Here, Lyn Stefen, 64, tells the story in her own words.
￼I was at home when my phone buzzed with a message from my youngest daughter Holly, 33.
Notice anything different? she texted me, alongside a picture of herself. She was flashing an engagement ring!
Heart bursting with delight, I scrambled to respond.
Oh, is it snowing in the background? I teased. Really I’d known all along!
Holly’s fiancé, Florian, had asked my husband Roland, 70, for her hand in marriage.
I’d been excitedly waiting for his proposal, which he did with the stunning Blue Mountains as a backdrop.
Congratulating Holly, we started making preparations for their big day, a year away.
Going to dress fittings, menu tastings and venue hunting, Holly and I were a well-oiled machine. And I found the perfect mother-of-the-bride outfit too.
Holly called me often, asking for advice on everything from invitations to wedding favours.
‘How about I make some biscuits to give to guests?’ I suggested.
Holly was thrilled with the idea at giving something homebaked, and it would save some money too.
The week before her wedding, I prepared everything to start baking.
But as I bent over to clean the oven, I felt a sharp pain in my back.
Must be my old injury flaring up, I thought, remembering a back injury I’d had when I fell off a horse years earlier.
After a visit to my osteopath, I felt much better.
Soon, I whipped up the first batch. They were heart-shaped biscuits with the words Holly & Flo.
Waking early on the Sunday before the Wednesday wedding to make more, I set up all the ingredients and poured myself a cup of tea.
Spilling some on the bench, I went to mop it up with a paper towel.
As I leaned forward, my back spasmed violently.
Excruciating pain overcame me, like I was being stabbed with a knife. Gasping in agony, I felt faint.
I thought about calling out Roland’s name as I fought the swooning feeling.
Then, everything went black.
When my eyelids fluttered open, Roland and some ambulance workers were gathered around me.
‘What’s wrong, Lyn?’ my hubby asked. He’d placed a cushion under my head after I’d hit it on the cold, tiled floor. I tried to answer him, but my words slurred. Then, I drifted back into unconsciousness.
The jolting of the ambulance taking me to the hospital brought me back to earth again.
Why am I in an ambulance? I wondered.
Wheeling me straight into emergency, I had an MRI and CT scan on my brain.
I felt dizzy and nauseous, so I drifted back to sleep.
They kept me in hospital as we waited for the results of the scans.
Later, a doctor arrived at my bedside. When I’d keeled over in the kitchen, I’d hit my head so hard on the floor, it had caused three bleeds on my brain.
‘It caused a part of your brain to die,’ he told me. I was dumbfounded. How could a part of my brain just be dead?
It was the section that controlled balance, which explained why I felt dizzy and was unable to stand up.
Stunned, I sat in bed trying to process the news.
I thought about Holly, running about getting everything ready for her wedding in three days’ time.
‘My daughter’s getting married on Wednesday, is there any chance of me getting out by then?’ I asked.
The doctor replied with a firm but gentle, ‘No’.
It was devastating to hear, especially after how hard we’d all worked.
While I was heartbroken, I told Roland there was no way I wanted him to miss it too.
‘You need to walk her down the aisle,’ I said.
On the day of the wedding, I watched as a gale blew outside the window. It was raining heavily and
I could hear thunderclaps. What else could go wrong for us? I thought.
Later that afternoon, I heard a few gasps in my ward and looked up in surprise.
A stunning girl, wearing a long, white gown had walked in. It was Holly!
Looking absolutely angelic, my beautiful daughter had made time after the ceremony to visit her mum.
Roland, Florian and a photographer were there too as Holly gave me a big hug.
‘How are you feeling Mum?’ she asked. ‘You look gorgeous,’ I said. Then I turned to the photographer.
‘If you take my photo I’ll kill you,’ I joked, as everyone laughed.
Despite my protestations, she took some beautiful shots of us all, as I sat in my hospital nightie. I didn’t feel like the glamorous mother of the bride I’d planned, but I was so happy she came to visit.
Holly gushed about the beautiful ceremony, which had been moved indoors due to the rainstorm.
‘I just wish you were there,’ she said. My other daughters, Lee, 38, and Ingrid, 35, showed me videos and photos they took at the wedding too.
Three months on, I’m back home and slowly recovering from the brain bleeds.
Unfortunately, I still suffer with dizziness. The injury caused me to lose my sense of smell and warped my tastebuds. Toothpaste tastes like petrol and I can’t smell a whiff of food, even if I stick my nose in a jar of Vegemite. To add salt to the wound, I never tasted my wedding biscuits either!
I know I’m lucky to be up and about, but I wish I’d been more careful.
Now, if I start to feel faint, I sit on a chair or the floor. It’s unbelievable that I got brain damage from wedding planning!
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