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On Tuesday the 28th of February 2018 at 7 pm ( it was the first day of winter in Ireland), when Tomas was driving home, it was just 2km away when the accident happened. That day it was snowing and the roads were quite slippery...
The next morning I was woken up by a phone call from my sister, who told me that our brother is in such serious condition. I deeply wished it was just a nightmare, as only a month earlier she called me at a similar time to tell me that our dad had died.
Tomas sustained life-threatening injuries: brain injury from which his brain started swelling and pulmonary bruising. First few days were decisive as this could even kill him if the swelling continued. He had to be put under life support and into a pharmacological coma due to the conditions he suffered. The doctors didn’t even try to comfort us by saying that he is going to make it. Everything could happen especially due to brain oedema. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat and any ringing phone was making me anxious and was frightening for me. I was afraid of the worst.
When his condition stabilised I thought that he would have to stay in a hospital for some time but that he will be back home soon enough. That was just wishful thinking.
After about 2 weeks doctors decided to discontinue the pharmacological coma but Tomas didn’t wake up. And no one knew if he ever would. At the time he was only able to open his eyes but we weren’t even sure whether he could hear us. He was a prisoner in his own body, unable to move any other parts of his body, even a finger or his toe, and unable to communicate with others. He was hospitalised for 10 weeks and during this time he had suffered many respiratory infections which kept weakening him. He spent his 26th birthday on the Intensive Care ward, but at least we could visit him during that time. Tomas has a twin brother Pawel who probably suffered most after our mum. It was very difficult for all of us to see Tomas being so unable to do anything, where a few weeks earlier he was a strong man on whom our parents and we relied in many situations.
After 10 weeks spent in many different hospitals pushed between wards, when his condition allowed, we moved him to a specialised care centre. Every day there was someone with him: either me, my siblings or his girlfriend spending the time with him, helping him as it was the most we could do for him at the time. From the very beginning, we believed that he could hear us, so we talked to him and made sure that he is up to date with what is happening on his farm. Pawel came up with “yes”/”no” communication based on eye blinking at a quite early stage when we weren’t even sure if any of the blinking was intentional. Pawel just felt that he could communicate with his twin brother and we continued with this system even though it was most of the time very ambiguous whether his blinking was logical. We all believed that he understands us and that he will recover, as we needed it so much.
After a couple of months in the specialised care centre, his blinking was more logical and we knew for sure that he was able to understand us. It was still only yes/no communication but it meant a lot to us and I can only believe how important it was for him. Then at some stage, he showed some movement in his fingers and later in his toes. It was for a long time that we hadn’t seen any movement in his legs. He was trying to move the toes for a very long time but none of them would move even a bit. One day it happened, finally, happy tears came to our eyes and I remember Tomas being so relieved.
It’s been over a year since he was announced to be in a ‘waken up state’ and with neurological rehabilitation and hard work, he is achieving the impossible. Tomas suffers from a rare condition - ossification around the hips area which compromises the joint mobility and also limits his rehabilitation. Even when the ossification gets removed there is no guarantee that it will not regrow there. This had started to form quite early when he was unable to communicate it and had caused him so much pain. Thankfully Tomas had already both of the legs operated. This allows him to be able to bend his legs for comfortable seating and allow him to be able to stand up on his own at some stage.
If it wasn’t enough we almost lost him again when he choked, we are still very scared of what it would be if we didn’t manage to save him. Tomas's girlfriend made a right call to make tracheotomy, and his twin was brave enough to make the cut. Otherwise, Tomas wouldn’t be with us anymore. Everyone was still shaking a few days later. Not to tell what our mum went through seeing her son dying...
As today he is able to speak, move his arms, move his legs and has started to learn how to walk - which he was waiting for a long time. Although he needs continued assistance as he cannot function on his own.
They say that health is priceless, but unfortunately, there is a price tag attached for him to be able to walk and be independent. He is a passionate farmer, living in the countryside who needs to walk in order to take care of our mum and his farm. He still needs to learn to speak better, gain better precision of his arms and hands, learn to stand up and walk. We know that this is doable but requires a lot of specialized rehabilitation. He has already achieved way more than any of the doctors believed, as he is very motivated.
We are running out of money at this stage and your financial support will allow him to continue the rehabilitation and one day get back on his feet. Please support him on this very difficult journey. One week of specialized rehabilitation costs about €1000.
Video of Tomas on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyztsdelJoQ
Thank you for taking the time to read my story, share and your kind donation.
- Carolina Tribehealing
- Kerrill Thornhill