A neuro-psychologist advised me that about 40% of victims survive the severity of my RTC. The strangest aspect of my outcome, however, is the outrageous level of recovery I’ve made. I was advised that out of the survivor group, fewer than 1% make anything like the level of positive recovery I have. In a nutshell, this makes me feel very... lucky. If there's one seemingly common behavour of trauma survivors that I have observed, it is that people want to hear of others who have similarly undergone trauma. Trauma survivors often compare themselves to others (I do it myself) and think along the lines of "it could have been worse, I could have suffered with X or Y or Z". I believe the psychology isn't related to triumphalism - it's that we all have fears of what could be the worst outcome, and are grateful that we have not had to face them. The comparisons aren't always logical as the thought of having massively reduced mental capacity would always have been a fear of mine, but then it happened to me, and I now feel there could have been worse outcomes.
It was expected I would die, the doctors asked my 85 year old mother if she’d be willing to donate my organs (she was). Two weeks after I came out of my four week comatose state I asked my life partner (Ruth) if she had come from Los Angeles and I had come from the moon. It was a week after my comatose period ended before I could speak as I had locked-in syndrome symptoms, I still couldn't breathe without assistance.
Ruth has always lived by a maxim she calls PMA - Positive Mental Attitude, it's a fantastic approach to life and goes way beyond trauma. PMA applies to almost anything: moaning about the rain, or being stuck in a traffic jam, is getting a little wet so bad, or being delayed by thirty minutes such a tragedy!
I haven’t, and doubt I ever will make a 'full recovery'. Beyond my deficiencies (see link) already mentioned, my short-term memory has been measured as below the 2nd percentile. I’m someone who has a first class honours degree and did a challenging six hour computer security (CISSP) exam (see link) at a breeze in less than three hours, to be assessed as having 'learning disabilities' was hard to read, but entirely accurate.
So, has the RTC affected my life? Yes, there are things I can no longer do. However, I now have hugely increased patience, vastly deeper understanding of dealing with challenges, and superior organisational skills developed as coping strategies. I'll accept the trade of old skills and abilities (see link) for the new opportunities and genuine appreciation of life which I feel every single day. In short, I feel the plusses outweigh the minuses.
Monday 18th December 2017: I think I have developed the flu - my eyes are streaming, my throat is very sore, I feel lousy. In short - ace news! After going nearly three years seemingly without a headache or a cold it feels great to have normal symptoms.