This blog is coming to you from my older sister Laura, the second in the series of family and friends giving their voice to my story.
A sisters' perspective
Nothing will ever prepare you for the worst day of your life. I can remember the events of Saturday, March 2, 2013, like they were yesterday. A knock at the door from the police, several frantic phone calls and a long car ride; that was only the start of our journey. The day Will had his bleed was life changing for all of us, there's no denying that. But going through an experience like that makes you stronger, closer and truly shows the human spirit can be battered but never broken.
On the day of Will's bleed while on our way to Frenchay hospital, the neurosurgeon rang me to update us on Will's condition, which was life threatening. Having not been able to get hold of our parents who were travelling separately, they needed someone to give consent for the brain surgery they wanted to perform. They told me 'at best' Will would be paralysed down his left-hand side permanently. They told me he would be a different person who most likely wouldn't know us. He may loose his speech, his swallow. He may not survive, he may be in a vegetative state. It never crossed my mind not to give consent for them to operate, in fact I shouted at the doctor to get off the phone with me and go do it. I didn't know then what the future would hold but I knew Will, and I knew he was a fighter.
Will has always been the baby of the family with everyone rallying around to help him. Homework not done-I was on it. Problem with his computer-our older brother Mat sorted it. Issue with his car-my husband Dave fixed it. Cooking question-Mum to the rescue. Dinner needed in a hurry, Dad was there.
This time though Will had to fight for his life, quite literally. There's a quote I like that says: hospital walls have heard more prayers than churches and for us that was true. Everyday we prayed and begged for Will to fight, and fight he did, and has done to this day.
We watched and waited for Will to come round and it's a slow process. We used to try and guess amongst ourselves what his first words would be when he was able to talk-as it happens they weren't the usual 'where am I?' Or 'what happened?' but rather Will's first words upon coming out of his coma were: 'I feel dehydrated' - a typical Will response!
There were further comical moments like when he was still drugged up; he hallucinated there were grey bunnies at the end of his bed or when he thought Amy's mum, Jude, was the Patron Saint of frogs. One of the funniest was when he thought he was Stephen Hawking with a voice box.
I have immense pride in how Will has approached what happened to him and his subsequent recovery. Not once have I heard him complain or ask 'why me?' From someone that could be quite moody, he is amazingly upbeat and positive. He has worked hard to get his left-hand side working again and everyday he overcomes new challenges and makes great achievements.
I think part of Will's recovery has been down to the fact he was so fit and healthy beforehand-this is certainly what saved him initially, that, and his youthful good looks. When first admitted to hospital the doctors believed he was 25. They told us had they'd known he was actually 30, they wouldn't have operated as the chance of recovery was so slim. The outcome would have been very different. I believe the majority of Will's recovery though has been made through the power of love. The love of Amy, our family, Amy's family and the overwhelming support we have received from friends, colleagues, acquaintances, medical staff and random strangers. Each and every person has helped and touched our lives in some way and helped Will on his journey. For that we are truly thankful.
It's been a long road and it's been bumpy but I'm proud to say Will is standing on his own two feet, quite literally, and I think perhaps we have found the 'new normal'