SO…. This is my first time writing since my accident. As most know, I’ve been posting often on my social media platforms,(Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). It’s been a rough road since the day I decided to dive through the back windscreen of my team vehicle. The reason I’m writing this is because I’ve decided a lot of my progress has been great and many people apart from those who are very close to me realize the struggles I’ve really gone through. A lot of the time social media makes it seem like everything is great and I’m always happy. Yes I have many happy days but I have just as many bad days! I’m not exactly going to post anything negative as my goal is to inspire people through my suffering and hopefully portray a positive message. It doesn’t matter where you are now, doesn’t matter what others tell you, as long as you believe you can achieve something, you can and will!
Firstly I’d like to start off in letting you know, I am a man of Faith. I remember when I woke up after my Coma and the first initial days were very dark. The pain was indescribable,hallucinations were the worst but the morphine was great. I’ve never gone into great detail about what was going through my mind each day. MAN! I can’t explain to you how much it sucked not being able to understand Italian nurses and doctors. I thought they were trying to kill me, honestly I was terrified of them. Turns out they were trying to help… Who would of thought? You should know, every morning and night, I’d pray basically saying, “Thank you Lord, I made it through another day, I could see my parents again and tell them that I loved them”. I made sure I told my parents I loved them in case I died through the night. Letting them know I loved them put me at peace. There was one night in particular, I was hallucinating really badly, I was in so much pain and I thought to myself, “tonight is the night I lose my fight!” I struggled to keep my eyes open as I was fighting the pain with everything I had! I was hitting the side rails of the bed and pushing myself up off the mattress. I for some ridiculous reason thought my stomach was cut open and my insides were falling out… YEAH! WEIRD AS F@*K! Apparently it’s normal in ICU to have vastly ridiculous hallucinations, which comforts me in knowing I’m not insane (well, not completely insane anyway). That night I prayed, “I’ve tried to fight, I’ve fought for so many days now… I don’t think I can anymore! I’m grateful I got to see my parents and was able to let my last words to them be ‘I love you.’ but I’m ready, I accept death, I’m ready to join you now.”. My eyes shut and it was just a dark abyss, for all I knew, I was dead. Fortunately not! I woke up the next morning and I can’t say I know what happened from that day on, most things were a blur until I left ICU.
I was finally moved to a rehab facility after 22 or so days of ICU. This was a tough period. I was lucky enough to have my own room and silence… No machines beeping all the time. It was bliss compared to ICU. That was until rehab started.
Sitting up was my first goal. It was a terrible feeling every time they sat me up. The nerve pain in my arm was by far the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. People would think that my cut was the worst but in all honesty I was out cold! I never felt a thing. The hardest thing I faced was seeing other patients. To see other people, even a kid my age, who had no brain, or very little brain function. I kept thinking, “That could be me, I could’ve been like that.” The best thing to do is thank God I’m not like that and make sure I work as hard as I can to get back to as close to normal functionality as I can, as well as not wasting this second chance at life. I’m not sure what that reason is, I think for now I am to use my story to inspire others. That through adversity, pain and what might seem impossible. NEVER GIVE UP! The only limiting factor is you and your mind. Your attitude can change your life. As much as I disliked my rehab there, I still managed to have a reasonably good time. I’d always joke around with the nurses. I’d always give them shit! They still liked me… I think! I’ve realized during this experience that kindness and encouragement go a long way. I’ve noticed that the Italians are amazing people, I’ve made so many new friends. Just people who came and visited, I had no idea who they were but they hugged me, encouraged me on, words were spoken, well, Google translated and tears would be shed. Despite the language barrier, out of the goodness of their hearts they’d come back week after week to see my progress, bringing chocolate, gelato (ice cream) and pizza because hospital food is not exactly satisfying at all. I have to admit the best gift I got in hospital would be a gift basket… now it doesn’t sound so dazzling, I know…BUT! I was sitting in my wheel chair watching a stage of the Tour De France and a man comes in and gives me a massive gift basket. I couldn’t sign it as I was too weak, so a nurse signed it off for me. She also opened the letter for me so I could read it. I’m annoyed with myself, I’ve “misplaced” the note but it went something like this, “Hey Keagan, hope your recovery is going very well. You are doing so well. Here’s some Brandy to help you make that horrible hospital food taste better! Heal well – Margot” Now it didn’t even take me a second to realize who this was… My heart started racing and I had to compose myself and was thinking of how many Margot’s I know, or know of.. Margot FREAKING Robbie just sent me a gift basket and I was beside myself. I’ve never received a gift basket in my life and the first came from someone who doesn’t even know me… How insane is that? My morale took one hell of a boost! I can’t explain to you how much one act of kindness like that can change my attitude. So Margot, if you’re reading this (probably not) I’ve saved that bottle and will only open it when you take the first sip. I am going to be in Australia in the new years… If it happens it’ll probably be on my VLOG… If I get permission of course! haha.
Okay, back to the topic of struggle. My travel back to New Zealand wasn’t as bad as I thought. I didn’t like being in a wheel chair, pushed through the airport. The only bonus was I could skip all the ques! and BUSINESS CLASS! Holy cow, how good is leg space on a plane? Second thing that made my travel back cool, I met Fernando Alonso who was kind enough to take a photo with me. The toughest part of this whole journey is I’ve not only had to build up my body from nothing but also my mind. To wrap my head around the fact pretty much my whole life’s work, hours upon hours of training, the struggle to try and make it in the big leagues… ALL GONE! But, as we all know I don’t give up easily and it’ll take more than this to stop me from getting to where I want to be! I arrived in Christchurch, late morning to an absolutely spine tingling HAKA from Christchurch Boys’ High School lads! Hospitals suck! Especially when you arrive back home and actually can’t go back home. I spent three or so months stuck in a room and mostly in a bed. But that was all I had the strength to do. I showered myself for the first time when I got back to New Zealand. It was great to finally be able to do something myself for a change. In rehab the small goals are really the best victories because it signifies improvement and improvement is all you are looking for!
I’ve been rambling on a lot about my experience but I’d like to end off this blog letting everyone that knows someone in rehab (not just physical but addiction ect) Don’t be afraid to help, but don’t always do everything for that person (mums I know it’s difficult but you have to stand back sometimes). Don’t treat me any differently or act different towards me. I’m still the same idiot I was before, I just have a few new features added to my body. Friends and family are so important I can’t stress it enough! If you know of someone struggling, don’t let them be alone, offer a helping hand, even if it is just to come around to talk. Don’t be afraid to ask to help someone, if they don’t want help, that’s okay but at least you tried. I’m trying to stress this because I myself have had some dark thoughts, I’ve thought how much easier it would’ve been if I just died, I wouldn’t of had to worry about all the emotional and physical pain I’ve gone through or am currently going through. Or I’ve thought what suicide would be like, what I’d do if I did. I know a lot of you will get worried reading this, don’t worry! I defiantly won’t be attempting to kill myself. That’s not why we were put on this earth, we all have something we can contribute to this world, plus I’ve worked this hard to get to where I am now, I won’t be throwing away that hard work too! Not everyone is like me, if you’re reading this and you’ve had similar thoughts. Just know that no matter how much life keeps knocking you down, when you hit rock bottom the only way from there is up.
Just remember to KEEP FIGHTING! Hope this wasn’t too long but I felt it needed to be to capture as much detail as I could.