Very few people would think that a routine trip to the dentist could be life changing but for Chris Doughty, Ocura Healthcare Furniture’s Regional Sales Support, it turned out to be the start of a battle to overcome a life-threatening illness.
Chris was diagnosed with MDS Myelodysplastic Syndrome (Hypoplastic MDS with Monosomy 7 and secondary del 20q Somatic ASXL 1 mutation, a bleeding phenotype), also known as bone marrow failure, in October 2014. MDS is a blood disorder that causes a drop in the number of healthy blood cells. Some people can also go on to develop acute myeloid leukaemia.
His diagnosis only came about after his dentist recommended he went to the doctor after suffering from a number of blood clots in his mouth. He started treatment in January 2015.
Having spent five months at King College Hospital NHS Trust in London plus regular check-up visits, he knows first-hand the difference the right furniture, particularly patient chairs, can make to wellbeing and recovery.
“The wacky ones look cool but they’re not practical. When you’re going to be sitting there getting your bloods or electrolytes done, for 6-8 hours, 2 – 3 times a week, you need to be super comfortable,” says Chris who is now back working full time at Ocura.
“You need very wide, padded arms, back support and one that’s easy to use. Having been in hospital for so long I’ve had a good chance to try everything out – there have been many couches, recliners, patient transfer trolleys, I know what’s going to be comfortable and what’s not.
“I lost so much weight during that time that it was painful to sit on anything remotely hard. I ended up with bruises along my arms from sitting in chairs with armrests that were too thin. You want a chair that you can almost curl up into. You spend so long in those chairs that you need to be able to sleep comfortably in them. It needs to give you the support you need, without being too hard.
“I was in the same room for over four months and had a compact, manual recliner chair. I found I was so weak that it was difficult to recline and the design of the armrests also made it difficult to stand up from,” he adds.
Chris during treatment at Kings College Hospital
Chris has built lasting relationships with the staff that helped save his life, including getting him through two Stem Cell transplants and Sepsis twice.
“They are such special people – they all just have a passion for life. That’s really the only way I can put it. I still remember them bringing me back from the brink. I could hear them talking to me and my wife and willing me to come back into the room. Even now when I go back for check-ups, you’re met with a big smile and a welcome,” he said.
After being discharged in the middle of 2015 Chris, a father of three, moved back up to Aberdeenshire to be back with his family.
“When I got out of hospital, I found my company had arranged to have a Tucson recliner delivered to the house I was staying in. It was just so comfortable – it made a huge difference to my recovery,” he says.
So, out of all the chairs that Chris has used, which is his favourite?
“Without a shadow of a doubt, it has to be Ocura’ s Boston waterfall back recliner chair. That might sound like a sale pitch but honestly; it was by far the best. They are really wow. You can almost curl up in them and sleep. But, if I’d had a chance to use our new wide-arm Colorado I think that would have actually been my number one choice. It wasn’t available when I was in hospital but it would have been brilliant too,” he says.
Chris also highly rates the mobile version of the Tucson recliner.
“You’re regularly being taken in for MRI scans, x-rays etc. Usually, that requires you to be transferred into a wheelchair which, when you’re feeling weak and ill, is the last thing you feel like. If you’re already sitting in the Tucson, it can do the job of the wheelchair and is much less of a hassle for both the patient and the nurses.”
Chris is hoping his experience can help other patients going through similar treatments. Kings College Hospital NHS Trust has since standardised on the Boston waterfall back chair. Chris and his family have also raised more than £11,000 for the Waddington Ward who played a critical role in helping Chris.
To find out more about Ocura’ s range of recliner chairs and other hospital furniture visit: www.ocura.co.uk or call the sales team on 01732 367 777.
Chris is now back at work and continuing his recovery