Don’t catch me if you can : Pensioner has ultra rare brain condition and needs strangers to let him fall if they see him collapse – because it ‘reboots’ his brain
A pensioner prone to collapsing is asking strangers NOT to catch him – because he has a rare condition which means he needs to fall over to ‘reboot’ his BRAIN.
Epileptic Michael Perryman, 67, hopes not to rely on the kindness of strangers when he takes a tumble in the street.
Michael regularly falls over but if someone catches him before he lands his body struggles to recover and he feels unwell for up to two weeks.
But if Michael is allowed to hit the deck his brain ‘reboots’ itself and he’s usually back on his feet within five minutes and suffers no ill-effects.
He collapses because his body releases a surge of adrenalin but if he is caught before he lands the adrenalin keeps pumping and stays in his system making hum unwell.
But if he is allowed to land and recover on his own unaided – his body recovers and is back on his feet within minutes.
Dad-of-two Michael said: “It’s terrible, but the kindness of strangers can make things worse.I never hurt myself when I fall.
“Something is still functioning. Apparently when I land I always land with my arm out and put my head against it.
“The other day it happened twice but it may happen as little as twice a month. I just try to avoid crowds.
“I can only snap out of it if I mentally switch off and I can’t do that if someone’s trying to support me. I’m a freak, I accept that. It’s how I cope with life.”
Michael, who has suffered several incidents of brain damage, says he has fantastic vision.
But his brain cannot create an image out of his peripheral vision meaning if something ever catches his eye it comes as a huge shock.
Doctors reckon medical marvel Michael suffers such an extreme release of adrenaline causes a primitive response in his brain, forcing him to topple backwards.
He believes the adrenaline will continue to flow and won’t stop until he is allowed to recover alone.
He says doctors are baffled by the condition, which is caused by his flight or fight reaction going into overdrive.
Michael believes it is caused by multiple instances of brain damage, including a doctor hitting him with forceps at birth and banging his head on a desk as he fixed a computer.
His blindness out of the corner of his eyes, a condition known as homonymous hemianopia, began after an operation to curb his epileptic fits in 1997.
Doctors removed a portion of his brain, successfully preventing further epileptic fits but that is when he developed the rare condition.
Despite their good intentions, he says if someone attempts to rouse him it can lengthen his recovery from five minutes to up to ten days.
He said: “It feels very much like concussion, you can’t think clearly and it’s difficult to speak. For those days I just can’t think clearly enough to organise myself.”
Michael says his first marriage broke down as his brain damage worsened and has been unable to work as a lab assistant since the operation.
His condition is so unusual it has no name and staff at his local train station, Redhill, have been briefed by bosses what to do if he collapses on a train or at the station.
Michael took a turn during a visit to East Surrey Hospital earlier this month, and well-meaning staff interrupted his recovery.
He said: “When I toppled they grabbed me, I collapsed to the ground again and was worse. I want to feel safe when I’m there.
“I want to know, what are they actually going to do to make sure I’m safe in that hospital?”
Chief nurse for the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, Fiona Allsop, said: “In line with our open and honest approach with the people we care for, all our staff have a duty of care to look after and ensure the safety of our patients.
“If they did nothing to stop a patient falling to the ground, and possibly injuring themselves, they would be failing in this duty.
“I am sorry to hear Mr Perryman is unhappy about his care. He has not raised his concerns with us and I would encourage him to get in touch with us so we can discuss any questions he might have.”