This weekend The Steelers learn’t that one of our family members has been and continues to suffer following a brain stem bleed and devastating stroke.
Many of you will know Rich Bateman, his wife Claire and son James.
Below is the story Claire wrote and placed on her Just Giving Page – please read it, and if you can donate where applicable.
The Steelers are looking at helping with some fund raising projects and will advise more in due course.
My name is Claire and I’m lucky to be married to Rich, the most caring and loving father and husband anyone could ask for. He is a massive supporter of Sheffield Steelers Ice Hockey team and as a family we follow them at both home and away games. This was precious time together, as Rich worked long hours and away from home through the week as a long distance HGV driver.
On the 23rd November 2021, whilst alone in his truck in Essex and without warning, Rich suffered a brain stem bleed which resulted in a devastating stroke. Rich was rushed to Basildon University Hospital and throughout the day I was receiving updates from Consultants treating Rich. That afternoon, I received the nightmare call advising me and James, our 13 year old son, to quickly make the journey to Basildon as it was unlikely Rich would make it through the night.
Well in true Rich style he did survive, but remained unresponsive and again we were told that the outcome was bleak. For the next two weeks, Rich remained in Basildon Hospital, in a coma on a ventilator, with me travelling down and staying with him as much as possible. On Monday 6th December, a bed became available in the Neuro Critical Care Unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield. Rich was stable enough to make the journey back to Sheffield, with a team of medical staff making sure he was comfortable. I dont know if Rich knew he was back in Sheffield, or it was pure coincidence, but when I visited him the following day he was conscious and was able to respond with simple movements.
Rich remained in critical care for the next six weeks with the main focus being to wean him off ventilation and his tracheostomy. He was then moved to the Acute Stroke ward, where he started to receive small amounts of physio and occupational therapy. A bed became available in the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit in Sheffield, on 8th February 2022, where he is still receiving inpatient care.
Rich has been fighting ever since to retrain his brain and body to eat, talk, walk, swallow, in fact everything we take for granted in life. Rich is making slow and steady progress. He is now able to communicate and his speech is improving every day. In recent weeks, Rich has been able to start eating softened foods and we are hoping that this will improve further so he is less reliant on the need for tube feeding. He has full feeling in both sides of his body but is still very weak. Only intense rehabilitation can improve this along with Rich’s determination and positivity – two things which are never in doubt. We have been told that this journey is a marathon and not a sprint and we know that we have months and potentially years of rehabilitation and recovery to go.
Whilst the care Rich has received so far has been amazing, he needs more. Rich is still very young at 43 and has a full life in front of him. We’re hoping a bed becomes available in a more focused hospital setting but this may not be funded.
All Rich wants to do is live his life to the fullest, no matter what that may be, at home with James and me. Life will never be the same again for Rich so we need to make adjustments to enable him to become more independent. This may mean more intense outpatient rehabilitation along with alterations to the house and equipment to help Rich live a more normal life.
Rich, James and I would appreciate any donations you could make, big or small to help speed up Rich’s recovery and get him home….and back to watching the Steelers!!!