An Aberdeen dad is “lucky to be alive” after spending three gruelling days paralysed in his flat alone after suffering a stroke.
Had Ian Cowie’s mum been even an hour later in going round to check on her son she would have found him dead on the floor of his Aberdeen flat.
Thankfully “mother’s intuition” ensured Julie, a carer, arrived just in time to save her son’s life, albeit she says he has a long road to recovery ahead.
Mr Cowie, a painter and decorator to trade, and a well-known DJ, known as Coozer on the city nightlife scene, suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage some time between Wednesday, January 6 and the following day.
That bleed on the space between his brain and skull meant his brain lining was so irritated and the pressure on his brain so great it caused significant damage, starving his brain of oxygen and causing a stroke, aged just 38.
The father-of-one suffered “three gruelling days” in his Kittybrewster home, cold and paralysed and clinging on to life, until he was found.
DJ found “just in time” after three days hoping for help
Mr Cowie’s sister Rhian Kemp said: “After his haemorrhage Ian managed to crawl from the bathroom to his living room in an attempt to contact help but his body was too weak and the stroke he had suffered has left him paralysed on his left side.
“He has an amazing circle of family and friends and they had all tried to check on him, but just thought he was needing some space.
“Ian then faced three gruelling days alone in his flat, extremely cold, dehydrated and in absolute excruciating pain waiting for someone to come to his aid.
“We have no idea how he managed to stay strong enough to hold on but we are beyond grateful that he did.”
Mr Cowie, father to five-year-old Alexa, was eventually found “just in time” but in a “near death” state by his own mother and rushed to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) on Saturday, where he remains in intensive care.
Long road ahead but dad is already defying the odds
“Our mother knew something was completely wrong as Ian wasn’t responding to her text messages or phone calls and her motherly instinct drove her to check on him,” Miss Kemp added. “What she discovered was something no mother should have to see, her son in a near death state, in agony, extremely weak and clinging to life.
“Doctors have told us if she hadn’t found him when she did he would’ve died. Ian was covered in bruises from falling after many attempts to try and pull himself up to get help and was covered in a clutter of objects that had fallen on top of him.
“He also had bruising from his body shutting down to protect his vital organs and hypothermia. Luckily he was conscious and still with us.”
Mr Cowie underwent a three-hour surgery on his brain to help to drain blood and relieve pressure caused by the aneurysm before being put on a ventilator, meanwhile his family were told to “prepare for the worst”.
“The next morning the doctors didn’t have much hope for Ian, but he pulled through and began responding to small commands,” Miss Kemp added.
Now breathing unaided, Mr Cowie’s brain is still severely swollen and he remains paralysed from the neck down on his left side.
“We are getting updates morning and night from the hospital,” his sister said. “He is really restless, agitated and confused and still in a lot of pain. He is struggling being wired up to different feeding tubes and drains.
“We can’t visit because of Covid. It would be so good to be by his side, but also so difficult to see him in this way. Hopefully we’ll get a video call once he’s settled and his speech further improves.
“Although we are extremely lucky that Ian is even alive he is still not out of the woods yet and we are devastated that the life he knew will be forever changed.”
Fundraiser launched to help family start ‘planning ahead’
Loved ones have already rallied round and raised £3,000 in less than a day to help Mr Cowie’s recovery.
Miss Kemp set up the Go Fund Me page to ensure her brother has all he needs when he is eventually released from hospital.
“Currently all we definitively know is Ian is paralysed from his neck down on his left side and this alone will massively change the life he’s always known” she said.
“The money raised will go towards making sure Ian has everything and anything he needs once he is released from hospital which could be a year away due to the severity of his illness.”
We couldn’t believe it’s raised £3,000 already. We never expected that support and waking up to see that total already our hearts are bursting with joy and pride.”
The Cowie family hopes to raise £5,000 for an electric wheelchair and further cash to help the father-of-one’s rehabilitation going forward.
“It was my idea to set up the Go Fund Me now we know how much care Ian is going to need further down the line,” Miss Kemp said. “My mum is very old school and would feel affronted asking people for help, but now she knows the reality he is facing she is so grateful.
“We couldn’t believe it’s raised £3,000 already. We never expected that support and waking up to see that total already our hearts are bursting with joy and pride.
“It’s going to be a long time until Ian is fully well again and even then it will be extremely hard for him to adjust to a new life. He is extremely giving and would do anything for anyone. Now it’s our turn to give back to him.”