Back to page

Keagan Girdlestone #keepfightingkeagz - Updates - Givealittle

  • In his own words; Keagan's long road to recovery     15 August 2016

    I have been in the San Giorgio rehabilitation hospital in Ferrara, Italy since June 27, 2016. I have improved my gross motor skills which involve sitting, standing and walking. I’ve gone from collapsing after a mere five seconds of sitting, to being able to walk. My fine motor skills are improving but at a much slower rate.

    The latest test results show that I still have no nerve or muscle activity in my right bicep, which means I can’t bend my right arm. This is the result of damage to my brachial plexus – a network of nerves located near the clavicle. The deltoid muscle in my right shoulder is only just showing activity and is exceptionally weak. The supraspinatus tendon in my shoulder is also not working.

    If these nerves and muscles do not show activity within three months, surgery would be an option.

    The damage is not too close to my spine so the risks associated surgery are relatively low. Of course, surgery is the worst-case scenario but at this stage it’s looking probable.

    When I say my right arm doesn’t work, people assume it’s just weaker than it used to be. But no, I mean it actually doesn’t work. This is a long road to recovery.

    There are many activities I used to take for granted that I now struggle with on a daily basis. Getting out of bed, showering, washing my hair, drying myself, getting dressed, spraying deodorant … feeding myself. Just being able to turn onto my side while lying in bed is difficult.

    Each of these activities is an exercise in itself for me at the moment. Two weeks ago I fell over in the gym and couldn’t get up without assistance. That sucks — talk about a sitting duck!

    My day starts at 8:30am. I eat breakfast and get dressed and then go to physio from 9:30am to 11:30am. I have vocal therapy from 11:30am to 12:30pm — my right vocal chord was damaged in the crash — and then it’s time for lunch! At 1:30pm I have “robots”, a machine workout for my arms, a second physio session goes from 2:30pm to 4:30pm and only after that can I have a break.

    My days are pretty hard out. Heck, I’m training harder now than I ever did for cycling: five to seven hours a day, five days a week!

    The fine motor skills on the left-hand side of my body were affected by a lack of blood and oxygen to the right side of my brain, in particular to the basal ganglia. Essentially I had a stroke.

    I have movement but not without a lot of shaking. I spend more time chasing food around the plate than getting into in mouth. Further EMG (electromyography) tests are still being done.

    My right vocal cord is paralysed and has not shown any improvement in the past month. However, my left vocal cord can compensate for this loss through continued vocal therapy. I still sound like Batman. I guess my audition on X-Factor is a long shot now.

    Every day I have to work on everything; every part of my body. Hands, feet, fingers, voice, you name it — as a result I am tired all the time.

    I am clinically stable enough to be repatriated to New Zealand, but flights and dates are still to be confirmed. I need to be escorted by a medical doctor and transferred to a hospital in Christchurch. So, even when I do get home, I actually don’t get to go home per se. But being in a familiar environment and being able to see my friends will be awesome for my morale and further recovery.

    Thanks to everyone that’s offered messages of support in the past few months. I and my family appreciate it greatly.

    Keagan

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • A FEW WORDS FROM THE MAN HIMSELF...     5 August 2016

    Hello World, it's been a while!

    As most of you probably already know, I was in a pretty bad accident 8 weeks ago that nearly ended my life. This has been the most testing 8 weeks of my life and the first few weeks were very dark, probably because I was sleeping most of it or have little memory of what happened in those weeks. During that time I was hallucinating and the things I thought I saw make me worry about myself. And the things I apparently said, "mum these nurses are trying to f'ing kill me" - luckily they are Italian and speak little to no English haha. Anyway back to being serious. I should be dead. It's a miracle I'm able to walk, talk (very softly as my vocal cord is damaged) and have brain functionality. Over the last few weeks, since I can remember, I don't think I've ever cried or lost my temper so quickly in my life. I guess that's what it feels like to have PMS (ladies, am I right?) During this experience of me not having functionality in my right arm and uncontrollable shaking of the left hand when I try to use it, I have begun to appreciate the small things in life. Doing everyday things such as drinking a cup of coffee without shaking and spilling half of it all over myself before reaching my mouth, or being itchy on the left side and not being able to use my right arm to scratch it (thank you for being there to scratch for me mum).

    To everyone that sent me messages, I can’t thank you enough. There was a night in ICU when I gave up on life and accepted death (I was hallucinating pretty badly), but I woke up the next morning with my mum over me and I looked into her eyes as she told me “everything is going to be okay.” A blurry vision I will never forget. That is when I knew I had to win this fight, and could. Then my dad Wayne on the other side of my bed read me your messages and showed me your video clips of support.

    I can’t explain to you what a few phrases or words can do, but it gave me strength to get through many tough days. So thank you to the people that didn’t believe the reports about my death and instead prayed for a miracle to happen, because it did. And the words thank you is simply not enough, but that is all I can say.

    To everyone that made a contribution to the ?#?KeepFightingKeagz? Campaign, no matter how big or small, it goes a long way in helping keep my parents in Italy by my side as well as with potential extra medical costs in the future. Thank you very much for the support!

    A good friend told me recently that “Life is a beautiful thing. Enjoy it!” And that’s exactly what I plan to do.

    A more detailed update on my current medical condition will be posted on my athlete page sometime next week.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • RIMINI HOSPITAL RECALLS THE CRITICAL 6 HOURS FOLLOWING KEAGZ HORRIFIC ACCIDENT!     20 July 2016
    Main image

    "SLIT THROAT AND WITHOUT OXYGEN FOR 2 HOURS. THIS IS HOW WE SAVED THE "DEAD" CYCLIST."

    Front page of today's newspaper in Italy (Correira di Rimini): "The Rebirth of Keagan." (headline front page) "Slit throat and without oxygen for 2 hours. This is how we saved the "dead" cyclist" (headline 2nd page)

    RIMINI: His head slams into a car windshield. A violent shock. The windshield is shattered into pieces, his jugular and carotid arteries are completely severed by the glass. Blood is not reaching his head, nor does oxygen. The situation is desperate, this young man is only 19 and someone has already given him up for dead. Just a few seconds divide the fine line between life and death. A quick decision must be taken and perfectly synchronized rescue efforts must be started. On June 5th, during the Coppa della Pace race, in Sant'Ermete, professional cyclist Keagan Girdlestone, originally from South Africa, now living in New Zealand, crashed into the windshield of his team car and is lying on the tarmac exhaling his last breaths.

    Online, someone is already speaking of death. Not the medical team who, on that afternoon, win the race against time pulling through the most difficult fight. The first rescuer on site is Dr. Emiliano Gamberini, who finds himself in front of a hell of blood and manages to stop the bleeding. He must take the first dramatic decision: according to the rescue protocol, a helicopter rescue is needed, but it would take fifteen minutes to Cesena hospital. Too long. The doctors decision is ambulance to Rimini hospital.

    It is a very big risk, but it should save seven minutes, if everything goes well. The ICU, directed by Dr. Giuseppe Nardi is immediately put on alert for a "dying patient with penetrating injury to the throat." Later, doctors say they had never seen such deep cuts. In other similar cases, death came within two or three minutes. But the guy is still alive, the ambulance runs fast and loud. The surgery room is prepared in record time, two minutes instead of the twenty or twenty five normally needed. Blood is urgently needed, but no one knows the guy's blood type. Another race starts to take to the room O-negative blood, compatible with all other types. Blood and ambulance arrive at the same time.

    The entire staff, doctors Michele Leone, vascular surgeon, Antonella Potalivo, anaesthetist, Elisa Bartolucci, general surgeon, paramedics and stretcher porters are "combat ready" and move together as one, it is a necessary condition not to be overwhelmed by the events.

    The ambulance final rush and the transfer of patient to the hospital staff is a very delicate step. The patient is in deep coma with blood pressure at forty. He must be taken into the hospital building. The slightest mistake would be fatal. Time gone between the emergency call and the start of the emergency surgery is just half an hour. The 118 emergency service received the call at 16h40, Keagan Girdlestone is in the surgery at 17h10. In the meantime, someone has called the hospital asking for the time of death to be communicated to the press. The only reply is: "No-one is dead here, just leave us to do our job." Surgery ends at 22h40, the 19 year old guy is safe, against all odds.

    Keagan's parents are in New Zealand and they were the first to be informed: their lives, too, started again, after more than five hours of waiting. During these hours they launched appeals on the internet to pray for their son. He is in ICU, where he will wake up after three days, "without any of the side effects that we could expect" the doctors say "despite the time spent without blood circulation to his head, the boy did not report any neurological damage: he was conscious and could communicate."

    After 22 days in ICU he was then transported to the Department of Neosurgicalscience at San Giorgio hospital in Ferrara where he is slowly recovering muscle and nerve activity. In the meantime a fundraising was started, through the website https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/keepfightingkeagz/donations to allow his parents to be in Italy, close to their son. At this time, as much as 14 thousand euro were donated. The most important result is that "our son is here with us" the parents say. They were very moved when they expressed their feelings of gratitude to the medical team of this "mission impossible", or rather a textbook case which will soon be published in the scientific press. The medical team do not want to hear about miracles: "we only did what is our duty, an excellent team job" they say with great satisfaction. It is true, however, that the boy was saved grabbing him by his hair and the slightest mistake or delay along the "chain of rescue" would not allow us to save his life. A matter of seconds, which divide the fine line between life and death.

    #KeepFightingKeagz

    ORIGINAL POST:

    http://www.corriereromagna.it/…/la-rinascita-di-keagan-gird…

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • UPDATE ON KEAGAN'S CONDITION - 19TH JUNE 2016     17 June 2016
    Main image

    Two weeks after the horrific life threatening accident, Keagz is still in intensive care in Rimini, Italy.

    Contrary to initial reports, Keagz did not sustain any facial injuries. The critical injuries were sustained to his neck and throat. He severed not only the cartoid artery, but the jugular vein, nerve and muscles.

    Due to major loss of blood at the scene as well as the time it took to get him to surgery, the right hand side of his brain was starved of blood and oxygen. He also sustained bruising of his brain due to the impact as well as vocal cord damage. At this stage the full extent of his injuries is unknown as well as the period of rehabilitation.

    He is breathing on his own but with difficulty as one of the nerves controlling his diaphragm has been damaged. He has limited movement of his left side due to the lack of oxygen to the brain however this is showing signs of improvement. The right side, which is being affected by nerve damage, is also limited. He is able to move his leg and squeeze his hand, but there is no movement of his arm.

    With continued rehabilitation it is hoped that all functionality will improve as time passes. However, any possible long term effects are still unknown

    Your continued support, prayers and positivity is greatly appreciated by Keagz and his family.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment