My Recipe For Survival And Good Progress
I worked as a Marine Engineer on the Rail Ferries that run between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Finishing my shift, I left the ship very tired. Walking next to the railway tracks in a stupor, going to the station for my journey home. An *Electric* train crept up on me, smacking me square in the back. Throwing me head first into the deck, OUCH. I am used to noisy *Diesel* engines driving on and off the ship all day, I never heard it coming and the driver didn't see me in the darkness.
A man was fighting for his life in the intensive care unit of Wellington Hospital early this morning after being hit by a suburban train in the Wellington rail yards last night. Police say the man was walking near the Davis Street footbridge when he was hit from behind. He suffered head, rib and lung injuries.
In June 1990 Brian Simpkin a Marine Engineer Officer on the Aratika, left the ship for the railway station and was hit by a train, while taking a short cut across the railyards. He was given little chance of survival, but defied diagnosis, eventually returning to work for the Interisland Line. Sadly, despite his endeavors to regain full fitness, Brian's return was only temporary and he is still undergoing rehabilitation - continuing to improve, but with permanent problems.
I was whisked away to intensive care with my right lung punctured, the right shoulder, jaw, teeth, and all my ribs broken. Skull fractures, with resulting Permanent Brain Damage.
As I lay in intensive care with tubes hanging out of my body, Roberta was told they were going to take me off the life support machine, they did but a short while later plugged it back in. They said I had taken three independent breaths.
After inspecting my brain with a Cat Scan they said I would be a vegetable for life. Till one night another brain injured patient started abusing me (a normal symptom of brain injury.) I must have got tired of his stream of abuse, I gave the same back to him. The nurses were overjoyed by my response. They closed our door and let us get on with it until we exhausted ourselves.
When I came out of the coma I didn't recognize my children. I only recognized Roberta by her touch. What a great feeling and strength to have someone loving me, willing me to get better. My first recognition of my accident was 32 days after it happened. I weighed seven stone (98 pounds) and was in that much pain I felt it was easier to die than fight.
My severe headaches abated 61 days after my accident. Much to my relief, as I was able to do so little in occupational therapy before fatigue and head pain got the better of me. My rehabilitation included relearning how to eat, talk and walk. I had double vision for many weeks.
Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
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