Road traffic accident: Christine and Rory

Christine Simpson from Helensburgh tells her story following her son Rory's brain injury.

Published: July 2015. Date of brain injury: 2005 (child aged 12 years). What age was Rory when he had his brain injury?
It was in 2005 when Rory was 12 years old.  Give a brief explanation of how Rory's brain injury happened and a little bit about that time?
He was delivering papers and collided with a van. At the start it was a real struggle to understand what was happening.  In the early days is there anything you wished the doctors had done differently or explained that would have helped?
I think the doctors did ok in the first three weeks. It was when he was moved to another hospital that the consultants abilities were poor.  Tell us a little bit about life since Rory's brain injury.
Rory had a severe diffuse axonial injury and was in a coma for probably four weeks but it was hard to tell. The second lot of consultants had decided that he was 'locked in' and gave him a large dose of anti psychotic and muscle relaxant so it was difficult to tell. We were told he would live about 15 years. We took him home against their advice. He can walk, talk and eat now. However, that was because we had listened to the first neurologist and went with her best prognosis. His physically disabilities are marked but it's his cognitive defects that are the hardest to cope with. His memory at all levels is affected and that has a huge effect on his ability to deal with day to day decisions and actions.  What were and are other people's reactions to Rory's brain injury and the effects? Is there anything people could have done at the time or now that would be more of a support or has been a support in helping you cope emotionally and practically?
I wish that his brothers had been given more information and help to deal with the changes. It is there but I would have had to arrange it all; find it, get them to go but I had Rory to help and I kept working for a while for financial reasons. Still after 10 years find it hard and do say sometimes that Rory is just pretending. His older two brothers are ok but his twin brother still isn't sure how to deal with it. I have tried to get him to go to counselling. His dad tries very hard to get him to remember and Rory really wants to do it for his dad and it's heartbreaking sometimes to listen to. It would have been great if there had been a dvd or something that they could have watched to show how other people coped with brain injury (especially one as major as Rory's).  What are the remaining effects of the brain injury? 
Rory has 24 hour support. Although he can do things he forgets why he is on a bus or walking down the road. He needs a prompting constantly. Where we live people are usually very understanding and will prompt him to go home, get off the bus or go in to the coffee shop. Rory gets very frustrated being with carers all the time so we try to let him go places himself - we either track him with his phone or Buddi or have someone meet him en route. Takes a bit of planning but it's worth it.  What are your expectations and hopes for the future for Rory's future?
Rory, with the help of his carers, delivers a local magazine once a month. He also goes to a gardening club once a week which he loves. He says this is his job because they get travel expenses every so often and he gets his ESA payment on a Tuesday, which is when the club is on. My biggest wish is that he has friends. His ones from school are lovely with him but its a duty rather than desire that makes them very occasionally spend time with him. He has moved out five nights a week to a house with support but its not going too well. The support agency that the social workers insisted on us using aren't used to working with people with ABI. If you could give one piece of advice or encouragement to other parents who have a child who suffered a brain injury or to anyone who is living with a brain injury what would it be?
Look after yourself mentally and physically. Listen to other people and take what you need from it. Getting used to and understanding the effects of brain injury isn't easy but can be done. Love and patience need to be cultivated. When one of the doctors in ICU told us that there was hope I remember thinking it depends on what you are hoping for. I knew how bad the injury was.. My way of dealing with it was to let the Rory I knew and loved dearly go and took on a new Rory to learn to love and care for.
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