A Moray pensioner who was struck down by a mystery illness on a trip to the United States hopes a brain scan today will be the first step to his recovery almost three months on.
Bill Heaton is hoping doctors at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin will get to the bottom of a balance problem which he says has hindered his life.
Mr Heaton, 84, has been ill since April when he fell ill on a flight from Las Vegas to New York.
As he struggled to get better back in Scotland, the former lorry driver was prescribed Strepsils throat sweets for a serious lung condition that went undiagnosed.
Now he is unable to remain upright and relies on a walking frame to get around.
A carer visits him once a week and he receives meals-on-wheels three days a week.
Mr Heaton said he feared the scan may confirm that part of his independence will be lost for good.
Mr Heaton said: “I have always had will power. If I say I’m doing something I will do it, but with this balance thing I’m just snookered.
“From my waist to my head, I’m well — I feel fit. If it wasn’t for my balance, I’d be fit enough to walk to Forres.
“I just can’t make it out. It’s balance somewhere. I’m just sat here sitting looking at the TV, stuck with four walls around me.
“To get up from this chair, I have to use my hands and get a hold of the zimmer frame. If the frame goes, I will fall over and embarrass myself.”
Mr Heaton said he expected it would be about a week before the results of the scan would be known.
The retired lorry driver has lodged an official complaint with NHS Grampian claiming that his GP practice failed him by prescribing him Strepsils.
He was hospitalised for two weeks once the lung condition was diagnosed.
After switching to a practice in Forres, Mr Heaton said his treatment has greatly improved.
On the scan, he said: “I’m hoping the results show it’s not permanent. If it is, well that’s life, isn’t it? You just have to get on with it, but it’s not my own doing, and that’s what annoyed me.
“The doctor from the new practice has phoned me a couple of times about this scan this week, and they have brought the scan forward, so that’s something.”
NHS Grampian has launched an investigation but refused to comment on the specifics of his case.