Brave bride-to-be who had both legs amputated vows to walk down the aisle
A BRIDE-TO-BE who had both legs amputated after contracting a rare form of pneumonia weeks before her wedding has vowed she will walk down the aisle.
Debbie Grant had the lower half of both her legs amputated and lost her right hand and a finger on her left hand after contracting a life-threatening strain of the disease.
The condition also put her in a six-week coma and led doctors to predict she would be dead within a week.
Her wedding to fiancé Bob Bury, 63, was put on hold, as he feared he would be planning for a funeral instead.
FREE PAIR OF LIMITED EDITION CUFFLINKS WITH EVERY FRAMED PURCHASEView details
Receive a free pair of limited edition cufflinks (worth £35.99) from one of our most esteemed artists, when purchasing a framed limited edition or a framed original piece of art.
Terms: Cufflinks selection will depend on availability. Please quote HDMVoucher and the voucher code when purchasing your piece of art.
Contact: 01482 423520
Valid until: Friday, June 07 2013
Debbie, 44, who went for a wedding dress fitting the day before she became ill, said: "I was home in time for the wedding but we decided to move to May this year.
"If we'd still gone ahead I probably would have been in a wheelchair.
"But I wasn't having that – I was determined to walk down the aisle."
Debbie had woken up in the night feeling ill.
She said: "I went into hospital and the doctor said 'do you have any next of kin, Miss Grant?'
"They said I had contracted a viral infection and that I had a serious form of pneumonia.
"That is all I remember until I woke up a month later."
Debbie was rushed from Hull Royal Infirmary, where her initial diagnosis was given, to Glenfield Hospital near Leicester.
The hospital has a special unit for dealing with viral infections.
While Debbie was transferred, relatives frantically tried to contact her fiance, who was working in the merchant navy in Brazil.
He was able to fly back to the UK and arrived in Leicester two days after Debbie was admitted.
Bob, who lives with Debbie at their home in Gilberdyke, said: "They said it was one of the worst cases they had seen."
As the cocktail of medic- ines and Debbie's body fought to keep her vital organs going, her limbs started to die.
Bob said: "We started talking about funeral arrangements at the hospital – the doctors advised me to start making them.
"The Monday after she was admitted, I thought I would be travelling back to cancel our wedding and book a funeral.
"But that week, she started improving."
Debbie had begun to feel tired and was coughing on the evening of Sunday, March 11, last year.
She was taken by ambulance to Hull Royal Infirmary and then Leicester the following day. Bob arrived at Glenfield Hospital on Wednesday, March 14.
Bob said: "When she was in the coma I would keep talking to her.
"I'd just tell her about everyday things like what was going on and who would be visiting her that day.
"When I spoke to her, her eyes would flutter like she was trying to open them, so the nurses said keep doing it."
In April, Debbie was transferred back to Hull Royal Infirmary and she started to come round.
She said: "When I woke up I couldn't even move my head and I had a bed sore, which had worn through to my skull because I had been on the bed such a long time.
"It was very scary when I woke up – I didn't know what was happening."
At first, doctors thought they would be able to save Debbie's legs near her ankles, but when surgery began they realised they would have to remove most of her calves – almost to her knees.
Her fingers and half of her palm was amputated on her right hand.
She also had to have her little finger on her left hand removed.
Debbie was allowed home on July 13, last year and in August she was fitted with her first pair of new prosthetic legs.
Debbie was due to marry Bob last year, but the wedding has now been moved to May.
She can now walk a few steps unaided.
Debbie said: "As the swelling keeps decreasing – I will need different legs in future.
"I also still have bandages on my hand, and they will eventually come off.
"I don't know whether I'll be able to have a bionic hand, but I've told them I don't just want a plastic thing that is for show – I'd rather just have nothing if it isn't going to have a function."
Despite her harrowing ordeal, Debbie is upbeat and matter-of-fact about her condition.
She said: "People ask me what it is like having no legs.
"But there are people in wheelchairs who have legs and cannot use them.
"I can now walk a little bit and have a an electronic wheelchair to get around.
"The thing that kept me going was my determination to walk down the aisle – and I'm still going to do that.
"I don't think our first dance will be very lively, though, maybe just a short one."