My name is Michael . I am 22 years old and I have a story to tell. On 28th June 2013 my life changed completely. The reason for this is that I was in a serious car accident which left in a coma for two weeks and with a brain injury. When I woke up I didn’t know what happened or what was going on, but it was clear it was a new world for me and I was going to have to live in it. I don’t remember much of my life before the accident but I do know that sport was a huge part of it,hurling and soccer in particular.
I was a great player and their was no stopping me. I had won player of the year for my soccer team in 2013 which was my first year and was also team captain of my under 21 hurling team that won the championship earlier that year. I was in the passenger seat of the car when me and my friend were on the way back from getting hurls when we where hit by another car.
After that day in June hospital become my life. What I am going to tell you I have no memory of, So I have to rely on stories from my family. After I woke from my coma I was so agitated so I had to be sedated. I was pulling nurses into the bed and broke 3 neck braces which they never saw before. My doctor told my family I could be in a coma for 3-6 months so they were determined to get the best care possible by looking for new scans and tests all the time. After 10 days I was finally taken off sedation and was shortly after moved to the Trauma ward where I would stay for 4 weeks.
By the time I had gotten to the Trauma ward I had dropped from 12 stone to 9, I was being fed through a machine. During my stay in the Trauma ward I received Ocupational therapy (OT) and physio. At the time I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me and couldn’t wait to get home and play sport. My family brought me in photos of my friends and family to help me with my memory,which included photos of me and my girlfriend who weren’t together very long before the crash. These pictures helped my memory. I was also aware that I couldn’t remember everything. That made me sad and confused.
After I got home from Limerick hospital I thought everything would go back to normal but not so. The next step was in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dublin. I didn’t want to be so far from home but my sister convinced me to take the 2 week trial they offered. She dropped me up on a Sunday and collected me on Friday. I spent 8 1/2 weeks afterward in the NRH where I received amazing care through physio, OT, physiology and was able to use the great facilities like the hydro pool ang gym. I had a lot of pain in my neck,hip and knee which we worked on and although I would say I have a high pain threshold I found it to be painful work.
I made great friends there and it was good to be able to talk to people in the same situation as me,and seeing others worse off that me,made me more thankful for how I was, considering everything. After my stay in the NRH I returned home to do a 12 weeks of rehab in Limerick where I did 2days a week of OT,Physio and Physcology. After I had finished this I had passed the one year anniversary of the accident. Although I couldn’t see it yet I had come on leaps and bounds from where I started.
In April of 2014 I started rehab in the Rehab Training Unit in Dublin. I stayed there until April 2015 where I continued to receive Physcology. I also gained a lot back of my independence in this time as I had to figure out living away from home for the first time. I had to make my way to and from Dublin by bus mostly and paid my own bills for my first time like paying rent and gym membership. I learned a lot about my brain and how it works and controls everything and how my injury effected that. It gave me focus and direction in my new life but at the time I was so busy my social life was non existent.
In Arpil this year I moved to Galway to attend National Learning Network (NLN), where I am currently taking part in the Fresh start course. I will take part in this course for a year. I fell this is my final stage of support to get me back into the work force or in a position to go college to gain a qualification. I have found that my experience and care that I got for the last 2 years have have changed me as a person. I found especially talking to a Psychologist has been very beneficial and helped me understand things that have changed are out of my control but it’s how I deal with it that is in my control.
This is the experience that life has dealt me. But what I’m doing is learning how to learn again – I take part in English classes twice a week in GABESin Galway City . This is the first time I have put the whole experience down on paper even though it’s been very emotional I think it’s good because I see how far I have came in a short period and I will stay working to make some more progress. I’m getting back on my feet … It’s a new world order!!