Patient Ian’s wedding at the RHN

10 November 2017

Ian and Doreen's wedding at the RHN

After blood clots on his brain caused him severe brain damage, Ian started an intensive program of rehabilitation on the RHN’s Drapers ward. His condition began to markedly improve, and one day when his fiancée Doreen came to visit, Ian surprised her with a message via the Eye Gaze system he uses to communicate:

“I want to get married asap. And I want to do it here.”

Doreen said ‘yes’ to Ian for a second time, thinking this was a great idea and wanting to mark the occasion with all of the people who’d helped Ian the most. As Doreen puts it: “The RHN gave Ian’s life back to him. The team have been great and the technology here is amazing.”

With the end of Ian’s rehab looming, his therapy team went into overdrive to help him organise his wedding, adapting his rehab goals to turn his sessions into ‘wedding therapy’.

Psychology sessions helped Ian and Doreen to plan the day, while speech and language therapy turned to work on Ian’s vows. Occupational therapists worked on Ian putting the ring on Doreen’s finger, and physiotherapy started him on trials with a powered chair – so he could surprise Doreen by making his own way down the aisle.

“The RHN gave Ian’s life back to him”

– Doreen

On a sunny Friday in October, Ian and Doreen’s wedding blessing ceremony went ahead at the RHN.

With a crowd of family, friends and RHN staff looking on, Ian and Doreen said their vows and exchanged rings. With a wedding blessing from the hospital’s chaplain, a surprise performance by the RHN choir and a cheeky best man’s speech, it was a very special day. “Everyone was brilliant,” says Ian. He’s positive about their future: “I’m going to get better.”

The happy couple were originally quite nervous to come to the RHN. Things feel different this time around – united, they’re more confident now. In Doreen’s words, “This time we feel like the move, wherever it’s to, we’ll cope with it together.”

You can read more about Ian and Doreen’s journey together here.