I look forward to the sessions as it gives me focus and a determination to improve my fitness and self-confidence

Terry Fisher, 67 from Darlington, tells us about his journey, from being in a coma and unable to walk to being back on the golf course with help from Connect Health and the Healthy Darlington Programme.

Terry’s condition was so severe he was in an induced coma for 11 days. After discharge, following physiotherapy from Connect Health and gym work, he is now almost back to full fitness.


At the end of September 2018, I woke up in the night feeling sick and ended up in A&E. I deteriorated overnight and had major organ failure (heart, liver and kidneys). I was critically ill in ITU with sepsis and pneumonia in both lungs. I was on full life support and in an induced coma for 11 days, spending almost four weeks in hospital. I lost two and a half stones in weight due to muscle wastage, and as a result, when I was discharged from hospital I couldn’t stand unaided and was unable to walk without a frame.

Before I was ill I was keen golfer, playing three times a week, and was generally quite fit.


After my illness I couldn’t do anything without help, and I was feeling very down.

I went to see my GP and he said that I may never get back to full fitness, but I just got on with building myself back up. I couldn’t walk very far, and I was in a lot of pain, and so I self-referred via my GP to Connect Health, and was given an appointment within two weeks.


When I first went to the physio, I was struggling on two crutches, and couldn’t walk without any support.

My left leg was numb because of nerve damage. I was assessed and had three sessions with a practice-based senior physiotherapist, along with exercises to do at home and follow up appointments. I came out of hospital in October and was back walking with sticks by Christmas and gradually getting stronger.


As soon as I was deemed fit enough, I was referred for physio sessions with Sadie from Connect Health.

I’ve gone from strength to strength, increasing my training sessions on each visit.

It was tough at first, but I quite enjoyed it, I was getting stronger all the time.

I did a ten week cardiovascular and strength-based programme, with a lot of work with weights and walking on the treadmill. Sadie was a big help, she was really nice and knew how to keep my morale up.


I was given the option to join the Healthy Darlington Programme at the Dolphin Centre, and it gave me a real boost.

It was so much better than doing exercises at home, and I really enjoyed going down to the gym.


As far as strength goes, I’m back up to my strength now apart from my left foot.

It’s still quite numb. It’s as if I’ve had a stroke and it sometimes won’t do as it’s told, but I’m not too bad.


I’m back playing golf now.

I can’t walk 18 holes yet, so I’ve bought a buggy to get me round the course.


I’d tell anyone to never give up.

It’s a long process; it’s been a year, and I’m still not exactly like I was before, but I can do most things. And I’m still here, enjoying life. I’m enjoying spending time with my brother in Australia.


I can’t praise Connect Health enough.

Especially Sadie that looked after me, she’s fantastic. I still recommend her, and always will.


It’s been a long road and sometimes a struggle, but I look forward to the sessions as it gives me focus and a determination to improve my fitness and self-confidence.



Download Terry’s full story here

Find out more about Connect Health’s Patient Services here

Find out more about the Healthy Darlington Programme here

The Healthy Darlington Programme

The Healthy Darlington Programme is a Council-run scheme operated at the Dolphin Centre community gym. Any healthcare professional can refer into the subsidised 12-week scheme. Each patient has an hour-long initial appointment where they record body measurements and weight, as well as discussing goals and agreeing what they would like to achieve. The professional will then create a programme for that individual which is reviewed at three, six and twelve week appointments to see if any changes need to be made. Patients can use the gym, swimming pool and have access to specific classes e.g. stroke rehabilitation to aid their recovery.