News

How a simple make-up brush left a mum wheelchair bound

AS SHE swept a friend's make-up brush across her face, Warwick woman Jo Gilchrist could never have imagined she was triggering a battle that would force her to fight for her life.

The bristles of that brush gently glided over a pimple on her face and are most likely how a staph infection invaded her body.

The insidious bacteria eventually travelled to and attacked her spine, leaving her writhing in pain and her body going numb.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:

Just over a month since the onset, the young mum of one is now wheelchair-bound and will call the spinal ward of the Princess Alexandra Hospital home for at least the next three months.

Initially told she would never walk again, her best-case outlook is she may one day be able to walk an hour or two a day.

But she will be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

She will never again have control of her bowel or bladder and has no sexual function.

Never again will she chase her two-year-old son Tommy around the yard.

Her life has been thrown into turmoil since that day in February when she noticed something was seriously wrong.

"It started as a dull ache and I thought it was my bad posture but it got worse and worse and got to the point I had to call one of those doctors who come to you because I couldn't get out of bed," she said.

"I rate the pain worse than childbirth; I literally thought I was going to die."

Days later things took a turn for the worst when Jo started to lose the feeling in her legs.

"They told me if it went up my arms and chest I would have to learn to breathe again and it would be my parents' decision to turn the machines off," she said.

"It was horrible when I heard that but I also got this incredible fight for life. I knew I had to keep fighting because I didn't want to not be able to see my son grow up. Before I got airlifted out I could feel (the paralysis) going up my arms and I was trying to fight it and keep my arms moving."

Jo later learned she contracted community-associated MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant form of golden staph.

She was told it had damaged her spine and she would be restricted to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

But she kept fighting.

"They first said I would never walk again but I got a wiggle out of my toes and I just kept fighting," she said.

"This has been a real wake-up call. Before this I was just going through the motions and existing but now I have a huge fight for life. If someone tells me I can't do something, I keep going because just the look on their faces when I do it is worth it."

On top of dealing with the huge physical trauma and changes her body is going through, single mum Jo is fighting the emotional battle of being away from her son.

The little boy who is too young to understand his mummy can't come home.

"He hates it and I don't see him very often because he is in Warwick," she said.

"I can't talk to him on the phone because he throws tantrums and won't say goodbye but won't hang up.

"When he comes here he screams when he has to leave and it is heartbreaking to see him leave like that."

ABOVE: A visit with her friend, Bec Bolzan.
ABOVE: A visit with her friend, Bec Bolzan. Contributed

Jo now faces Easter, Mother's Day and her son's third birthday away from the main man in her life.

"I would rather him not be here on those days because I want him to be happy all day and not upset when he has to say goodbye," she said.

Although devastated by being away from her son, Jo reminds herself there are better days ahead.

"I have pictures of him and his drawings all over the walls and I look at them every day," she said.

"It will feel like a lifetime but at least I will get to go home to him in July and it will be OK.

"This is the best possible place for me."

This week Jo was on a high after mastering a "wheelie" in her wheelchair, a skill she had to master before being able to venture out on trips in her chair.

She is trying to remain positive about her future.

"There are so many people worse off than me - I am lucky really," she said.

"There are people in here who are in automatic chairs because they can't use their hands.

"I think it's a good thing I am in a wheelchair because I am a bit of speed demon - I'm pretty good."

As she works on her recovery, Jo's friends have been working on their own project. Trying to boost her spirits, they reached out to Jo's favourite musician Seth Sentry to visit her in hospital.

Although he was busy on a tour, Seth sent a personal message to the Warwick mum and passed on his best wishes in her recovery. "Even if he hadn't sent the message, it was just so amazing to know that people tried to help," Jo said.

 

To follow Jo's progress search #jolovessethsentry on Facebook and who knows, maybe Seth might visit Jo after all. 

MRSA

 About one-third of healthy people carry staph bacteria on their skin or in their nose.

 Drug-resistant strains are known as MRSA

 MRSA strains can cause skin and soft tissue infections, however can also become serious and life-threatening

Topics:  editors picks staph infection warwick



Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

A CITY drenched in culture, Brisbane is again flaunting an arts and culture events calendar fit for a queen.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Insider’s guide to the best rooftop bars

Eleven Rooftop Bar is one to put on your hit list.

SEE the world from a different perspective...

Where to get your hands on the best wings

Try out these bad boys at Buffalo Bar.

IS THERE anything better than a wicked bowl of chicken wings? Nope.

Motorists may have short delays at Warwick bridge

RoadTex at Madsen Bridge today.

One lane closed at Madsen Bridge

Stanthorpe to transform into winter wonderland

WINTER'S BEST: Get stuck into some snowy fun at the Snowflakes in Stanthorpe winter festival.

Celebrate the season at Snowflakes in Stanthorpe

A celebration of multiculturalism

COME TOGETHER: Join the Southern Downs Refugee and Migrant Network to celebrate refugee week with a Friendship Picnic at Browns Falls.

Friendship picnic a chance to share heritage

Local Partners

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

BEN Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day in a joint announcement.

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

US model Bella Hadid attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2017 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 25 May 2017.

It’s like she’s become addicted to shock value.

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!