used to live in Munich for a few years and in South Africa
afterwards. This is how it happened: I took a fall of about 50
metres while hiking. As far as I've been told the first aid in South
Africa was perfect and I've been treated with care. The
accident happened June 20th 2010, exactly a month before
my birthday. I've spent several weeks in South Africa at the time of
the Soccer World Championships. In the beginning I was in a natural
coma. I still lack a lot of the memories about my previous life. The
scars from the surgeries on my back and the scars on my throat are
still visible. I've been told that I was flown from Cape Town airport
to “Klagenfurt” where I had to stay for another few months. I
can't remember any of this. I also lack many memories from my years
in South Africa. After stayint in Klagenfurt I was transferred to the rehabilitation
centre in Hermagor (Gailtalklinik). I'm currently still there, at the
moment I'm just 'on leave' for a few weeks at home in “Radenthein”.
In winter I'll be back there to have more therapies and to improve
further. I want to learn to walk again for example and be out of the
wheelchair. I also want to sleep well again without any sleeping
pills, eat properly and speak clearly, so people can understand me
when we meet first.
Many people don't understand me when speaking and this really is a problem for me. I train my speech every day. Although it's very exhausting, I improve a lot. A while ago I got some of my live recordings from Munich (AFK M49.5). At the moment in my spare time I see a speech therapist, with whom I train to speak clearly. We listen to the recordings to hear how I used to speak. I try and read aloud now constantly, so I can listen to my own voice.
I also have a swallowing incapability and a tube into my stomach through which I get fed. I've already had seven swallowing tests and since the last one I'm allowed to eat buns. At the swallowing tests a miniature camera is inserted through my nose into my gullet and the swallowing is recorded.
I still can't drink any water, because that's very hard and I still choke on fluids, therefore they are inserted through the tube. The first months I even had to swallow the tooth paste, because the risk to choke on water was too high.
For me life feels like a rebirth. I want to learn everything from scratch again. Things like eating sophisticated, walking on my own two feet, feeling when I need the bathroom, having patience and speaking clearly, so people will understand me from the start. I try to read aloud to hear my own voice. In my situation the most important thing is not to give up, but to go on and have goals, no matter how long they will take. It might be only small steps, but at least in the right direction – forward.
During my accident some of my bones got smashed as well. In the beginning it was not clear if I'd be paralyzed, but fortunately I'm not. My whole life I'll carry the scars from the tube of the respirator on my neck and on my back where I got a plate implanted.
It's strange but necessary to still wear diapers at my age. The accident caused me many months of my life, just erased. It feels like a rebirth, I need to learn everything from scratch again like walking, eating sophisticated, having patience, feeling when I have to go to the toilet and speaking clearly. Fortunately I regained my life.
I want to thank my parents who spend a lot of money and put in so much effort to have me transferred back home as soon as possible – that was not easy.
I also want to thank Tina, who was always by my side. Although she's from Germany and used to live in Cape Town she moved to Hermagor close to the rehabilitation centre to be close to me. Also a big thank you to all my friends who helped me so much and still do.
The accident caused me many months of my life, they are just erased.
"Wenn es möglich ist, ein Wort zu streichen - streiche es." George Orwell
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