December 2, 2020 10:40:42 AM
MP Amy Callaghan has said she is back on her feet after a brain haemorrhage caused an “imminent risk” to her life.
The SNP MP has given her first TV interview since she collapsed in her home on June 10, only leaving hospital after four months of treatment and rehabilitation.
Speaking to STV, the East Dunbartonshire MP said she had to relearn how to sit up straight and walk as she recovered from the life-threatening haemorrhage.
Describing the moment she first fell ill, Ms Callaghan said: “I was in the bathroom and suddenly lost all movement and feeling in my left-hand side, in my arm and in my leg, and collapsed on the floor.
“When I regained consciousness, I had a piercing headache like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, the worst pain ever.
“Fortunately I had my phone in my pocket and managed to phone myself an ambulance, and then my partner came home and found me.”
She added: “The phrase they used to my family was ‘there was an imminent risk to life’. That’s quite scary.
“That’s the first time I’ve said it out loud, I think. Scarier for my family, at that point I wasn’t aware of how serious it was.”
The 28-year-old MP underwent two surgeries while at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.
She said: “You want to skip to the last stage, don’t you?
“Everyone goes into a rehab unit saying they’re desperate to walk again but before you learn to walk, you need to learn to sit. I couldn’t sit up straight.
“You need to learn to stand and then you work on your balance and then they let you loose with a Zimmer frame to try walking again, so that was quite an intense process, but in typical Glaswegian fashion we used humour to get ourselves through it.”
Ms Callaghan added: “On a Friday in rehab we would play different songs to have a more upbeat gym session.
“We would play songs like I’m Still Standing or I’m Alive, just to keep ourselves going and motivated.”
The MP said she will treat the scars from her surgeries as “marks of courage and strength”.
She has previously battled skin cancer.
Initially, Ms Callaghan was only able to see her family through window visits but was eventually allowed a visit from her dog Alfie, which she described as “incredible”.
She added: “I always knew that I had the strength and the courage and the determination from being unwell previously to see myself through this but of course there were some very dark times that my family experienced and went through as well, so I do sometimes see how happy they are to have me here and that just means that wee bit extra.
“Having Christmas together will be a really lovely time for us all, extra special this year, as it will be for everyone I’m sure coming through this terrible year.”