A COMMUNITY campaigner has told how she fought back from the brink of death after falling into a coma at the wheel of her car.
Lynn Jeffries, a disability advocate and city councillor, lay unconscious for about a week in a diabetic coma and spent six weeks in total in York Hospital, but is now recovering well.
Medics feared for her life and even contacted her designated next of kin, a friend living in Australia.
Coun Jeffries, 56, slipped into a coma on September 8 while sitting at the wheel of her stationary car outside her home in Shipton Road.
She had not been driving but thinks she had gone down to collect something from the car.
She remembers little about what happened next, but believes she lay unconscious in the car all night before being spotted the next morning and rushed to hospital.She remained in a coma in intensive care for a week. When she came around, she said, medics “kept telling me I’m lucky to be alive.” She stayed in hospital for six weeks altogether.
Coun Jeffries, who has suffered from type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes for 25 years, said she remembered feeling unwell in the preceding days.
“I was feeling a bit low, and I’m usually quite lively.”
She put it down to the strain of resigning from the Labour group on City of York Council a few weeks earlier.
She said: “I did find that quite stressful.”
She has normally been good at keeping her diabetes under control, she said, and never slipped into a coma before. But before becoming ill, her blood sugar monitor had broken so she was unable to check her blood sugar levels.
“I’ve got a new one, now”, she said. When she left hospital on November 2, Coun Jeffries was moved into council-run supported accommodation at Barstow House, which has a warden call service.
But the long-standing campaigner, who has been partially disabled herself since a skiing accident in 1992, said she was determined to continue to represent Westfield residents.
She has already been to a number of residents’ and community meetings, travelling by bus or taxi because she is unable to drive until she has heard from DVLA.
“But I’m very definitely back," she said. “I've had fantastic support, and I’m looking forward to getting on with it.”
She plans to fight her Westfield seat at the next election, this time as an independent, and she hopes to hold a meeting to encourage more independent candidates to stand.
“That does seem to be what people would like – somebody that will represent the people voting for them,” she said.
Council leader James Alexander said he was delighted to hear Coun Jeffries was out of hospital and recovering.
The Labour group had sent a card to wish her well in hospital. “We look forward to her contributions as a councillor again once she is fully recovered,” he said.