Darron’s Road to Recovery
On 23 May 2015 Darron Eastwell was riding his mountain bike in the Tewantin National Park in Queensland. It was a regular ride for him, and one that he had done many times before. He didn’t think he would end the day in an intensive care unit.
“I was found by two other riders. I was laying on the ground motionless and progressively falling in and out of consciousness, the riders called the ambulance.
“The ambulance arrived and transported me to Nambour Hospital intensive care unit (ICU), where after around four hours of medical treatment and still not fully conscious the ICU doctors made the decision to put me in a medically induced coma for which I was in for seven days.”
During these seven days Darron underwent several MRI scans and x-rays. They confirmed that he had a fractured skull, a fractured neck, fractured the seventh thoracic vertebrae, sever brain injury called Diffuse Axonal Injury, and Darron’s Glascow Coma Score was initially 5 when first taken to hospital. The Glascow Coma Score ranges from 3-15 with the lowest score being 3 which is a deceased person, and the lower the score the worse the brain injury and outcome.
Over the next seven days several attempts were made by the ICU doctors to wake Darron from his coma but were unsuccessful until the seventh day.
“I awoke from the coma and I had no idea where I was or memory of what had happened to me, as I was also diagnosed with having sever Post Traumatic Amnesia.
“I was transferred from Nambour to Caloundra Hospital where I had to wait for an available bed at the Princess Alexandra Hospital Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit in Brisbane.
“I spent another five weeks completing rehab until I had improved to a level that could allow me to be discharged from Princess Alexandra Hospital, and after being in three different hospitals for 62 days I was finally allowed to be discharged from hospital.”
Once Darron was discharged from hospital his road to recovery didn’t stop there. He completed a further six months of outpatient rehabilitation which included physical therapy, speech therapy and occupation therapy.
“As part of my rehabilitation it was suggested that I write in a daily journal of what I did or what I was supposed to do and then check it the next day to see if I could remember it.
“Not only did this help with my memory problems, it also helped my fine motor skills as I struggled to remember how to write, how to spell and the use of words, I had also forgotten how to use my computer.
“Over 12 months I had hand written everything about my recovery, including what I could remember or what I was told about my hospitalisation, how I was feeling and what I was doing that helped my recovery.
“I started to try and read a few books about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and trying to understand TBI, my own injuries and what happened to me, and what was the recovery expectations and time frames.
“I discovered that no two brain injuries are the same and recovery is never the same, as it could take a very long time, and you can never recover 100 percent to what you were like prior to your accident that injured your brain.
“This motivated and inspired me to try and prove the medical statistics wrong so I started typing up my notes in a book format which took me about two months.”
Darron emailed his notes to David Grant Books in America, as he had read about David’s own TBI recovery and how he now helps with publishing and developing books.
“After reading my story, David agreed my story is of survival, motivation and inspiration so we then worked together for six months in getting my manuscript to book format.
“I published my book in June 2017, and we have also established my own website to help tell my story, and sell my book.
“I have basically had to relearn how to live independently all over again through determination, setting goals, never giving up, and my family was the biggest motivators for me as I still had so much to live for.”
Darron wanted to share his story of recovery so he began speaking at public events, to provide hope, inspiration and motivation to as many people as he can reach out to.
“I have experienced how precious life is and that you cannot take life for granted, as it can be taken away from you in a heartbeat.”
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Follow Darron’s story by visiting his website – http://www.darroneastwell.com.au/