He may not be what he was
From the night Cam is flown to the Royal Melbourne, accompanied by RoyalAuto, and in the days following the crash, Alec is trying to be everything to everyone. He is measured, ever-helpful to the hospital staff, attentive and calm. You almost feel like it can’t last, but Alec is made of strong stuff and over the next few weeks shifts clear-eyed and with grace into a new reality: that if Cam wakes up, he probably will not be what he was.
“I’ve come to grips with the fact there are problems there,” Alec admits. “It’s going to be a long road to recovery but we can only work on what we’ve got with him. Try to get him somewhere close to what he was before.”
A month after Cam’s crash, Alec has gone from talking confidently about his son waking up and being interviewed for RoyalAuto, to celebrating smaller victories, like his unconscious son managing basic functions such as swallowing, and then a major moment as Cam opens his eyes while being turned by nurses.
“It was the first time since the accident,” Alec says. “They looked around but didn’t stay open for very long. After that, things started to move oh so slowly. A swallow, a couple of yawns, he coughed on his own. They’re all good signs. The nurses were over the moon.”
Alec says he now understands that the most pertinent question is how much brain damage Cam will be left with, along with other potential damage. “I know half of his body isn’t working the same as the other half,” he says. “The doctors look into his eyes and at the movement of the eye, the amount and strength of movement, and his right side is a bit slower, his eye is not working the same. Rolling him from his right side to left, he seems to be in more pain on his right side. His expression suggests pain.”
A month into this journey, Alec has returned to work for a few gentle hours, trying to regain some normality and finding comfort in his workmates’ heartfelt questions about Cam’s condition and how he is coping himself. He finds talking is the best way to release the swirling thoughts and grief inside, even though he also understands that most people find the subject too difficult and can’t bring themselves to engage. He is preparing to return to full-time work soon, spending evenings by his comatose son’s bedside, trying to find sense in this new reality.
Having deadlines, to return to work and for the TAC paperwork, isn’t a bad thing, he says, as it forces him to focus and allows him to feel he is doing something to help. He says that the day before, while he was sitting by Cam’s bed, Cam moved his head, and Alec was certain his son was trying to find where the voice was coming from. He still believes, still hopes, that his son is coming out of this deep sleep. Some of him, at least. One day.