Plymouth DJ left in coma by drugs overdose battles to walk again
A DJ left in a coma by a huge drug overdose has described his battle to rebuild his life – and to walk again.
Stuart Page, 30, suffered massive brain damage after taking a cocktail of cocaine, methadone and alcohol.
Friends discovered him unconscious and barely breathing in bed at his Mutley flat the following day.
Oxygen starvation to his brain left him unable to walk and severely affected his sight and short-term memory.
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After six weeks on life support and months of intense rehabilitation, Stuart was told he could be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Five years later, he has taken his first steps with a frame and is determined to walk unaided.
Stuart, who now lives on the Barbican, said: "I could have lost my life, I was very close.
"They say it was touch and go. I was being kept alive by machines.
"The doctors were unsure if I would ever come out of that vegetative state.
"I've come a long way since then, sometimes I forget how far.
"My life has totally changed but there's so much I want to do still."
He is planning a tandem skydive to help two charities which have supported him – Plymouth Music Zone and Hannahs.
Stuart, also known as DJ Spinz who was part of hip-hop act The Scribes, hopes to work with young people and warn them of the danger of drugs.
"I want to try and help young people before they do something stupid." he said.
"If you mess around with drugs, there's a possibility of losing all the things you've learned throughout your life.
"All the things you've mastered, you have to spend years relearning."
Stuart, who had been a DJ and producer throughout much of his 20s, said that before the overdose he had been a recreational drug user.
He described the music scene and drugs as going "hand in hand".
On the night he almost lost his life in 2007, he had been drinking with an old friend.
"I had a few beers with him and I suspected there was going to be drugs involved," said Stuart.
"I was just going along with it. It was cocaine, I'd drunk quite a lot as well, and then methadone which I'd never had before.
"There was too much going on, too many chemicals in my system."
Stuart returned to his flat and fell unconscious.
The following day his band mates came round to pick him up for practice but were unable to rouse him.
They called an ambulance and Stuart was taken to Derriford Hospital.
After six weeks of intensive care, he was moved to the Plym neuro-rehabilitation unit at Mount Gould Hospital for months, and then to Waters Park Brain Injury Centre in Stoke.
Since he has moved in to a flat on the Barbican, he receives 24-hour support from carers and regular physiotherapy.
In the past year Stuart has completed an album called Global Assault, named after a term his doctors used to describe his brain injury.
"My brain has been gradually mending," he said.
"I have had to relearn everything. I didn't talk a lot to start with because I was so confused.
"It's only in the last six months, I've got a private physio who's helping me to walk. I'm not going to be able to run a marathon, but just to be to walk around my flat would be fine.
"I want to break that barrier – to walk unaided.
"I'm always working on new music, I've joined the gym to strengthen my muscles. I want to push and push and do as much as I can."