Woman has to learn to walk and talk again every time she passes out

A young woman has a health condition that means she has to learn to walk and talk again after she falls unconscious.

Emily Cook blacks out around once a week – and when she wakes up she can’t speak, see or sometimes even walk.

The 21-year-old has to relearn basic skills all over again which means she won’t be able to follow her dreams of being a doctor and going to university.

The condition has made schooling difficult – she was unable to talk during her GCSE speaking exam.

Emily says that her diagnosis is Functional neurological disorder (FND) – a medical condition in which there is a problem with the functioning of the nervous system and how the brain and body sends and receives signals.

Her family stated that there’s no cure for the condition and consultants aren’t sure how it will develop throughout her life.

But, Emily managed to train the family dog, Barna, to detect her blackouts five minutes before they happened – which gives her a vital level of freedom.

The Hungarian Vizsla was brought for Emily to offer companionship during some of her toughest days, but the puppy, now five, soon became her lifeline to the outside world, reports NottinghamLive.

Emily said: "My condition started at about 12 or 13 where one day at home I just passed out unconscious and put it down to 'I must have got up too quickly.'

"It kept on happening and it progressed from me being unconscious for minutes to a length of time, the record being three and a half hours.

"The frequency also changed from once a week to at one point it was every day or multi times a day. At Year 11, the neurological functions began.”

She added: “After I went unconscious I woke up and could not speak. My ability to speak had gone completely.

"It was a nightmare at school because it massively affected my education.

"It got to a point I lost my eyesight and ability to walk. I could not walk for six months and had to learn to walk again.

"Every time I collapsed again I would go back to square one."

Now, the blackouts vary from every few days to once a month and it usually takes around two weeks for her functions to return to normal.

But, despite being handed a tough hand, Emily remains positive and outgoing.

Barna's early warnings allows Emily to live more normally, knowing that she can remove herself from danger before she passes out.

She explained: “He is my warning system.

"I have no awareness that I will go unconscious. It is like a light switch in my brain and I go to the floor.

"By being able to smell the pheromone change he lets me know and gives me a five minute warning which allows me to get safe.

"I can call my parents or assistance I might need. Before, if I was in public, concerned members of the public would be calling ambulances.

"I had one once in the middle of the road. If I went out with friends and if I collapsed, people would think I was intoxicated or taking drugs and people would not help.”

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She added: “With Barna with me, people stop, think and realise something medically is going on.

"He is my wet-nosed life saver. I now don't have that level of fear hanging over me."

Now, she wants to give back to Medical Detection Dogs – a charity which trains dogs like Barna. She plans on raising £30,000.

A spokeswoman for the charity said: "Medical Detection Dogs trains dogs to save lives using their amazing sense of smell.

To help Emily raise the total amount and support the charity, click here

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