A mother-of-three woke up paralysed from the neck down after falling out of bed while ‘messing about’ and doing bunny hops over her husband.
Sophie Rodgers, 44, partially severed her spinal cord after ‘misjudging’ a jump over 52-year-old Guy Rodgers and falling out of their double bed, knocking herself out in August 2019.
Sophie, of Ripon, North Yorkshire, said: ‘I was mucking about and bunny hopping over my husband on my hands and knees and just being a wally messing in bed as you do, I misjudged a jump and fell off the bed.
‘He was fast asleep and I was trying to wake him up because I wanted a bit of hanky panky. I tried to wake him up by jumping either side of him.
Sophie Rodgers (pictured above), 44, partially severed her spinal cord after ‘misjudging’ a jump over Guy Rodgers, 52, and falling out of their double bed, knocking herself out in 2019
‘He didn’t particularly wake up. He was just like “oh, get off, I gotta get up early” because obviously he’s up at half four in the morning so he was in a bit of a sleep.
‘He’d rolled over and gone back to sleep and I sort of jumped back over to my side and I just missed.’
When the ex-supervisor for the National Trust woke up the next morning, she ‘couldn’t move anything’ and was rushed to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, where she was told she would ‘probably never walk again’.
She has since endured ‘horrendous’ nerve pain leaving her screaming each time she was touched and three operations, including one to fit titanium rods in her neck and another to have a stoma fitted.
Despite her bleak prognosis, Ms Rodgers was determined to walk out of hospital and left staff ‘flabbergasted’ when she did so three months later, after intense physio meant she could take a few painful steps.
The mother-of-three from Ripon, North Yorkshire, pictured with her husband on their wedding day in August 2018, around one year before the accident took place
An X-ray taken of the titanium pins in Ms Rodgers’ neck in September 2019. She has endured three operations, including one to have a stoma fitted
But Ms Rodgers claimed that, since leaving the hospital, she has been ‘mourning the death of her body’ and is forced to rely on her husband for help because she is unable to even go outside on her own for fear of being unable to get home.
In a bid to ‘regain her life and independence’, she is now fundraising £5,000 for a three-wheeled roadworthy scooter on GoFundMe that will mean she can get around by herself.
Ms Rodgers from Ripon, North Yorkshire, said: ‘I was paralysed from the neck down after falling out of bed.
‘In hindsight I think I must have knocked myself out and I remember waking up and I thought my legs were really cold and I couldn’t move them but at that point I could move my arms.
‘I was trying to pull myself up on the bed with my legs not doing anything I couldn’t and I tried to push myself down the side of my bed, to try to get to the end of it to pull myself up and it didn’t work. Then I must have fallen and lost consciousness again or fallen asleep.
‘My husband woke up at about 2:30am for his usual toilet break and he saw me on the floor and said ‘what are you doing down there?’
‘I said ‘I’d fallen out of bed and I got so cold I can’t bloody move anything, I can’t even get up’.
‘I was a dead weight and he picked me up and put me to bed and then he went to the toilet and got back into bed and thought nothing of it, and we fell asleep.
The ex-supervisor for the National Trust (pictured hours after being admitted to ICU in 2019) was rushed to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough
An X-ray of Ms Rodgers’ neck taken following the accident (pictured left) and two weeks after the operation on her neck in September 2019 (right)
‘In the morning he woke up and was getting dressed and he said ‘come on, you’re going to be late for work’ and I just couldn’t move anything.’
Ms Rodgers, who had just celebrated her one-year wedding anniversary with Guy, said she asked him to call an ambulance and initially thought she had a ‘trapped nerve’ because she couldn’t move anything from her neck down.
She was taken to the intensive care unit and then the specialist spinal unit where days later she received the devastating news that she was unlikely to walk again.
Ms Rodgers said: ‘A few days later he asked me to wiggle my toes and I think on the third or fourth day the tiniest tip on my right toe flickered.
‘I remember them saying I will probably never walk again but they’ll work hard to try and get movement from my waist up back.
‘My husband looked at them and said ‘you don’t know my wife’, because I’m very stubborn.
‘I was just in autopilot. I was totally aware of the situation I was in and I was totally aware that I could possibly never ever walk or move again and when they said they’d try and get the top bit moving, I was fine.
Ms Rodgers, pictured before her injury in June 2018, spent three months in hospital
‘Your brain’s got a way of protecting you from things and I think it shut some parts off so you can deal with the important things. It’s that fight or flight instinct.
‘My nerve pain was that bad that I’d scream if anyone touched me because it felt like a hot poker touching me and I constantly felt like my skin was burning – it was the worst pain you could ever feel in your life.
‘They have to roll you in hospital so you don’t get bed sores and every time they’d say ‘Oh God, I’m so sorry’ and I would just scream in pain because it just felt like I was being put in a fire.
‘It was the most pain I’ve ever experienced. I’ve had three children without any drugs or anything – I can just imagine that’s what it’s like being burnt alive, it was absolutely horrendous.’
The mother spent three months in hospital and said the gravitas of her diagnosis only hit home just three or four weeks before she was discharged.
Ms Rodgers said: ‘I never cried or got scared or worried about anything right up until I was nearly due to leave hospital, it just hit me and I think I cried for about five days.
‘I was feeling a bit sorry for myself when I realised ‘this is it, I’m never going to be able to do the jobs I used to do’ because they meant being fast on my feet, I was like ‘what the hell am I going to do?’
‘It’s bizarre because everything changes about you – it’s not just the fact that you can’t walk anymore and the fact that you’re dragging your feet on the floor and all the rest of it, your whole stance is different.
‘I don’t even look the same when I look in the mirror – my body shape has totally changed. I used to have quite a nice cute little bum and a nice little wiggle, that’s gone.
‘I don’t look the same and I hate looking in the mirror now, I can’t stand it. You’re just not the same, it’s just awful.’
Ms Rodgers said she had physio and an occupational therapist once a day in hospital, but ‘begged’ for another physio session each day to help speed up her progress.
The mother (pictured on Scarborough beach after she was discharged) left hospital in November and was pushed in her wheelchair to the nurses station where she managed to walk out with her walking stick, albeit ‘very slowly’
Ms Rodgers with her husband Guy in October 2019 – not long before she left the hospital in Middlesbrough
She left hospital in November and was pushed in her wheelchair to the nurses station where she managed to walk out with her walking stick, albeit ‘very slowly’.
The nerve damage from the accident meant Ms Rodgers suffers from bladder problems and incontinence, and had a stoma fitted in May.
But since being discharged from her three-month stay this year, her health has since got ‘worse’ because she has lost a lot of stamina that was built up over the course of two years.
Ms Rodgers said: ‘It’s like two years in I was doing really well and now I’m starting again but now with a stoma and a bladder that doesn’t want to behave itself, I must admit it’s really got me down.
‘I’m basically falling to pieces at the moment but I’ll get there. Everybody says ‘listen to your body and rest up’ when my body says ‘ok that’s enough’, I will push it that little bit more. I’d rather do that and have to rest up the next day, than not know my limit.
‘I’m not the same person – you’re brains the same but it’s like you’ve woken up in someone else’s body. It does change who you are. I’m not the same person, my confidence has gone.
‘It’s like you’re mourning the death of your body. You’re mourning it for a long time.
‘It’s just affected everything, even cuddles in bed are difficult because there are patches of skin on my back and when something touches them it feels like they are burning.
‘The worst thing is I’m stuck in doors and I’ve got no control over anything at the moment and the one thing I would like control over is my life – I would like to be able to say ‘oh, I fancy nipping to the shops today’ or ‘oh, I fancy seeing Shelley today’ and I can’t do that.’
Ms Rodgers, who had danced since the age of three, said she can travel short distances with a walker and takes a wheelchair out and about when they take trips that require lots of walking.
She has since had adaptations to her home including hand rails to help her climb the stairs, a bath lift and a blow up cushion to prevent bed sores.
But she has been unable to go out alone due to fear of getting too tired and being unable to return home.
Now Ms Rodgers is fundraising for a secondhand motorised scooter and specialist support clothes for stomas to help her ‘regain her independence’.
Ms Rodgers’ walker in March last year (pictured left) and the wrist and hand support she has to wear mainly at night to help ease spasms (right)
She said: ‘If I was able to get myself a three wheeler and just go to see my friends which are half an hour away, I’d cry, because it would give me that little bit of independence that I need because I have no independence.
‘I have to rely on people for absolutely everything. If I have an accident changing my stoma, I can’t clean it up, my poor husband has to do it.
‘The funds would be totally life changing because if I’m sat riding a motorised bike, it’s not going to wear me out, I’ll be going from A to B, my house to a friend’s house.
‘When I see my friends I’m back to the old me for the time I’m with them for a bit and I remember who I am for a bit.
‘I’m on a high for two to three days, imagine how I would feel and the progress I could make if I could get out for two to three days a week, to keep that high and momentum going.
‘I wanted to try and do something for myself. I know a GoFundMe is getting help from other people and I’m aware of that.
‘I also want to try and raise awareness of spinal injuries because people will see the outside and think ‘oh great, she’s walking to the car she’s doing really well’ but people’s perception is very different to the actual real truth and it’s another way to get it out there for people to try to understand.
‘Just getting a bit of my life back would mean the absolute world to me.’