(energetic music) – I met Alex at the top of the
ladder about 10 years ago. He came to me to do some work. When I first saw him immediately. He was so nice and so nice. He is the dearest person
you can imagine. Very opposite to me and very kind. So I always have that little
bit of a crush on Alex. – I was really vain. I always spend time in front of
the mirror, do my hair, make sure I look good,
have the right shirt, make sure my jeans are
nice and tidy, good shoes. I always judge all shoes. (laughs out loud) We were just an ordinary family. Me, Lucy, and our son Sam. Then just over two years
before that, I caught a common cold.
It was to change the course of
my life overnight. People saw that I lost parts of my body , but what people didn't see
was the incredible impact it had on my family life. – You know Sam is afraid of Alex's face. It's hard for me to see. – [Alex] He knows I'm wrong. I can see it in his eyes. It's like, "What happened?" You know,
we were miles away before I fell. – He has to work hard on it
like before because I'm definitely not
He'll be sorry. (slow tempo music) I remember it's Saturday morning. Both Sam and Alex were sick. Alex just opened the door and his eyes popped out of his head and he's hot, he had no top on and his entire top half was just purple. It was literally
happening in front of me, going purple. He was shaking, He didn't know
if I was there or not.
He was as if unconscious. I didn't know what it was. You know and he had the flu for me. (loud ringing) – [Dispatch] Ambulance
emergency tell me exactly what happened. – My husband's
body is full of rashes, it's just a rash. It just looks like a status. And he had the worst worst headache for two or three days. Like a crippling headache. – [Dispatch] He's throwing up, isn't he? – Yeah, and he can't pee. I think it was always
just blood coming out. It's just sore, it's just sore. – Well, well they are
organizing help for you. Stay tuned and I'll tell you exactly what to do next okay? – Okay. The paramedics were in our kitchen and put him on the seat and they couldn't get any blood or anything out of him or do anything because his veins were shutting down. You've never seen anything, I've never seen anything like this. I never did, it just didn't think
for me it was, this was serious.
Well, when we got inside the
ambulance and they gave him some penicillin, I was thinking, "Yeah, God."
it will be fine now. " He's safe now. (ominous music) – [Narrator] Alex's flu-like symptoms were caused by common bacteria normally found harmlessly
on the surface of the skin. In an extremely rare case, streptococcal fiber A,
or toxic shock syndrome, entered Alex's body and
attacked from within. – Ran out the doctor and he sat down with us and told us he had Strep A. I didn't even know Strep existed. He didn't even know what Strep
No, she had no idea. Everything was dying. All his fingers were dying, all his fingers were dying, all his earlobes, nose. (ominous music) – I thought we were going to lose him. I didn't think he would survive. We had a decision to make. The surgeon said the left
arm would kill him if it wasn't removed. So I gave approval for the left hand and she hurriedly spoke and said.
" And following the hand, "we'll have to take both feet." And then she said, "And me."
do your best with your right hand. ” She worked on the right arm and worked hard on it with the hand, but the hand has to go. (high-pitched ringtone) (festive music) – I came back the next morning feeling very scared and very vulnerable for him. Really vulnerable. – You know when I woke up, when I remember the pain. I can remember seeing
friends around the bed when things were really bad. When you're on life support
and you're in a coma You have no idea what's going on.
You have no idea what's going on. And no one will tell you
"Well, we think you're dying." And I remember the pain of like, "A God that's really real." You know, my legs are gone. – They called me and they
wanted to take him slightly on a ventilator
to find out if he has brain damage. And all these counselors,
all these nurses around me, and they said would you ask him a question so he could shake his head that only you two would know? In our relationship for the
last eight years, every morning I wake up
and say, “Will you marry me? "No." I asked if he would take me to
see if he had brain damage and he said, "No." So no brain damage. Absolutely fine, the brain is working fine. (slow tempo music) – [Narrator] Over nine months, Alex undergoes 11 major procedures
to stabilize his body.
He spent most of his time in the hospital away from his family. (kid talking crazy) – Don't tell me. (laughs out loud) Alex's partner Lucy and their three-year-old son Sam visit
as soon as possible. – [Alex] Lucy and Sam, those two you know, mean the world to me. I am incredibly happy to have them. – [Lucy] The lips are on their way. It won't reopen. – Huh? – It won't open again. – So yawning, laughing without injury. Today, Alex is
ready for his first mouth surgery. The family hopes it will
help recreate his face. But it will be the first
in a series of operations that could take more than two years. (too strong) – I chose George Clooney's lips. No? – [Alex] Oh yes, talk. – I'm brilliant, brilliant! – Look what we got. – [Alex] Is that your dad? – Why? (melancholic music) – [Alex] At the moment it's really hard because it's a little
boy saw so much his father is going through huge
– [Lucy] For a son to
see his father like this, it's pretty scary. Seeing him look like a
completely different person. Okay, bye dad. – [Sam] Bye dad. – [Alex] Bye Sam. – [Lucy] Kiss, give him a kiss. Give him a kiss on his old lips because he will get new lips. – I look so foreign to him. I think he's trying to get close. Give me a hug.
But he definitely won't kiss me. Face surgery for the
relationship with Sam I think this is extremely important. Hopefully this will change everything. Ideally, look like I'm used to. (loud ticking) I've just been really excited for the last half hour. Really excited. If you just don't want to look like this. Yeah, I don't miss it. I don't miss it at all. (loud beep) – [Narrator] After 13 hours of surgery, Alex is back. (weak laughter) (ominous music) – [Alex] You know you
look at it and think, “Jesus, what on earth. "What am I looking at?" And I think it's the shock factor. I felt very scared, I felt alone. You know, I couldn't stop crying. And then, as my surgeon explained the excess skin on the left,
I finally understood why. You are tested by
skin times of rapid healing. You can use it again
rather than continue pieces of skin off you. They can use the skin
they took it the first time.
You know I said to Lucy, I said, "Look, maybe your people should warn you." "when I'm sick of
how I look. "Because it's quite a shock." And he's like, "It's not." "You look wrong." – [Lucy] The Big Red Cow. – After almost a
year of operation, Alex came home with the hope of adjusting to a new life with my family. – Yeah, it's down. It's down. It's all just going to grow
on its face, isn't it? – It's going to happen someday.
– Yeah, it's okay. – I know, it looks stagnant . – No. Look at me. No, just because you
stick out a little bit which is your next flap. No. You still look like a clown. (weak laugh) (imitates a cow) – How does he look, Dad? (imitates a cow) – Cow. I didn't think going into surgery that it would have such a
profound effect on me and Sam. But unfortunately it has. Come here. I want to give you a big cuddle. – No kiss. – No, I'm not a kisser. I think if I she was three
and a half years old and I would look at my
father in this state then I would find it very
very hard and very strange.
I miss that time with Sam and the closeness so much. It's sad. I think it's one thing it gives me everything i miss and. Definitely. – He has customers there. Now that Alex is home, Lucy has returned to
running the family business. A pub and guesthouse on your own. – How many rooms does he want? – He says only one wants this. – It's alright. – Yeah? – Yes Yes Yes.
(loud beep) – Alex is
now being looked after by a carer at home while he
continues his rehabilitation and mouth surgery. – It's really hard the first time I got
back into bed with him to have a cuddle. It's like getting
back in bed with someone you know
You've been away from you. I didn't know who they
were, I was too scared, I was too scared to touch
or ask for a cuddle. And they are afraid. She's afraid of her body, you know. She must be thinking to herself oh my god that's what
she ended up with. – What must Lucy see, how I was, how I am now. You know, I just can't
imagine what he thinks when he looks at me. (slow tempo music) I know he struggles a lot. It's hard to see with it. You know, she always worked so hard.
She's always stressed,
you know it's hard work. I just think it would be a lot easier for her without all of that. (party music) – You know, everyone, I
'm sure people still think that. Do you know why I'm still with him? Do you know why? I absolutely love and it's the first time
I've ever loved someone the way I loved someone. You know what, when I got with Alex, I didn't care who he was until he made me smile and made me a cup of tea in the morning.
Now the cup of tea
in the morning is gone. But he still makes me
smile, argue, question me, and he's the only person who does that. Well, not
because he had nice legs. Shocking legs. Shocking legs. So I don't really care about feet. But yeah, love. (slow tempo music) (slow tempo music) Alex has been home with his six weeks. But now he is returning to the hospital for an extended period of rehabilitation. – You will be allright? – [Alex] Yeah. – Sure? Good. Good? – Yes good. – Okay, I love you so much. Good? – Uh huh. – [Narrator] In an effort to
improve motor skills and become more independent, he will stay at the rehabilitation
center for 10 weeks. – You are afraid? – Yeah. – Yeah. Don't worry, okay? – Okay. – Okay. This is a step to get, you know, a little bit of my Alex back and it's going to give him his independence.
Call me tonight Yeah? And work hard. Taste it for the first time in your life. – No. I am very concerned at this point. I think full of expectations. (indistinct shaking) – [Narrator] Now you're in a
hurry because you're in a hurry or you're in a hurry because– – No no no no. – [Narrator] Because
this is your usual speed? – That's the usual speed. – Okay. – Sometimes I can– – That's really good. – I can hit you. – [Lucy] The hardest thing for him is losing his arms. – Yeah, well
done using the bed. – His loves in life are golf, cooking, reading, writing, drawing, and all take all the hands you know. And he was a big hugger. Alex loved cuddling. Especially with Sam. – Want to try it first and see? – I made him go
before or I made him
all these things before, You know I saw that he was sick. But now he is not able to hug his son and have that feeling of proper cuddling, I think yeah, terrible. – [Narrator] You
did a lot of food cutting? – [Alex] No, not at all.
– Okay, that's good. I need to find a bigger piece. – [Narrator]
given a prosthetic arm for the first time,
Alexi tries to learn basic tasks. – [Nurse] Try it this way. And then see if you can get in. Besides, it's a bad angle. I'll get it. I would choose it first. Choose it first and then. No, see wrong. So up. And then do it. Oopsy, hold it and push in. It will take a
little bit of work to get one out. And try picking
back with a hook. Yes, that's good. Good work. Is it a little too long
up top or too high a cup? Let me get lower. Which would actually
make it better. Are you actually using the
non-slip mat I sent Matt? – No.
No. It is very heavy. Very difficult for me. At this point you are thinking weeks and weeks. You know, you're fighting men alone, but you know it's super hard. But it's the only option we have. – [Narrator]
Take your weight to the left if you could. – [Narrator] Right right? Right, sorry, the left. The rehabilitation
center is more than two hours drive from Alex's house. With a busy pub and boarding house, Lucy can only visit Sam once a week. – Hi Hi Hi. – I saw it on my mom's phone.
– [Alex] Yeah. – Was that the photo you wrote on your mom's phone? – [Alex] Yes. – Oh, I didn't know that. Ooh, there's the bowl. It is bad. – [Alex] Huh? – That's a fun way. – [Alex] Not
bad now. (loud ringtone) – Sam is really important, Alex had something
you know what you're trying to do. Waking up every morning to make sure he has
someone to be proud of. (loud growl) – Come! (energetic music) – You know, he's still Sam's dad, no matter what Sam's father is. No arms, no legs, no way, must be the father. He must be a role model for Sam.
And if Alex proves to be that strong, and that committed, and that driven, in the end it's just going to be Sam. Are you okay? It's all good, it's all good. – [Alex] Oh, come on Sam. – [Lucy] Back to work. – [Alex] I don't want him to feel like there's nothing I can do. Do you know what I mean? I don't want him to feel it I know because I've lost my legs and arms I can't you know I'm helpless.
– [Sam] Dad, press this. – Hang on. – [Sam] One hand, two arms. – I can't find the hook. I'll see what I can do. – Alex is on a
weekend stay from rehab. It's a rare visit
to spend time with your family. – Prepared? It did not work. – People are watching. – [Narrator] But they
won't? It's quite shocking. – [Lucy] I know, I don't– – Do you think there are so many
if it wasn't for his lips? I mean Bart Simpson lips. – You know what? He hasn't changed at all. It's still the same mouth, but it has more
than it ever had. I'm glad he has
n't become a recluse has he? Which he could have quite
easily become again. – I think the only
thing that has changed is the fact that it has a disc. Isn't it lazy you say? – Maybe it was meant for him. – If it were my way, I would roll over and turn off the machine myself.
If I could. – It seems that every nurse told me, "The man is fine." Every nurse had to
tell me every shift, "It's okay, it's okay." Like me, I was more worried about the liver tests. Alex likes to drink. and came back and it was normal. They are like (slow tempo music) – You know, I drank loads and loads of alcohol. Individually, I was an alcoholic. And I think I started to get a little lost in it because I wasn't very happy.
– [Narrator] Before Alex got sick, the pub the family had been
living in was struggling. Lucy then opened a second
pub to save the business. – At that time there
was not enough support with what I was trying to do, You know I had to go to
work every day and it put pressure on us. – It was a really stressful time. We would literally see it
differently for a few hours a week. In fact, we were pretty much separated. – You know, Alex loved to drink. He's been in one of our pubs all day drinking too much. Every day I would come home from work and work and Alex would be at the bar with a drink. That didn't help. I felt like
Jen had really taken the piss. – [Sam] Are you done? – [Lucy] It would be very easy for him AND, to become a criminal,
on alcohol again, AND I won't bring Sam into it.