A husband signed “I love you” to his wife in an amazing moment that was captured on camera as he struggled for his life.
Roy Norquoy, 46, incorrectly believed he had injured his right shoulder in the gym when in fact he had toxic shock syndrome, which led to sepsis and put him in a week-long coma.
Amazingly, the Orkney, Scotland, pier master had only seldom informed his 47-year-old wife Sarah that he loved her before making the heartfelt remark from his hospital bed.
Even though we’ve only been married for six years, Sarah, a housing support officer, said: “He doesn’t use the three magic words very frequently, even though he shows me how much he adores me.
So, this was undoubtedly the most unforgettable experience of my life.
“Hearing — or at least seeing him sign — ‘I love you’ moments later was beautiful. I’d just been told he could die.”
Roy first displayed the telltale symptoms of toxic shock syndrome in March 2015, when his right shoulder began to hurt following a workout. Toxic shock syndrome is brought on by bacteria that ordinarily live inoffensively on the skin, nose, or mouth, but which penetrate deeper into the body and release toxins that can harm skin and organs.
Within hours of being taken to the hospital, this turned into sepsis, a rare but occasionally fatal infection-related condition.
In 2013, Roy received a diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), a chronic inflammatory illness that causes the body’s immune system to target healthy liver cells. Roy was aware of his condition and was aware that he was more susceptible to getting sick.
Roy experienced periodic sickness due to AIH, but Sarah noted that he was committed to being active and was preparing for a half marathon by frequenting the gym.
“He said he seriously hurt his shoulder when he got home one day. He went to bed early that night in a good amount of discomfort, but we just believed it was a muscular strain.
But in the middle of the night, shivering and in pain, Roy woke up.
He woke up in a bad state, but we were told to call his GP in the morning when we called the NHS non-emergency line, Sarah said. He was in pain and couldn’t even dress himself.
I recall thinking, “He’s going to die,” as I was loading him into the car.
He was in pain, unable to talk, and his eyes were rolling backward in his head.
“At first, I assumed it had to do with his AIH condition.”
Roy’s doctor summoned an ambulance right away, and the paramedic informed Sarah that Roy had toxic shock syndrome, an uncommon but serious disease.
Roy was moved into his own room when they arrived at the Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall, Orkney’s capital, 20 miles from their home in Quoyloo. This is because the hospital lacks an intensive care section.
Sarah was led into a private family room and informed that her husband’s condition was fast deteriorating.
His illness was unrelated to the AIH, according to the doctors, but it made the sepsis harder to treat.
She called his sisters Sandra Higgins and Linda Norquoy, as well as his children from a previous marriage, Ali, 28, Benny, 26, and Gareth, 24, to break the news to them after becoming distraught.
She continued, “Roy was going worse and worse before my eyes.
“I was contacting all of my friends, informing them that Roy was in severe condition and requesting their prayers.
Doctors advised him to travel 155 kilometers to a hospital on the mainland with a critical care unit. They feared he was too unwell to move, though.
At that point, I was informed that every breath he took might be his last and that they were planning to put him into a coma so that his body could preserve its energy.
Before Roy was placed into an induced coma at 3 p.m. on March 19, six hours after his hospital admission, Sarah, who was inconsolable, told Roy she loved him and that everything would be well.
His close family and friends saw him before he boarded the hospital helicopter that night, which took him to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.
With tears in her eyes, Sarah continued, “I kissed his forehead just before he left and promised him I’d see him tomorrow.
“Saying farewell to him would have been too definitive,”
The following day, Sarah took a boat to the mainland, where her 47-year-old friend Carrie met her that evening.
Doctors at Raigmore Hospital determined that Roy had sepsis as a result of toxic shock syndrome. He also suffered from pneumonia and numerous organ failure.
When people think of toxic shock, they typically associate it with tampons, but Roy’s right shoulder really tested positive for an infection, Sarah continued.
They advised me to be ready for the worst because they stated he was in a terrible state.
Katie, 23, and Elliot, 17, are Sarah’s children from a previous marriage. Sarah recalled seeing Roy lying in a hospital bed, wired up.
“It was horrible to witness the man you love, your soulmate, like that,” she added. “His eyes were moving.
Nevertheless, I wished for everything to continue as usual for Roy to hear my voice.
Sarah, who first met Roy in 2008 at a church, was unable to deal with losing him after only a few months of marriage.
Although the doctors had stated that they were unsure of his prognosis, she continued, “I genuinely didn’t know what I would do if I lost him.”
“I couldn’t believe he could be stolen from me so swiftly when it took us so long to find each other.”
But to her surprise, Roy began pointing to his tummy a short time into her visit.
“I responded, ‘Is your puggy sore?’ since the Orkney word for stomach is ‘puggy,’” she said. “ All he did was shake his head.
“Do you need a nurse?” I enquired. Then he began pointing at me while raising his finger.
“What are you saying?” I inquired. Then, when he repeated it, I got it. He was making the “I love you” sign.
He said he loves me, I yelled. My cheeks were weeping, and I couldn’t believe it.
Hopeful, Sarah stayed by Roy’s bedside for the following seven days while he lay immobile in a coma and others came to see him.
Since we all agreed that “where there is life, there is hope,” that is how we felt, Sarah stated, “I didn’t want people to say goodbye.”
Then, a week later, medical professionals declared Roy might be awakened from his coma due to his improvement.
He was brought around by himself, away from me, so when I went in to check on him a few hours later, I was overjoyed to see him awake, Sarah recounted.
Roy made a sluggish, incremental recovery while being treated in the hospital.
Sarah, who stayed in lodging supplied by the hospital while Roy was on the mainland, said of Roy, “Roy is so strong and motivated and was desperate to be well again.”
But we continue to be baffled as to how he contracted sepsis.
Roy was released from the hospital two weeks after being taken out of his coma and has since fully recovered with the aid of physical therapy and bed rest.
“Watching the video of me signaling ‘I love you’ is like watching someone else,” Roy said. “I have no memory of what occurred to me.
“This journey has been so much a part of our Christian faith and what has kept us strong,”