For Tracy Dickson, Headway’s support was crucial when her 19-year-old son, Brandon, sustained a hypoxic brain injury following a series of epileptic seizures that resulted in a cardiac arrest.
Brandon, who had lived with epilepsy since early childhood, had just completed an apprenticeship in business administration and was looking for work.
“We woke up one night when we heard him having a seizure,” said Tracy. “We’d had this numerous times, but he went into a second seizure, then a third and he just kept having them.
“Everything stopped; his heart, his breathing, his eyes faded. We literally watched him slip away. We had to resuscitate him and keep him going and just wait for the ambulance.
I really thought they’d come and say they’d lost him, but they got him fit enough to take to hospital.
After several weeks in intensive care, Brandon was transferred to Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, a 30-mile return journey for his family.
“We were desperate to be with him,” Tracy continues. “To sit and hold his hand and let him know he wasn’t on his own. We didn’t know if he was aware of what was happening, but we didn’t want him to be scared.”
The Covid pandemic meant Tracy and other family members had restricted visits.
“That was the hardest. We were going to the hospital every day, but we could only visit for an hour at a time. We went up three or four times a day, backwards and forwards, to the hospital. I felt so scared and helpless.”
Tracy applied to the Headway Emergency Fund for support with the family’s increasing travel costs.
“I wasn’t working at the time, so Headway was a massive help to be able to get us up there when we needed. You can’t put it into words how much it meant to us. It was amazing. It doesn’t take all the weight off your shoulders with everything you’re going through, but it was one less thing to worry about.
It’s a massive thing when you don’t know which way to turn. Just to know there is something out there to give you that faith and hope that you’re not on your own. I can’t thank Headway enough.
Brandon is making a slow recovery, but Tracy describes him as a ‘battler’.
“He’s still with us and he’s fighting,” she said. “He has come a long way and he is improving but we’re on the edge of our seats all the time for a phone call to say something has happened.
“It’s had such a massive impact on us and on Brandon more than anyone. There’s still a long way to go but he’s started to speak and recognise my voice. He’s having to learn everything all over again.
“We feel like we lost our son last year, but we have a new Brandon back. We don’t know what his life would have been like, but this is the life he’s got now and we’re trying to be positive.”
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