I have decided to continue the story. This is just a summary of it all. Maybe one day I will go into the detail of how I felt and coped with all the things that happened in and around me.
I said the only thing that I could think of in that situation and that was: “Rugby Man… stay away from the light. We cannot lose you, not like this.”
The first week was a hectic week. It was the same time that the magazine I work for had to go to print, luckily the printers and all my colleagues were understanding and helped me out tremendously. Rugby Man was on the ventilator and was in an induced coma and on hectic pain meds. I am sure he was flying. He had very serious injuries and well, the Doctors could only move him on the public holiday, 24 September to do a MRI. The idea was 20 minutes to do the body and then if he was stable enough another 20 minutes for the head.
That Friday, 25 September, we were called in and the prognosis was not good. Rugby Man had a terrible spinal cord injury and according to the Neurologist, he had severe brain damage. The Neurologist explained it as follows: Rugby Man was like a baby who drowned. If you do not get enough oxygen to the brain, then the brain starts shutting down to keep the other parts going. That could of happened when they were moving him from hospital to hospital. However, we would never know the extent of the injury till he woke up. The doctor said that it would take time. Recovery could take anything from six months to five years. However, patience is what we needed. His left side was paralysed, however, the good news was that Rugby Man was moving his right arm and hand which meant that with time, the body could heal itself.
By the end of week two, they started feeding him through a tube to see if his body would accept the “food” and they stared “waking him up”, but the only problem was that he was not reacting. He was still on the ventilator but also in his own comatose state. By week three they started taking him off the meds. However, Rugby Man was not showing any signs of waking up or any sign of pain. The trauma nurses were awesome with him though and were awesome with us too.
The routine of our lives changed from day one and every visiting time over the weekend and every night we were there. My Mom also made me drop her off at the hospital, while I went to work, so that she could see him. Our life became all about Rugby Man. The boys who are 25 and 23 handed everything over to my Mom. My Mom allowed me to take charge because I knew in this time I had to be there for her. A parent should not go through the fear of losing her child, because it was her Son laying there. A man borne out of her, who God entrusted to her. She did not need to go through additional stress.
Well, I tried to curb the additional stress, but the current gf was not helping. Remember I said it was the woman who he met last year and then they broke up and she took to Facebook to tell everyone why they broke up. They recently got back together and well, I am not her biggest fan? Anyways, she decided that she would tell the nurses she was his FIANCE so that she could see him, because they were only allowing the closest family members in. She would go see him during the day and then share confidential medical information on Whatsapp and Facebook. Obviously an attention whore. She did things without us knowing, like stop his bank cards. She was marching to her own drum and to make a long story short, I put a stop to it. I wrote a letter to the hospital, which they gave to everyone working with my brother, that NO MEDICAL INFORMATION was to be given to ANYONE except the following people: My Mom, Biker Man, Me and my two nephews (Rugby Man’s sons). Also that no medical procedure could be done without the authorisation of My Mom or Biker Man.
The next day, after I handed the letter in, my Mom was at the hospital with my brother’s ex-wife, when the gf rocked up. She walked into the ICU and slammed the ICU door in my Mom’s face. Another gentleman that was behind my Mom asked what was up and my Mom said she did not know. She pressed the buzzer for the nurses to let her in. Now, every time we visited, the family would send my Mom in first. When she got to my brother, the gf was leaning over him (something the nurses asked us not to do, because it is TRAUMA ICU) and when my Mom asked her to give her a few minutes she started shouting at my Mom next to my brother’s bed. She stormed out. Then in the waiting room she told my brother’s ex-wife that my Mom was a bitch. After that day, she never returned to the hospital. She goes around telling everyone we banned her from the hospital, but truth be told, I think she realised that she would never be able to cope with a vegetable and was looking for someone to blame so that she didn’t look like the bad person.
With all that happening, the grief process continued. Any grief/trauma process consists out of DENILE, ANGER, BARGAINING, DEPRESSION and ACCEPTANCE. I think my Mom and I were quick to understand it and realise that life had changed and that whatever the outcome, we were there for Rugby Man. However, some people do not do well when it comes to tragedy, and Biker Man is one of them. He moved to Johannesburg earlier this year and was not nearby when it had happened. He and Rugby Man are close, VERY close, but he was in denile all the time. He did not accept what my Mom was saying about Rugby Man’s condition and because of that, he started lashing out at My Mom and I. At one stage he kicked me out of his family and told me that when my Mom dies, I will be all alone.
16 October came and Ruby Man turned 48 years old. We celebrated with him in Hospital with blue balloons and messages from Facebook, Whatsapp, SMSes, etc. So many people wished him well. A week or two after he was moved to high care, because they couldn’t keep him in Trauma ICU forever and we needed to find a place for him so that he could start with rehabilitation, even if he was just laying there. It was terrible to see, because he was always the active one. Playing rugby at the age of 48. Going to gym twice a day. Running the pub and working. He could never sit still. A few places came to evaluate him, but they said that they would not be able to work with him, because he was showing no signs of reaction. He was not responding to the easiest of commands, like open your eye or stick out your tongue. That was difficult for us. That is when they decided to move him to the rehab in 1 Military Hospital, however, he ended up in the surgical ward, because they had to do all their tests on him as well. That happened in the first week of November.
Then on Thursday, 12 November we were called to the hospital. It was not going well with Rugby Man. As Murphy’s law would have it, my car gave trouble the Wednesday and I took it in the Thursday when I got the phone call. By then I was the liaison between the hospital and the family. I called everyone and told them to go up immediately. I arranged for my nephew to pick up my Mom, while I had to wait for the car. I got there at 14:00, after receiving the call at about 11:45. The Doctor was amazing and explained to the family what was happening.
When I got there she called me aside and said that Rugby Man was spiking a fever and his body was getting enough oxygen. His saturation levels were extremely low (the levels of Oxygen in the blood stream). He had an infection that he was fighting off, but they called us in, because it did not look good. It was a matter of time. I know this sounds weird, but by that time I knew what they were talking about because my brother’s vitals became a part of my life. His pulse, his temperature, his saturation levels. How much oxygen he was receiving. I even helped and kept new staff up to date with progress etc. My Mom and I stayed by his side… till 21:00 that night. The Doctor came in and asked if she could arrange a bed for us to stay over. By then my Mom was tired and said no, she would go home instead. We said our goodbyes to him and left.
As we walked out, I said to my Mom, that I did not think that we would see him alive again. She agreed and said that if that is what God wanted to do, then it is up to Him. My Mom has and still is strong in her faith. She said from the start that Rugby Man was in God’s hands and whatever God wanted to do, she would accept it. She added that Rugby Man was in his limbo and had been between this world and the next and whatever happened she will accept.
At 07:15 on Friday the 13th of November (yes, I know trust him and his wicked sense of humor to choose Friday the 13th) Rugby Man’s time on earth came to an end. My big brother was no longer with us. He endured for 55 days and even though there were “up” days and there were “down” days and there “happy” days and there were “sad” days, he went to a better place with no more pain and suffering. No words can explain the heartache I feel, or the heartache my Mom feels. But together we mourn for a son, brother, father, friend and all round genuine good guy.
On the 16th day of October 1967 the life story of Timothy started. His emotions of love and hate, sorrow and joy, were written up in his book with God. On the 13th day of November 2015 the last entry was written in his book and God closed it. Through our Heavenly Father’s decision, his soul was claimed back by God, his Maker, and his body given back to the earth, as it should be. He is bereaved by his family and friends.