Pádraig welcomed Pat back with a big smile today. Really wide awake. When she told him she had booked a nice hotel room in Rosslare where we could rest for a day upon arrival in Ireland, he looked really happy. It’ll all be so nice!
We’ve started to take stock.
What is it that the six weeks here have achieved? What is the view of the professionals? How should Pádraig’s treatment continue?
During that review and our conversations, the co-owner of the Rehab Centre here said something that sums it all up very nicely in one sentence, stating the obvious but, as often, the obvious that is often completely overlooked
A brain injury is an injury, not an illness.
From that follows that what is needed, in essence, is not medication, but treatment of the injury – with the adequate care and therapy.
Treatment does not mean bringing patients into a state that they can be managed easily: leaving in tracheostomies, catheters, PEGs – they require less work and can be easily managed, but have huge side-effects such as infections, sense-deprevation, degeneration of organs, bodily functions; calming them down with medication – that deals with behavioural issues and reduces some risks (such as seizures), but makes it almost impossible to perceive correctly what is going on with their bodies and around them.
Treatment does mean helping patients to live their lives, perceive their bodies and their surroundings, use their senses, organs, and other bodily functions, recover and not dull down their brain functions. It means taking calculated risks. Risks we are taking every day. It means ‘living’. It means ‘life’. An Saol.
Based on Pádraig’s development since leaving the Schön-Klinik and the UKE, based on how he responded to the therapy, the picture is pretty clear. What needs to be done has become clear based on experience, not on speculation.
No medication, no PEG food, no tubes into the body.
Normal activities such as going out for walks, into museums, participating in events, going to concerts. Standing up, exploring all senses through experience, participating in life.
The therapies need to be continued on a regular and high frequency basis. No doubt. And being transferred into day-to-day living.
He will need to return at least twice a year to the intensive therapy sessions in Pforzheim for periods of six weeks.
He will need to be with his friends. He will need to go out. He will need to live his life to the full.
We will need the support of the Irish Health Service, for once, to make this happen. And we can demonstrate to them now that this is not a waste of resources.