NightInBurgau

Felt like as if I hadn’t slept at all when I got up at 4 am this morning. A few hours later we got onto the DART-type S-Bahn to get us to the Hauptbahnhof. From there, it was a regional train to Burgau where, as you will remembers from our spring time journey, you cannot get off the train if you’re coming from Munich. So we had to continue a few stops down the line to Günsburg where I had to fix the lift to get us down from the our platform to a level where we could cross. Wait. And get another train back to Burgau and to a platform from where we could leave the station.

A few things happened to day that I might have missed just being busy… one thing was when we went out for dinner, just 100 metres down the road where we are staying in Burgau just for tonight (the apartment we rented for the coming three weeks in not wheelchair accessible and the Therapiezentrum cold not admit Pádraig today).. Burgau is a tiny town. The bar / restaurant we went to reflected that everybody knew everybody else.

Pádraig’s Schnitzel-Dinner tonight!

When we arrived at 7 pm to have a beer (we are in Bavaria after all) and a bite to eat, all tables were taken. But then this elderly couple got up from the nicest seats and tables in the restaurant and offered it to Pádraig – who duly went on to have a Bavarian beer with German Schnitzel!

TheJournal.ie continued with their reporting of Pádraig’s trip to Boston and put together a short video!

And so did a local Brewster website reporting on a long email they received from the Chief of Brewster Police, following Pádraig’s visit back to the Cape.

Police advance efforts toward bicycle safety

BREWSTER — Last week Padraig Schaler and his family, along with friends and supporters, returned to Brewster from Ireland for the first time since a …

Head is hitting the keyboard. Good night!

 

 

Impropriety

Another day I’m getting to bed far too late, considering that we’ll have to get up at 4 am to make it to the airport in time.

I’ve been writing to a journalist on the Cape who published a follow-up article on Pádraig’s visit to Brewster last week, basically reporting on a long email the Chief of Brewster Police sent to him following Pádraig’s and his friends Walk for Life.

The article quotes the Chief as saying that

At the Schaler family’s request, we were contacted by the Attorney General’s Office in 2015 and all information related to the case, including depositions given during a civil proceeding, were turned over for review and we cooperated fully. There was no finding of impropriety.

It was us who took the depositions and forwarded them on to the Attorney General’s office. The police never ever even took as much as a written and signed statement from the driver. And the Attorney General’s office was not investigating “impropriety” but considered whether they could take a criminal case in the Courts against Brewster Police Department. In the end they decided that such a case would most likely not be successful. That was their finding.

The kind words the Chief finds for Pádraig and our family are very much appreciated. But they are not enough. As long as they publicly repeat that their investigation was proper – insult is added to Pádraig’s injuries.

What happened to Pádraig should never happen again.

An apology would be a first step in the right direction.

Try

Why do people like Leonard Cohen songs?

They are depressing, sad, and full of heartbreak.

I think they are also funny and disarmingly honest.

Everybody knows” is a perfect example for this.

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody got this broken feeling… Isn’t that the perfect description of misery? I’ve got this broken feeling. My lightness of being is gone. My ‘Unbekümmertheit”, my carefreeness. I don’t think it’ll ever come back.

What I haven’t lost is my ability to laugh and joke about my misery, at least at times. And who would have thought that some researchers believe that laughter is the best medicine at least for some conditions. Apparently, we change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues, including to our brain. The opposite is true as well: no laughter, less oxygen, less chance of recovery.

So I’ll keep listening to Leonard Cohen’ songs. And looking for a stand up comedian who’d be prepared to tell Pádraig’s story, in a funny way. To keep the oxygen going into my brain – and otherwise get people to listen.

Pádraig will be going back to Germany on Sunday. This time to the Therapiezentrum Burgau. We visited there a few times but have never been there over a longer period. They are helping us with An Saol’s pilot project – so it’ll be good to see how they work.

Today, for the first time, Pádraig stuck his hand into a crisp bag to get himself a crisp. He didn’t manage to get his hand back out again, unfortunately. He’ll try that tomorrow and the day after until he’ll be able to do it all by himself.

He’ll just have to keep trying.

 

ANormalDay

“Thursdays with Pádraig” is what his friends have agreed to do. They take turns and call in to see Pádraig, to update him on what is going on and to see how he is doing. Today, as t happened, two of his friends called in, at different times.

One of them told us that he was going to walk across Ireland. Why would he do this, I ask. Was his car broken? – Probably out of courtesy, he smiled. The rest of my family just looked at each other and blamed cultural differences. He is going to do this coast to coast walk with two of his (and Pádraig’s) friends. They hope to do it in nine days.

The other (slightly older) friend is seriously ill. He had been coming over to see Pádraig regularly over the years and had made friends even with some of Pádraig’s carers. For him, he said, everything was coming together. When he left, Pádraig had one of those moments when we all new and felt how sad he was. And there was nothing we could do about it.

This morning, before Pádraig had his first physio session following his return from the Cape, I went up to our local HSE office and collected the original of the signed (!) Service Agreement with the HSE. It was an almost unreal moment, holding this document in my hands that had taken close to a year to get together, and another six months to get counter-signed by the HSE. Now, we’re just waiting for the funding to get processed and then, there will be no way back!

After many ups and downs, today we decided to work on the refurbishment of ‘Creation House’, the FABrik, the old Smurfit factory. It will take up to nine months to get planning permission, the paperwork processed and the work done, I was told today. We will need to find interim premises to start getting on the tracks after the summer. It is amazing to see things changing and turning from ideas into reality!

So what kind of day was this today? A mixed bag day? Or just: a ‘normal’ day?

I think it was the closest thing you could get to a ‘normal’ day

Structured

Are we back to the daily routine? Are Pádraig’s days structured again along the lines of carers coming and carers leaving? Has anything changed? Are the days of exploring and conquering days gone by?

To the contrary.

They are just about to start.

Which way is he going to go?

How would I know?

It’s his life. It’s his decision.

He is the master of his fate.

He is the captain of his soul.

Under the bludgeonings of chance,

His head is bloody, but unbowed.

He is invictus.

Video

Here is a video my phone put together. I have no idea how it did it. None.

 

There’s no therapist in sight. There is no-one encouraging Pádraig to move his arm, his hand, a finger, his leg or foot – not even his head. Yet, this video is full of smooth moves and full of spectacular ‘firsts’.

A lot of what Pádraig experienced last week is in there: the walk from the Police Department to the spot of the accident. The encounter with the jogger who performed CPR five years ago. The sign we had put on the roadside two years ago which was resurrected by an unknown friend and placed with a solid metal stick screwed on to it into a prominent roadside ‘garden’. Breakfast in the garden/house of a good friend (Pádraig had met for the first time). The visit to the Brewhouse for Pizza and Beer with his two friends who had been with him in Cape Cod five years ago. A visit to the house he and his friends had stayed, beside a beautiful lake with some ‘lake chairs’ still waiting for their return. Dinner at Gerardi’s Cafe, where the owner and staff welcomed him with open arms and open hearts. And a quick shot of the car we had rented after much difficulties in which he could sit right beside me in the passenger seat position.

PS: I lied a little earlier when I said that my phone prepared the video with no input by myself. I did pick the background music theme: happy. Hope you like it.

Went swimming today and Pádraig managed to stand on one side of the pool, holding on to the bar, all by himself, with me just helping him a little to keep his head up straight. Something unthinkable only a few months ago.

H-A-P-P-?

When Pádraig today spelled out what his greatest memory of his visit to Cape Cod was, we guessed the fifth letter.

When a cousin later dropped by and left a super tasty fruit/cream/meringues roll for him, that happiness continued and spread. We all had our double sugar boost and (nearly) finished this work of art in less than 15 minutes.

My heart is aching, there is a knot in my throat, and I am on a high – not just because of the sugar from this magic roll. We had thought long and hard about going with Pádraig to Boston and Cape Cod. At times, we had not been so sure whether this was the right thing to do. How would Pádraig take the trip physically and, maybe more importantly, emotionally. How would we take it.

Feeling happy for having done this trip is the best we could have wished for.

Much of this is thanks to the people we met along the way. From the staff in the airport and the plane, to the attorneys in the AGs office (at a personal level), the people working in Cape Cod Hospital, the Irish-American family who put us up five years ago and who we met again, the group of people who walked with us, some of whom traveled especially from Boston to the Cape for the day, his former landlord and wife, their son and daughter in law, even the Brewster Police Department who could  have handled this in a much less supportive way, the lady we had never met and invited us all over to her house for breakfast, the friends who made a point in coming to the airport in Boston to say good-bye to Pádraig, the people who so generously donated to support Pádraig’s Walk for Life.

I have always been annoyed that I hadn’t been born ten years earlier so that I would have experienced flower power first hand. So that I could have been in Woodstock or in San Francisco.

Last week, there was more love and peace and rock’n roll in Brewster Massachusetts, than there has ever been in Woodstock or in San Francisco.

Love and peace and rock’n roll. We’re conquerors. Dreamboaters. H-A-P-P-Y and beautiful people.

We’ll continue to turn bombers into butterflies.

And we’ll find ways for persons with catastrophic brain injuries and their families to enjoy life again, most of the time:) We’ll change the hearts and minds of people about very severe acquired brain injury so they’ll never ever think, never mind say, ever again that any money spent on their rehabilitation, in the widest sense, was a waste.

Review

Pádraig’s Walk for Life is getting quite a bit of coverage.

The return of Padraig Schaler

It’s been a battle and it has led Padraig down a long road, including one … The walkers who accompanied the family carried signs — Share the road, …

The return of Padraig Schaler

BREWSTER—Five years on, to the very day and hour, Padraig Schaler revisited the curbside on Route 6A where his life took a disastrous turn.He was …

The return of Padraig Schaler

BREWSTER — Five years on, to the very day and hour, Padraig Schaler revisited the curbside on Route 6A where his life took a disastrous turn

Irishman who suffered serious brain injury in US accident returns to site of crash

Five years on from the accident that left doctors asking his parents whether they really wanted an “intolerable life” for their son, Pádraig Schaler returns …

Irishman who suffered catastrophic injuries in US returns to scene of crash

This morning, Pádraig Schäler (27), his family, friends and local well wishers … A promising swimmer, Pádraig Schäler had just completed a degree in .

Long road back for Irish man injured 5 years ago in Brewster

BREWSTER — On June 27, 2013, 23-year-old Padraig Schaler hopped on his bicycle and pedaled toward the Bramble Inn on Route 6A. Just as he .

The journal.ie Facebook coverage

The journal.ie’s Instagram coverage from MondayTuesday, and Wednesday.

Pádraig even hit the front page of the Cape Cod Times!

In addition, there were hundreds of tweets, shares, and likes from people Pádraig has touched, not all of them met. There were also many people who made generous donations via PayPal and GoFundMe for Caring for Pádraig, set up by a group of friends to raise funding for Pádraig’s therapies and associated costs.

To all of the people who supported Pádraig’s Walk for Life, to raise awareness and to push for justice, who supported him in so many different ways: from the preparation of posters to organising a fantastic breakfast for all walkers, to spending time with him during his walk: Thank You!

None of this would have been possible without your help!

Leitrim

My head is still spinning and I am wondering whether I am getting used to that feeling.

To keep it like that, we decide to go to Leitrim for the weekend. Sure, why not. The bags don’t even have to be packed (they still are). Nice BBQ in the afternoon and dozing in the sun, recovering.

BackHome

#SaolWalk   #PádraigsWalk

http://www.CaringforPadraig.org

Friday morning. First flight in to Dublin. One of us straight off to Galway. One of us straight up to the hospital (‘routine’). Two of us home, having a shower and trying to settle back in. To normal life. Tired as tired as one could be.

Up to a meeting in the old Smurfit premises and in what could still become the home for the An Saol Project.

Afternoon all in a haze. And off to bed.