A fishing addiction and a positive mind. Tim tells his story.
Published June 2017
Eleven months ago Tim sustained a traumatic brain injury, fractured ribs, fractured facial bones and dental injuries due to a motor vehicle accident. Today he’s walking, talking and driving to work as a demolition labourer.
Waking from an induced coma, Tim’s injuries primarily affected his memory, communication skills, hearing and balance.
“The accident has changed my life dramatically”, Tim said.
“With work I have been given the okay to return to light duties only. For a very labour intensive job like demolition, it means I’m unable to do a lot of the work required. The brain injury I sustained makes me very tired just from being awake and my brain registering everything that is happening around me. This requires some time to sit down and rest for a little bit so I don’t become involved in a worksite accident due to being too tired and not on the ball when I need to be”.
Driving his own recovery
Tim’s independence has since grown exponentially. Tim tells “Due to my injuries, I wasn’t legally able to drive. NIISQ has funded my driving test with an instructor to allow me to return to driving.”
NIISQ funded a comprehensive neuropsychology assessment to determine if Tim had any cognitive deficits as a result of his brain injury. An occupational therapist was able to provide Tim with memory strategies, advice on his return to work and a driving assessment to determine if he was able to safely return to driving.
Making a move
After the accident, Tim made the decision to move interstate to his hometown of Newcastle. He says that the injury inspired him to be closer to his family and friends to allow them to be by his side during his recovery. With the NIISQ office based in Brisbane, Tim now works on his personal support plan remotely with his Support Planner. He says that “NIISQ has been nothing but a phenomenal help, my Support Planner is always extremely easy and quick for me to get in contact with and gets back to me within the hour every single time.”
“Given that Tim lives interstate, we found other ways of communicating. This has been mostly via phone and email rather than face to face contact”, says his Support Planner.
“Working with Tim remotely has also been made easier given the independence he has been able to achieve for himself”.
What’s most inspiring about Tim’s recovery is how content he is with the simple things in life. “A typical day for me now is to wake up and head to work, followed by relaxing on the lounge until I head off to bed, unless the conditions are good for a spearfish.”
A keen spearfisherman long before his injury, he says that his injuries have changed the way he does this. “I’m not as fit before the accident, and my hand eye coordination is still a bit dodgy. This has resulted in me not being able to handle long periods swimming in the water and I’m also now a horrible aim with a supergun”.
In spite of this, Tim says his spearfishing hobby has become “more of an addiction now”.
A positive mind
Tim has achieved so much with returning to fishing and to work. Despite his serious injuries, Tim has maintained his keen sense of humour. When asked what he likes most about work, he said “I have rattled my brain and even asked friends what it is that they enjoy at work and the best I could come up with is lunchtime and home time. I’m fairly certain that they are the two biggest things that any human loves most about work.”
Tim’s positivity prevails as he states he has already achieved everything he had hoped. “I honestly can not think of any goals I have left to achieve that I haven’t already done. My biggest ones were to return to work and return to driving which I’ve already achieved due to the overwhelming support from NIISQ through all of this.”
Tim leaves us with this encouraging and optimistic message.
“All I can say to other people that start this journey is that even though everything you are experiencing is as negative as things can possibly get, you must look at the positives. Most of all enjoy the journey. You’re not dead, you’re not at work. You’re now on a road that is up to you how far you travel down and lead your recovery to 100 per cent. Take the reins and own it. Show all therapists and doctors just how strong the human body and mind is.”