Trigger Warning: This post contains some content that may be distressing to some.
On the evening of Friday 30th August, my stepson Ethan had a fall off his bicycle and was rushed to hospital after hitting his head and face very badly. During the accident he also managed to partially amputate his tongue and deglove his bottom lip for which he needed emergency surgery to repair. Initially he had a CT scan which showed no life-threatening injuries, but he was sedated and taken to intensive care where he stayed over the weekend. My wife stayed at the hospital with him where I travelled back and forth from home where I was looking after his little brother.
Ethan was then transferred from PICU to a children’s ward. He was extremely confused, disorientated and in a lot of pain. The doctors put his behavioural changes down to the sedation and perhaps a bit of concussion. Despite not seeing a huge improvement, he was discharged home to us on Wednesday. It became apparent very quickly after returning home that this was a mistake and there was something more going on with Ethan that the doctors hadn’t picked up on. Ethan was agitated, emotional and became increasingly confused. He didn’t know where he was and was hallucinating. During the night he became very aggressive, he started to scream and hit my wife. It was terrifying and distressing for everybody involved. We had no idea what was happening. It was decided that Ethan needed to go back to the hospital.
During Ethan’s second admission, the doctors did an MRI scan which showed a significant amount of bruising to his brain and a small bleed. These injuries to his brain was what was causing the behavioural changes, mood swings, memory loss and childlike behaviour that Ethan was exhibiting. Although not life threatening, his injuries are life changing. The life we knew before that Friday has disappeared and we have no idea what the road ahead holds. Our family has the overwhelming task of building a new normal.
Over the course I have been so grateful for many things though. I’m grateful that Ethan is still with us. I’m grateful for the NHS and the amazing doctors and nurses that cared for Ethan around the clock. I’m grateful for the friends and family that supported us while Ethan was in hospital, I’m grateful for my wife and our boys and I am so thankful for my inner system that have helped me cope mentally. Once again they have helped me survive.