I once said on this blog that I wouldn’t get too personal, but I think this type of post allows me to reach out to others and to not mention everything about my life. My Dad is and still is one of my most loved people in my life, he is along with of course my brother the only man that I can trust, always there for me and always wanting to help – I am a Daddy’s girl. I know that there are people out there who’s Father have unfortunately passed away and I am deeply sorry for that, my Dad hasn’t but a part of him has. My Dad was and will say was now, – he was one of the biggest sales accounts manager for a particular company in the UK and Europe, he had the life, the money and he loved his job, but everything changed in 2012. I am sorry this is a long blog but I just wanted to put this out there as a first point of opinion.
I think it was around 4am in the morning and my Mum came running into my room to say that Dad had been in an accident, that Nan had rang to say he is currently in hospital. My Mum had received two calls previously for someone asking to speak to “another named person”, she kept saying that she does not live here you have the wrong phone number. Now of course this is really concerning at 4am in the morning, it got to the point this lady rang and woke up my then 78 year old Nan at home 2 hours away from us, she rang my mum to say you need to ring this number and find out what’s happening as soon as possible. I have never seen my Mum so scared she was shaking, she rang Cardiff Hospital (we live in Kent) as my Dad had been visiting a friend. He had had a fall down the stairs and had fractured his skull with a bleed on the brain and mum needed to get there as soon as possible. Trying to calm my mum down whilst thinking sh*t to myself was scary, I therefore had to ring my mums best friend for her to come around and help, as we dont live near any of our family it’s hard. Mum got on the first train to Cardiff, booked in to a hotel and it was up to me and my brother to look after ourselves.
My Dad’s work at the time were amazing, they took all payments for transport and the hotel. My mum was in Cardiff for 2 weeks on her own, of course some family members went to see her including my Dad’s brother who hasn’t spoken to us in years, Nan and family friends who live in Wales. She was so lonely and I really felt for her.
The first images that I saw of my Dad were sent via phone and I was so shocked and it still alarms me today as to what he looked like, his eye was completely large and unopened and black. I was then sent a video message in which it didn’t sound like my Dad at all, he still had a bit of humour but this was days after his head injury. He was in intensive care.
Mum had told me days later that, he first did not recognise her when she entered the room (how saddening is that of a 20 year marriage), he forgot his children’s names and he thought he was at work. Security guards were on hand all the time around him as he was a threat to himself, because he kept trying to escape.
I had in the first few days kept a little diary as to what we went through as a family, he hardly ate for the first few days – was constantly asleep, like I said did not know any of his family member names which was heartbreaking. He kept trying to escape and thought the nurses worked for him asking them to keep getting the reports lol.
His injury was that a fracture of the skull from one side of his forehead to the other ear, a bleed on the brain – this all happened by falling down 2 steps and hitting his head 4 times on the way which rattled his brain.
It took 2 weeks for him to leave Cardiff and he was sent to the local hospital down here – again he was in a room where security guards were there. IT was so upsetting to be a legal witness for declaration to sign him for the Mental Health Act. I think the funniest and strangest time as a smoker, he used to go around the gardens and instead of smoking, he thought his cigarette was his toothbrush and he would brush his teeth in the open. I was like what has happened to my Dad, he kept forgetting things, he couldn’t read properly and his taste has changed.
A week later, he was sent to a rehab unit and was there for I believe 5 weeks – he hated it there. I could see his progression, the best day was when his work colleagues went to see him and his face lit up and he went back into work mode. The worst day was when I saw him crying, I have never seen my Dad cry before and it’s even emotional now thinking about it. He begged for us to take him with us home and it was the worst thing leaving him there, my Mum travelled over an hour each night to go visit him and I saw him when I could. In the end my Mum became ill from stress and I said quite sternly and Im glad I did in the end – enoughs enough Mum, Dad knows you love him but you can’t see him every night its exhausting for you. I had to have a quiet word with him when he was better and he understood and finally Mum went to see him every 2/3 days. In rehab he learnt how to walk again, shower, read, and engage with people again. He left there and things have changed……………
It took weeks for him to get back into driving, of course we were really worried the first time he drove independently but small steps. His sense of smell has gone, he has no patience any more whatsoever and gets angry more often. His memory is still bad but has got a lot better, for example when he first came back home for a visit, he didn’t know how to turn on a computer. We have all over the house now memory pads which he has to write down everything so he can remember. He often when he gets frustrated grabs his head. He cannot remember anything from the night and it’s just so scary.
But I think the biggest thing is his work – his work pushed him out, as his patience became less I am not sure that his work could understand what was happening. The two colleagues that came to see him on their days off were told off!! As well as this he was pushed out of his job, he was made to feel like he should not be there, every idea he put across his manager took for his own credit and they finally put him up for redundancy.
This man, was one of the biggest salesmen in the UK he sold millions of pounds worth of orders some of the buildings you see around for the London 2012 he sold the products for that.
But now he cannot get a job, no one will recruit him because he is in his mid 50’s.
I really do miss my old Dad, Ii really do get frustrated sometimes when he doesn’t remember the things that I tell him but I have to each time remember that he has had this accident. My Mum contacted Olympian James Cracknell’s wife through Twitter as her book touched a nerve with my Mum as she has gone through the same thing.
I know my Dad is still there, he’s coming back, his sense of smell is coming back, his memory is getting better – but there are some things that are getting worse (could also be down to age! :P)
Like I said this is a bit more personal this blog and it’s a bit of a sad one – but on a positive note, my Dad is still here and I love him dearly.
All I will say is you never know what is around the corner, love your family, love your friends as much as you can.
** UPDATE 13.06.2015
2 years later, my Dad still cant smell, he finally has a new job, working with my Mum, his patience can be a little thin and he likes things to be regimented and he still cant remember what happened that night.
My Mum told me only the other day how she kept a lot of things from me and my brother about what she saw in the hospital, I know full well that if the fracture was just 1mml away he wouldn’t be here today and I know after watching programmes on Brain injuries, it could have been a lot worse. So I am ever so thankful each and every day