When I woke up, the world was my oyster. I went out to the beach in front of the hotel and joined friends and colleagues for an early morning workout. This was bliss. I had never been in Sanya before and I began to like it although it was really very different from anything I had ever experienced before. The conference I had been invited to was going well, my talk about Skyfall (yes, I did play Adele’s song and showed a few stills from the movie) was well received. Little did I know how this day, exactly nine month ago today, was going to end.
23,673,600 seconds, 394,560 minutes, 6576 hours, 274 days, 39 weeks.
At around one o’clock, Pat rang. Two hours later I had booked flights and a car. At 8am I was leaving Sanya. I stopped eating, my stomach was not taking in any food. For days, weeks.
I rang Cape Cod Hospital. The nurses were too nice. What had happened to Pádraig must have been devastating.
They were talking about organ donations. The insurance declined cover following dozens of phone calls costing hundreds of euro.
Friends and Irish doctors helped us to get Pádraig admitted to the country’s centre of excellence for neuro surgery. There was a hold up because another young Irish man who had had a terrible accident in Thailand was also going to arrive. When his arrival was delayed, we got the green light.
A Learjet brought Pádraig, heavily sedated, with duck tape holding his head against the stretcher, his legs also taped together, via Goose Bay and Iceland to Dublin. He had survived.
We never ever would have thought that four months later there would be another flight, this time leaving his country not by choice but because of the scandalous lack of neuro rehab and the threat of serious injury.
Pádraig is making progress, painfully slow, but he his most definitely getting better. His doctors, nurses, and therapists are amongst the best in Europe and they have access to the resources they require. The system here works. Not always – and we would have many ideas about how it could be improved – but it works most of the time. That alone significantly reduces the pain, the stress.
Pádraig has been in Germany for more than four months. He had three operations on his lung, and a SIRS/Sepsis that nearly killed him. But he is a fighter, he is young, he is stubborn, he has no patience, he is determined to show to all of us what you can do if you really put your mind to it. And that’s is exactly what he is doing.
Thank you for staying with him. Thank you for your tremendous support. In so many different ways. He could not do this on his own, we could not do this on our own. For me, apart from the obvious, the past few months have been a lesson in solidarity, compassion, generosity and love to a level that I never thought would be possible.