Charlie was a passenger in the back of a car when it was struck by a van. A family member tells us he started his recovery and the first steps back to College.
Can you please tell us a little bit about what happened to Charlie?
Charlie is a very outgoing, outdoorsy person, so he loves life, always willing to go out and give things a go. He rides a motorbike, loves riding quadbikes. If there’s something outdoorsy he’ll have a go.
So to be indoors now because of his car crash; he was a passenger in the back of a car and unfortunately it ended up on its roof and a van hit the side of the car and Charlie took the main force of the impact, together with the front passenger. They were both severely injured and were in a coma for eight days, which seemed like a lifetime at the time.
We just didn’t know where we were going to go from there. It was a really traumatic time for us and obviously he was recovering, getting the best care he could. For him to be in that situation just four months ago; one minutes he’s fine and the next minute in a car crash, it really was a shock.
We’ve come through this amazingly quickly, but of course as soon as you leave hospital that’s when you need all of the rehabilitation. For us it was just such a blur where to go or what to do and having advice from rehab centers and therapists to come in and say ‘we can help you with all of this and we know what the problems are’.
How have Peartree’s occupational therapists helped?
So for him, he has executive decision making issues and finds it really difficult to know what to choose because it’s too much of a decision. You need to narrow things down so that he has smaller options and with his memory, to begin with couldn’t remember things. It was very intermittent and foggy, couldn’t remember what he’d had for lunch or dinner, but coming through that he slowly regained his memory.
He’s now remembered all of his past memories before the accident, with prompting as he normally needs to be prompted about certain things. We’ve been working on the memory issues with a fabulous OT and OT support who can help him with the daily things of realising what he needs to do, where he needs to be and organising himself. I don’t know what I’d do without all that side of it.
Physiotherapy and a car accident
But then we have the physical side to consider as well. To have a physio assistant to come in and help him to make sure he does his exercises three or four times a week to build his strength back. Because of his injury he’s damaged the frontal part of his head and has a weaker side than the other. The physios are really working on bringing that side back up to strength and then of course being in a coma and in hospital for so many months he needed to build up his strength again completely to get out walking.
It’s been amazing because I imagined having to give up work to take him for walks, take him to his physio sessions, OT sessions and a neuro psychologist. He needs so much support which I’m not reliant on having to do it all and I can leave it to the support and the experts to know where he needs to be and follow the stages of progress to make sure it moves with him as he progresses. It’s been a bit of a journey, but just to have that help and support going back from day dot when he had his crash and not knowing where to go to where we are now.
What are the next steps for your son?
We’ve reached a point now where, as he had a broken neck as part of his injuries, we have a final appointment with an orthopaedic consultant to sign him off and take a driving assessment so that he can maybe start driving again. That’s the next really crucial step for him as I know he’d love to get back in a car as it’s his freedom to go and see his friends and socialise again. That’s his biggest goal, followed closely by being able to return to college, even for one morning or one day to reconnect with those friends, which is what he’s hopefully on the path of being able to reach now.
How have our personal assistant helped your son in his recovery?
Because they are so specialised in what they do and the skills that they bring, they’re not just carers or someone to help you get your shopping and that sort of thing. They have structured plans on what they need to do and have that background knowledge, where that be neuro science or physiotherapy. They can apply what they know to help Charlie. They work closely with the occupational therapist and physiotherapist to continue that support in a really knowledgeable way.
They’ve got those skills and both of them are great in dealing with his when he’s in a mood where he doesn’t really want to play ball that morning. They can motivate him, both in their own way which is brilliant.
How did you find Peartree Community Services?
I was recommended to you by a solicitor who deals with specialist brain injuries. They’d known about you and put us in contact. To find that specialist support is amazing and is really what has made the difference with Charlie. Being able to help someone find your services at an early stage will massively help their recovery like it has for Charlie.