Mum in coma heard doctors talk about switching off life support

  • Mum was paralysed after contracting rare Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • She heard doctors debate switching off her life support machine
  • One year on she’s back at work at completed 5k run

A Leighton mum who heard doctors ask permission to switch off her life support system when she was in a coma believes her strong Buddhist faith saved her.

Jenny Bone, 39, of Sandhills – who was paralysed after contracting rare Guillain-Barre Syndrome – recalled the moment her life hung in the balance. “I wasn’t frightened,” she said. “I chanted in my head and prayed for a good outcome.”

I wasn’t frightened. I chanted in my head and prayed for a good outcome.

Her prayers obviously hit the spot. Because the mother-of-one, married to Grovebury Ward town councillor John Bone, is back at work and recently took part in a 5km race at Milton Keynes Festival of Running.

She completed the event in just over an hour and smiled: “Everyone clapped when I passed the finishing line and I’ve never been so happy to be last.”

The government building surveyor’s ordeal began a year ago when she found herself sitting on the floor of an empty tower block unable to get up.

“I had pins and needles which had progressed from my feet up my legs to my knees,” she said.

She struggled back to Leighton where, amazingly, her doctor recognised the condition. Jenny was sent to Luton&Dunstable Hospital but because she was finding it difficult to breathe, was told she probably had a chest complaint and would be seen in the morning.

She stopped breathing during the night and woke up in intensive care.

“Every nerve in my body was expiring,” she said. “It was incredibly painful.

“I had no reflexes and my eyes were fixed and dilated. You can’t respond to pain stimulus because you’re paralysed.”

Her life support sytem wasn’t switched off to allow her parents to get to her side. But by then the medical team realised what was wrong and she’d had a tracheotomy.

“I was unable to speak and could only communicate by clicking my tongue,” she remembered.

When she came out of hospital three months later, Jenny needed a Zimmer frame to walk her five-year-old son David to Greenleas School.

Now Jenny looks back on what happened as an “amazing experience”.

She said: “It made John virtually a single parent overnight. But I also realised how many friends we have and what’s important in my life.

“With Buddhism everything is an opportunity for learning and development.”