she would be paralyzed.
Nix: I don't remember the fall, I only remember waking up in Entebeni Life Hospital after what felt like a really bad dream. There were lots of tubes everywhere - even in my throat because my lungs had collapsed.
Brett: It was very touch and go. After the first operation all her internal organs shut down and the doctors were unsure whether she would recover. We took it one day at a time.
Nix: Six months later I developed a blood clot on the brain, causing a mild stroke that affected my right side. The muscles in my right arm collapsed, I lost my short and mid-term memory and had to learn how to speak, read and write again. My eyesight was also affected, causing tunnel vision. Not being able to communicate was the worst! Brett told me that it takes time to heal but I felt like I was no longer in control. I wanted to die, but lacked the means. I wanted to scream, but couldn't even speak, so I just cried all the time.
Brett: The accident changed our life and plans. Everything had to be put on hold or changed, from widening doors and passages to renovating the bathroom. Our apartment was in a historical building with no lift so we had to move.
Nix: It has been expensive but friends and family have raised funds and been incredibly generous. The night of my stroke theives stole our computer and microwave. Within hours two friends donated new ones! My cat, Phoebe, has been excellent occupational therapy. She sits on my lap and forces me to pat her as hard as I can. I am often frustrated but I'm learning patience - never one of my strong points.
Brett: I fell in love with Nicole because of who she is, not for what she can do. We will work through this together. We will make a plan and find new things to do together.
Nix: My relationship with my mom and sister has improved and Brett has been absolutely incredible. He stood by me and loved and supported me unconditionally. His parents brought up a very decent gentleman and I only need to look into his eyes to see how beautiful and kind his soul is. I am privileged to be loved by such an amazing and caring man.