Linda Castle had no idea that the treatment for a kidney infection in 2009 would have such disastrous and lifelong effects for her.
Twelve years ago, while living on Vancouver Island, Castle, 55, was put on the intravenous antibiotic Gentamicin to clear up the infection. Soon after, she came down with a number of symptoms including nausea, brain fog and vertigo and was told she had Gentamicin poisoning that resulted in Bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction, a brainstem injury, and the damage was permanent.
“I really didn’t have the ability to feel anything at that time; it became a time to kick into survival mode because I couldn’t sit up, stand, read, watch TV or anything really,” she says.
“My greatest chore was making it to the bathroom without falling. I went from a confident functioning adult to an invalid and I was frightened.”
Castle has been working for years with a team of people to support her including a physiotherapist, psychologist, kinesiologist, vestibular therapist and more and has learned to paint and write to help her cope.
She is currently working on writing a book with an author from the United States.
“I have finally accepted that I can’t beat this thing completely, so I have to work with it,” Castle says.
“A friend once said that the hospital ruined my life, to which I replied, ‘Not ruined, just changed my life. I’m the only one that has the power to allow it to be ruined.’”
Dr. Tammy McKnight, Castle’s physician of nine years, nominated her for the Amazing Courage Award, saying her tenacity is an inspiration to others whose lives have been halted without warning.
“Her kind, mild manner encapsulates an internal fire that pushes her tirelessly to improve, every day relentless in that pursuit,” says McKnight.
“She is a medical marvel, initially walking with a cane while clutching the wall, to now completing five-kilometre races, driving, and travelling the world.”