Liam Had Listeria Monocytogenes Meningoencephalitis In 1993
Aged 26 Years
Born and bred in Edinburgh, my family moved to Galway, where I went to the Jes secondary school. Within days of completing the leaving certificate, I was in the French Foreign Legion and renewed my initial 5 year contract there for a further 2 years, when I was accepted into its special forces. I left 20 years ago and the following year I lapsed into a coma, only hours after completing commercial diver training in Scotland. I had become severely disabled with brain damage, as a result of an encounter with meningitis. Since then, I’ve been working hard at turning my brain and body back into the well-functioning entities they once were. The initial symptoms of meningitis began on a Thursday, the penultimate day of diver training.
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This manifested as an excruciatingly brutal headache, severe vomiting and flu-like symptoms. I had intended to travel abroad the following week, but that was not to happen. The landlady of the apartment I had rented during the months of training, arrived on the Sunday to clean up after her departed tenant, only to find me in a delirious, semiconscious state. When I finally woke up some weeks later, I knew that I was extremely lucky to be alive. The fact that everything was still there was almost unbelievable, my arms, legs, fingers, toes, sight, hearing, memory, mental faculties, even the jewels, yes everything. It didn’t really matter much that nothing was working. I decided there and then that although I didn’t know how I had got myself into this predicament, I would get myself out of it.
I had a feeling that this was just another one of life’s little downers. If there are no ups and downs in one’s life, then that means you’re dead, as all heart rate monitors readily testify. After the numerous medical interventions that saved my bacon, my recovery really began in the mind, with a total acceptance of my responsibility for getting me where I was and a total belief in my abilities to heal. I thought with conviction, that this meningitis episode would only confine me to bed for a few weeks, before I would get back on my feet. I could not possibly have imagined how drastically my life would change. Simple joys, compassion, love and emotions I had previously denied myself, were now at the forefront of my being. I was a changed man, a better man.
The weeks soon became months and with it the realisation hit home that I was in it for the long haul. And right now, almost 20 years later, my will, discipline and determination seem only to strengthen with the passage of time. And the joys too. That is not to say that I alone am the reason why I have recovered to the extent I have. Certainly not! There are all those beautiful people, hundreds and thousands, who have helped me in my recovery over the years. From the staff of hospitals both in Scotland, particularly those of the acute hospital in Glasgow and Ireland. From my family and friends, my brother Harry and Tom McEvoy, who built the tricycle, which elevated me to a new level of independence. West Ireland Cycling has the awful job of maintaining it! To my family doctor Brian O’Flynn and consultant Bobby Coughlan, the efforts by a vast array of dedicated alternative health professionals and finally, to all those who just say a little prayer for me.
Sure I’ve made mistakes and failures in my attempts to heal, but a failure is merely a first attempt in learning and I think everything I’ve tried has helped to some degree or other. Over the years I have benefited from dozens of lifestyle changes, therapies and modalities of treatment. From the most simple, such as adequate sleep and sunshine, the best of food and water, a belly full of laughter, to the most sophisticated of Russian and Californian technologies. At present I work with a strong team of health professionals and as my health status changes, so also do the members of that team. Greg Muller is an extremely talented athletic performance coach. Brian Munday’s speciality is phytobiophysics. John Carty practises endorphin release therapy in Dublin and is a bit of a wizard.
Richard Brennan is internationally recognised in the field of alexander technique. The beautiful Michel Durham is my voice trainer, while Natalia Krause patiently teaches me the art of t’ai chi. Adrian Craddock does sports Massage and Joshua Rubin, who lives in San Diego, is a hellishly gifted nutrition and lifestyle coach. I also see practitioners of cervical and neurological chiropractic and occlusion dentistry in London on a regular basis and I will return to the brain training technologies offered here in Galway, by Soren Hildebrandt and James Lee. When circumstances allow, I will also most probably return to Bendigo in Australia, for some intensive spinal network analysis, which is an advanced form of chiropractic. Outside of that, I try to spend at least 5 hours a week on my absolutely fan-dabby-dozy brainport balance device.