Holiday turns to hell as illness hits councillor

Coun Gardner and his wife Janette were staying in the Lanzarote resort of Costa Teguise when he was taken ill.
Coun Gardner and his wife Janette were staying in the Lanzarote resort of Costa Teguise when he was taken ill.

City councillor Paul Gardner’s pre-Christmas holiday to Lanzarote turned to horror when he was taken ill and spent almost six weeks in a Spanish hospital.

Coun Gardner, who represents Carnforth, had been staying in the resort of Costa Teguise with his wife Janette when he fell ill with a serious chest infection.

Coun Paul Gardner.

Coun Paul Gardner.

Coun Gardner, a retired Royal College of Nursing union rep, had previously suffered heart problems and doctors in Lanzarote were initially concerned this had recurred.

He said: “It has been a long haul but we are over it now, thank goodness, and I just need to build up my strength again.

“It was a general infection that got a grip. The first two or three weeks I didn’t know what was going on.

“We had gone out to Lanzarote for a holiday, and the day before we were due to fly back I suddenly became really confused and was breathing heavily and had a high temperature.

“I was taken to a private hospital and then transferred to a public hospital in Arrecife, where I had a lot of tests done.

“I had to retire in 2013 due to heart problems and they were concerned I had an infection on my heart again, but that was all clear.

“I had a chest infection and had to have a lot of fluid drained off.”

While Coun Gardner flew home by air ambulance on Tuesday thanks to his health insurance, his wife was forced to travel separately on a regular flight.

He said: “I had to get a ‘fit to fly’ certificate and I couldn’t get that until the infection was clear.

“I got the all clear last Thursday and had been trying to get sorted out with getting back home since then.”

Coun Gardner said despite an initial language barrier, his treatment in the Spanish hospital was “fantastic”.

He said: “The doctor was brilliant and the nursing staff were all lovely.

“The biggest thing was the language barrier. Some spoke some very good English but a lot didn’t speak any at all so we were muddling through a bit which at first was extremely frustrating.

“All I wanted to do was get home, but they were fantastic.”

Coun Gardner, who is now undergoing tests in Manchester heart centre, added his thanks to everyone who had expressed concern about his health during his traumatic time away.