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Aiden home with family

Aiden Sayer. PHOTO/FILE

‘I have my son back’

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After a significant spell in Wellington Hospital due to a major brain injury suffered in a work accident on February 11, 20-year-old Aiden Sayer has returned to Wairarapa.

He is home in Masterton being cared for by his mother Vania Ireland and her husband Craig, Aiden’s girlfriend, Amelia Henry, and his aunty Koren Sutherland.

The day before Level 4 covid-19 lockdown Sayer was due to move out of Wellington Hospital’s neurology ward to the Acquired Brain Injury centre in Lower Hutt. He was to have no visitors at ABI because of covid-19.

His mother put her foot down and said, “no way”. So, Sayer was allowed to move to his aunt’s house in Masterton with his mother, who had been with him every day since his accident.

A large house, with wide hallways it could accommodate the hospital equipment still needed.

The pair finally made it home, a month later, on April 24.

On the day of the accident Sayer was at work at AGTEC Machinery welding an eight-tonne trailer when it fell on him and pushed him across the room into shelving.

Aiden Sayer bears the scars of his terrible accident on February 11. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

He struck his head on both sides and had half his ear ripped off. His mother said he basically had his head hit from every direction and had a 5cm deep laceration punctured into it.

He had three other hits to the head where the trauma has caused his hair not to grow back at this stage.

After 16 days in a medically induced coma, Sayer was brought out of the coma and a couple of days later started communicating with touch and eyebrow lifts.

Not long after that he was mouthing the words to his favourite song: Tennessee Love by Yelawolf, which his family played him.

Ireland said, “We thought, OMG did he just do that? The doctors and nurses couldn’t believe it.”

Aiden Sayer showing the patches where he received blows to head during accident.

But Sayer did not start talking after his tracheal tube was removed. His vocal cords were not closing. At that stage he was also taking food through a tube. His family didn’t know whether he would talk or walk again.

“I was prepared for the worst as I had helped my father with his motor neurone disease so I knew my son could be totally dependent and brain damaged,” Ireland said.

“Aiden had pneumonia for 30 days in hospital and one day he seemed to go yellow. My best friend and I thought that was the day we would lose him for good.”

Sayer lost 20kg in the 2-1/2 weeks he was in a coma.

His lung collapsed at one stage during his hospital stay.

But he went home a lot sooner than expected. He is rehabilitating with equipment and support. And he is talking normally. But his walking is shaky, and his eye focus is unstable, giving him double-vision.

He can’t be seen by a Wellington specialist until lockdown is over, which is frustrating. But he has Zoom meetings with his therapists about eight times a week.

Doctors are saying his recovery so far has been a “medical miracle”.

“There is a long way to go but he is back,” Ireland said.

“In fact he is so back that we are into that young man-mother relationship and believe you me that isn’t easy at the best of times. But I have my son back and we are all delighted.”

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