Harley Ware, 26, Swindon, explains how her fella put up the fight of his life...
‘See you later, babe,’ said my boyfriend Jamie, 33, kissing me goodbye before heading off to work as a scaffolder.
It was 19 December 2016, and I spent the day looking after our twins Savannah and Isabella, 5 months, and my three children from a previous relationship, aged 9, 3 and 2.
But Jamie wasn’t home for dinner that night.
Instead, his mum Carla called.
‘There’s been an accident on the site,’ she said. ‘Jamie’s been airlifted to Southmead Hospital in Bristol.’
I’d so many questions but Carla didn’t know much.
‘Stay put till I find out more,’ she said.
All night, I worried.
Finally, the next morning, Carla called back.
It turned out Jamie had been electrocuted when he was building a temporary shelter at work.
A huge 33,000 volts of electricity had surged through his body. He was critically ill in a medically induced coma, and doctors didn’t know if he’d live or die.
I broke down.
Traumatised, I couldn’t accept what was happening.
‘What will I find when I go and see Jamie?’ I sobbed. ‘What state will he be in?’
By not visiting him, it was almost as if it wasn’t happening.
‘I can’t face it!’ I cried to Carla.
Instead, I stayed at home with the children and Carla called with constant updates.
A flurry of bad news.
In a coma, Jamie had his right leg amputated as doctors battled to save his life.
Next, his left forearm and half of his left foot. And then his right arm.
‘How will he feel when he wakes up?’ I sobbed.
If he wakes up…
Christmas came and went.
It was six weeks later when I finally plucked up the courage to visit Jamie.
As I walked into ICU, he was lying there unconscious, hooked up to machines, wires everywhere and limbs missing.
Practically his whole body was covered in bandages.
He was thin, pale, a shadow of his former self.
Tears streamed down my cheeks as I thought of how my Jamie used to be – always cheerful, playing sport and being hands-on with the kids.
I kissed him on the forehead and took a photo, not knowing if I’d see him awake again.
But, as time passed, Jamie fought hard…
A few weeks later, when I visited, he had his eyes open.
‘Get me out of here,’ he croaked faintly.
I stepped back where he couldn’t see me, started sobbing.
Then I pulled myself together and went back to his bed.
‘You’ll be coming home soon,’ I said.
I could tell he was still the Jamie I knew and loved.
And boy did he put up a good fight! He was so strong. Much stronger than I was.
After 10 weeks, he came out of ICU and I took the twins in.
Jamie was sitting up in a wheelchair and his eyes lit up when he saw his girls.
I placed them on his lap.
It broke my heart thinking about what an amazing dad he’d been before the accident.
But the look in his eyes told me the bond was still as strong.
‘They still know their daddy,’ I beamed.
It was the boost he needed.
In March, Jamie moved to full-time rehab in Oxford. Then, on 1 June 2017, he came home.
He’s in a wheelchair and has prosthetics on both arms and one leg, but he’s incredibly independent.
Sadly, we’ve just found out that Jamie needs to have his remaining leg amputated.
But he’s already come so far, I know this won’t stop him.
He’s such a great dad – getting stuck in to help with the babies and play with them like he always did.
Jamie’s our hero.
‘When I was
electrocuted, I was thrown back 13ft and felt like my whole body was on fire. I thought I was dead.
I was screaming, shouting…
It felt like my heart and lungs were burning and then it was my arms and legs.
When I first truly realised what had happened, I didn’t see any future. I only had memories of the past, of playing tennis, cricket, golf.
But my biggest fear was not knowing if the babies would remember me.
When I saw them after three months, they’d changed so much – they were chubby and had all this hair! But I got to hold them again and it was so emotional.
I’m now having to relearn everything but it could’ve been a lot worse.
Day-to-day life is different, I’ll never be able to do a lot of things, but I feel blessed to be alive.’