As with Marylou and Cherry's showcases last week, Ann's story is a testament to what can be achieved with willpower and strength of mind. Tragedies like this are all too commonplace in New Zealand, but it is fantastic that despite it all people support each other and help bring about change for the better. We would like to commend and thank Ann for sending us this Member Showcase. We wish you all the best!
You're A Dick Mummy is the title of a book I have just recently published about my journey as a mother of a son who sustained traumatic brain injury when a passenger in a car driven by a teenager on a straight piece of road. As Dennis the Menace once said, "How come what was fun suddenly doesn't seem so anymore?"
Brain injury is the silent epidemic. Improved medical treatment during the golden hour means that survival rates have risen but alas progress in rehabilitation has not followed suit and so families who are at the coal face suffer. We suffer emotionally, financially and are left depleted, despondent and disillusioned looking after the stranger in our midst who often bares no resemblance to their former self, not unlike stroke victims in many cases.Seldom do we speak out fearful that if we do what we receive will be even less.
I felt that if my son's life was worth saving then it had to be made worth living and so I battled for a timely and appropriate rehabilitation programme befitting his impairments. Not only did I lose my home, my confidence, my self worth and almost my family, I lost my health and ability to work. But in time and with help I too came back from the edge as did my son who defied the experts who felt that if he survivied he would never ever hold a hammer in his hand or ride a bike again. Today he can do both, albeit not to the level of days before the accident.
Like Cherry Parker I am now receiving feedback for speaking out and telling folk what it is really like, speaking from the heart so to speak without the need to be right or wrong. For someone who was so hesitant in making my words available to a wider audience I have grown in strength and confidence. Maybe there is a legacy in telling our stories so that others may learn even if it is only to say you are not alone. Even better for me are the parents who have been in touch thanking me for my words as they wanted their teenagers to know what can happen if they were to be irresponsible at the wheel. Actions do have consequences, sometimes good, sometimes bad.
Twelve years on my son lives alone, works part time and has recently been named in the cycling training squad for Paralympics 2012. There is always HOPE Helping Other Possibilities Emerge. The best advice I was given was Never Ever Give Up. And isn't that the joy of Grown Ups, helping one another, sharing and caring. Adversity can work in strange ways but sometimes I think we can become better people because of it.