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Home at last: Family's joy as locked in patient David comes home after three long years

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David Garvey has locked-in syndrome and after 2 years in hospital has recieved his wish to come home. David is pictured after spending his first night at home with L-R his mum Rose, sister Lynn and dad Philip

David Garvey has locked-in syndrome and after 2 years in hospital has recieved his wish to come home. David is pictured after spending his first night at home with L-R his mum Rose, sister Lynn and dad Philip

David Garvey has locked-in syndrome and after 2 years in hospital has recieved his wish to come home. David is pictured arriving home yesterday

David Garvey has locked-in syndrome and after 2 years in hospital has recieved his wish to come home. David is pictured arriving home yesterday

David Garvey has locked-in syndrome and after 2 years in hospital has recieved his wish to come home. David is pictured after spending his first night at home with his family and fiance (pictured) Bernie Dolan.

David Garvey has locked-in syndrome and after 2 years in hospital has recieved his wish to come home. David is pictured after spending his first night at home with his family and fiance (pictured) Bernie Dolan.

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David Garvey has locked-in syndrome and after 2 years in hospital has recieved his wish to come home. David is pictured after spending his first night at home with L-R his mum Rose, sister Lynn and dad Philip

Tears of joy flowed as locked-in syndrome patient David Garvey was finally released from hospital to move back home.

David, who is completely paralysed and cannot speak, will spend his first Christmas at home after an absence of almost three years.

He and his family fought a passionate campaign for him to be nursed at home and his overjoyed fiancee and family are thrilled that he has been granted his most-cherished wish.

"This is better than winning the Lotto," said his fiancee Bernadette Dolan.

"I was in Beaumont Hospital with his parents (Philip and Rose) on Monday when the doctors and nurses and staff lined-up in the corridors to say goodbye to him," she said.

"David had the biggest smile ever on his face. The tears were flowing but they were happy tears. The nurses looked after him for more than two years and loved him to bits," she said.

Bernadette said she is looking forward to their wedding day in Trim next September.

David (34) was left paralysed after brain surgery to remove abnormal blood vessels called cavernomas from his brain stem in 2012.

His parents and family members travelled daily from their home in Dundalk to visit him in hospital in Dublin but now they have him home at last. His fiancee Bernadette travelled from Navan every day she was not working.

Yesterday, his mum Rose said the family are overjoyed to have him home.

"I never thought we would get him home so it is just great that he is here again. He will be here with us for Christmas dinner and we have that and more to look forward to."

David is incapable of any movement and can only communicate by moving his eyes, saying he is "delighted" to be home, dictating letters with the help of a family member holding an alphabet chart.

He lay motionless in a bed at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin for two years. He cannot speak or eat and needs a ventilator to breathe.

Using eye movements alone, he wrote a series of heart-rending letters, which took him days to dictate, begging the HSE to allow him to have something of a "normal life" to be nursed at home.

"Can you please close your eyes and imagine lying in bed not being able to move a muscle and being hooked up to a life support machine," he wrote.

"Imagine when you open your eyes the first thing you see is a ceiling, you will see that same ceiling for the next few hours until a nurse moves your head.

"Your next view is a wall with a mirror and sink. Believe me, this will be the highlight of your day until your family comes to visit. It is so hard being away from my family and friends for so long I feel I am almost invisible now."

David has spent the last two Christmases in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin and while his family have great praise for the medical staff there, they cannot wait to spend Christmas Day with David in their home instead of making the long journey to Dublin.

"He is our miracle man and although he has locked-in syndrome he is still fully aware of everything and we can have a laugh with him," said his sister Lynn.

"It was like a dream when he was brought into the house in Dundalk and into his own downstairs bedroom again. He was so happy. We have a special wheelchair so he can be brought to the kitchen and the sitting room.

"We'll be able to bring him up the town - and he's looking forward to going to the cinema when our dad gets a special motor vehicle for him," said Lynn.

David suffered three strokes, the first when he 22, and then he had a brain haemorrhage which left him needing a wheelchair.

Despite this he earned a masters degree from Trinity College in comparative literature. However, David's condition deteriorated and he returned to hospital in November 2012.

His fiancee Bernadette said that he now wants to write a book, adding "and I know that he will do that too".

"David was in a wheelchair when we met and I know that if it was me in this situation that he would be there beside me," she added.

He is now being cared for with a special home-care package. All members of his family have been trained to care for him and care staff and nursing staff will also be on duty.

Lynn thanked the HSE for listening to them.

"David cannot believe he is home," she said.

"He wouldn't close his eyes when they brought him in because he couldn't believe he was back. He thought it was a dream."

He has begun to be able to move his head slightly and the family is hopeful that he will recover more movement. In the new year, he will begin to work with a specially-adapted high-tech eye gaze board to communicate better and help him on his wedding day.

"He will say 'I do' using it when we marry next year," Bernie said.

"David's attitude is to never give up on life and we are both going to get tattoos that say that," she revealed.

aokeeffe@herald.ie


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