Our worst Nightmare – the words a mother always fears hearing ……
We received a disturbing phone call to say our son had been involved in an accident and that he was in hospital in intensive care with a serious head injury, having been struck by a car.
My imagination and emotions began to run riot – those of shock, horror, fear and blind panic.
That week in Italy there had been freak heavy snowfalls in Rome, which had brought the capital city to a virtual halt. Up until that morning we in Itri had been spared any snowfalls, however this Sunday morning as we peered out of the window flurries of large snowfakes floated down from the grey sky. Why today of all days did this have to happen !!!
Feeling so helpless, being so far away I began to scour the internet to try and find a flight back to the UK. We were unsure whether Rome airport was even open, due to the weather situation. The next available flights were to Gatwick on the following day, and having secured tickets I began throwing clothes into a suitcase, trying to keep my mind busy.
During the day our elder son kept us up to speed with regular updates as to progress. We learned that by some stroke of luck an ambulance had been passing the scene at the time of the accident, which meant paramedics were able to quickly intervene, taking immediate action and rushing our son to the Heath, the large teaching hospital in Cardiff.
The medics then put our son into a drug induced coma and onto a ventilator while they carried out numerous tests and CT scans which revealed a bleed on the brain. However the doctors informed us that his condition was, for now, stable – but that anything could change.
The next morning friends kindly gave us a lift to the station where we caught a train to Rome Termini. From here we took the Leonardo Express to Fiumicino airport, however the journey took much longer than normal due to delays caused by ice on the tracks. On checking in at Fiumicino we were informed that our flight would be delayed by several hours due to snow problems at Gatwick and Heathrow airports. It was indeed a long wait and I found myself struggling to contain my emotions. On, at long last, arriving at Gatwick we then registered for a hire car and finally set of on the four hour drive. We finally arrived in Cardiff at midnight.
Meanwhile we had received news that the doctors planned to rouse our son from his deep sleep to see how he reacted. As he began to wake the doctors continued to monitor him continuously. They talked to him and asked questions to judge his response. Although disorientated and confused our son managed to reply with a thumbs up sign, much to everyone’s great relief. A very positive sign.
The following morning we made our way to the hospital. I was bracing myself for what I would find. By this time our son had been moved out of Intensive Care into a High Dependency room where he was still being monitored continuously. His face was badly bruised and swollen, he had received several fractures to the skull including a fractured cheek bone and eye socket, and he had also sustained a broken elbow, however miraculously he suffered no other broken bones. He was still somewhat confused as to what had happened to him. However day by day he got a little stronger. We all took it in turns to be by his bedside over the next week or so. When his condition was judged to be stable he was eventually moved to the Neurology ward where he underwent surgery to repair the damage to his cheek and eye socket, before finally being discharged to continue his convalescence at home.
We are so very pleased to say, that after three months, our son has made an almost complete recovery from this near fatal accident. How thankful and fortunate we are that he suffered no long or short term memory loss, loss in brain function or paralysis. His miraculous recovery has astounded both doctors and family.
It is frightening though, how in just a split second, a life or several people’s lives could be changed irrevocably.
Just how precious life is !!!
An experience like this certainly puts things into perspective. How trivial are our silly gripes and moans about small insignificant things. We must strive to make the most of each and every day and be so very thankful for what we have.
We would like to say a huge thank you to all the family members who were constantly at our son’s bedside during the early days, especially our elder son who was absolutely amazing, and to Emma, and to Ben’s father for being there when he needed them.
Another huge Thank you to all the staff at the Heath Hospital in Cardiff for their wonderful work and support during this stressful time.
And finally we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the rest of our family and friends around the world, for their concern, all their goodwill messages and prayers for Ben’s recovery. Words are not enough to express our deepest appreciation.
Sending our love to you all