A bedridden woman who lives in constant agony says ‘sometimes… it would be more humane to take me out the back and shoot me’.
Erin Meegan – originally from East Molesey but now living in Perth, Australia – spends more than 20 hours a day lying down, as sitting up could kill her.
The 34-year-old needs life-changing surgery, having been diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), Craniocervical Instability (CCI), and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). These conditions affect her mobility, sight, memory, speech, heart rate and neck stability.
Explaining her conditions, Erin told Surrey Live:
With the CCI that means that my skull is sliding downwards on my neck, which causes brain stem compression, and this affects your breathing, heart rate and temperature control.
One of my biggest problems is my inability to be upright because as soon as I get up my heart rate increases and all the blood flows in the lower extremities of my body.
Erin used to be incredibly active, but her conditions means she’s constantly bedridden. With her husband in full-time work and her family in Surrey, she’s trying to get back home.
Unfortunately, Erin has a history of medical issues: she had to have open brain surgery when she was 24 years old after being diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia – a chronic nerve pain condition.
After a long recovery, she travelled to Perth where she met her husband, Isaac. In 2015 they got married and managed to enjoy a four-month honeymoon throughout southeast Asia and the east coast of Australia before settling down.
However, her health has took a steep decline in the years following.
I have terribly blurry vision, and there are days when I cannot look at a screen, or speak, so for the past week I have been blindfolded.
I get a lot of pins and needles and get very fatigued very quickly. Sometimes I feel like it would be more humane to take me out the back and shoot me.
While she can get around on her own, ‘slow and steady like a tortoise’, Erin feels ‘terribly guilty’ about the impact on Isaac and the family.
Isaac told Surrey Live:
I work full time and I am also acting as a carer, so I do not have a lot of time to look after myself.
I have been deteriorating with my own physical health, and my own mental health, to the point where it is now very difficult to maintain.
It’s been particularly difficult with the fundraising and being separated from Erin’s support network in the UK.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel: after getting the official diagnoses, Erin set about finding someone who could help.
Luckily she found a renowned neurosurgeon but there’s just one issue. He operates out of Barcelona, and she needs to raise £55,000 by November 1 to arrange to get the surgery she needs.
As such, the family have set up a JustGiving page to try and get the money together and ‘relieve the stress on our families’.
You run a million marathons to get the correct diagnosis, only to find out that there are no other surgeons other than in America and Barcelona.
With me being so incapacitated, we have not got the ability to campaign as much as we need to, but we’re trying to raise as much money as we can.
We could never repay them enough if they did choose to donate. It is probably the biggest gift that anyone could give.
To donate and find out more, visit Erin’s fundraising page here.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.