Wednesday 20 September 2017

'I was paralysed beyond my belly button' - RTE legend Ronan Collins on his frightening health scare

Ronan Collins had a frightening health scare Photo: Steve Humphreys
Ronan Collins had a frightening health scare Photo: Steve Humphreys Newsdesk Newsdesk

RTE Radio One star Ronan Collins has spoken about the traumatic health scare which left him paralysed from the waist down and forced him to take a break from his weekday programme.

Speaking to the Sunday World, the presenter (64) opened up about the frightening experience in which he lost all feeling in his legs. Doctors originally thought Ronan had suffered a stroke, but it was actually a benign cyst pressing against nerves on his spine.

"The first sensation I got was of jelly legs. I couldn't really stand properly. It came and went during the evening. I went to bed that night and when I woke up the following morning I have very little feeling in my left leg and none in my right leg at all.

"My wife Woody is only over a big back operation so I called my brother who doesn't live very far away. He took me to my GP and by that stage I was feeling very nauseous. He called an ambulance and I was brought to Connolly Hospital where I went to A&E.

"I had no pain but the legs weren't working so it wasn't nice."

The presenter was later transferred to Beaumont Hospital for an emergency MRI after he lost all feeling in his lower body.

"I was an emergency case. I was paralysed at this stage beyond my belly button. It was very distressing but I was still calm. They did a super duper MRI and they described it as a cyst pressing against my spinal cord and it needed to be removed immediately.

"The operation was done at five o'clock on a Sunday morning by a full surgical team and it was a great success. On Sunday afternoon I woke up and I was sitting up in bed in the stroke unit of Beaumont. I could feel my legs and my family were there and it was a relief all around," he said.

The Radio One star said the scare forced him to take five weeks off from his programme, but said he is now recovering. He hopes to return to RTE in the coming weeks.

"I've been great since, but I've had to go through physio and occupational therapy to make sure that I can do simple things in the house, like make my way around the kitchen and hold onto a cup and saucer and a plate. I am going back to work at the encouragement of my physiotherapist," Ronan said.

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