caba agreed to fund the full cost of the vehicle. The freedom it gives us has had a considerable impact on our son's wellbeing - and on ours.
My son Adam was in his forties, married to a Thai woman and teaching in an International school in Thailand. They had just had a baby and were enjoying life. But in 2012, when Adam was driving home, all that changed. He accidentally scratched another English person's car. The man came after my son with an iron bar. He put him in a coma.
When the international hospital phoned us and told us he was in intensive care, they gave him a 10% chance of survival. We flew out immediately and stayed with him until 6 weeks later when we made a decision to move him to the UK. It was a very frightening experience for us, but it was the right thing to do. It was clear this was not an injury he was going to recover from. The past 4 years have been extremely taxing for us. We have grieved in an ongoing way for the man our son was, and how he is having to live now. We were always a close family and we have stuck together through this, but it has been very hard.
Our lives were turned upside-down. I have had to stop working, as dealing with all of this is more than a fulltime job. He has been in various hospitals, neurological centres and residential settings here in the UK, some up to a 4 hour drive away. There have been long stretches where we have needed to visit him daily, though now we visit a little less than that. Aside from the visits, there are all the decisions to be made about my son's care and treatment, the forms, the benefit claims. In addition I deal with the foreign office, the Thai police or the QC acting on our behalf in Thailand almost daily. There have already been 2 court cases - one sentencing my son's attacker to 6 years, but as yet, he has managed to pay his way out of justice. He has never served more than a few days. Dealing with all that takes time, and we also visit my son's partner and son in Thailand to make sure she feels supported and we maintain strong links as a family.
The financial implications have been huge. The hospital stay in Bangkok was over £2,000 a day, and it cost £68,000 to air-lift him to the UK. We have needed to provide a monthly sum for our son's partner too as she was dependent on him, though fortunately the school my son worked at has provided a full scholarship for his son's education. We've paid out a lot in legal advice and representation, and also in travel. And this was all at the same time as me having to retire earlier than I had planned. Luckily we did have significant savings, but we have also had to re-mortgage our home.
My son has defied the odds and has been making slow but definite progress. The neurologists have said that he was in a vegetative state, but we were certain that he was in there, just unable to communicate. We noticed smiles, blinks and hand movements in response to things we said. We filmed this and showed it to his consultant. The consultant was astounded and immediately changed his care plan. We think he was under stimulated and getting depressed in the nursing home so we decided to get a vehicle that would enable us to take him out.
I had just started to research this when I got an email from caba about their services. I replied explaining a bit of our situation. They contacted us quickly and said they thought they may be able to help. I assumed that being a charity, everything would be tied up with technicalities. But they were fast and efficient, and in no time at all, they had agreed to fund the full cost of the vehicle.
It's been amazing. It arrived in the summer, just as Adam's partner and son arrived. We were able to take them all to the seaside, to friend's houses, we even had a party for him at our home. The freedom has had a considerable impact on his wellbeing - and on ours. He is getting some of his life back, and we can enjoy getting out and about with him.
Now we are in a stable place with Adam, and he is in a home that provides so much stimulus, I think I might be able to take a small amount of work on again soon. I am aware that caba has some support for professionals that are returning to work, so I may contact them about that too.