The following was relayed to me over time from family members..
They encompass a sense of urgency, a fear for my future and theirs without me, loss of control and emotional exhaustion.
After not returning with my partner from getting fuel and being missing for over an hour, my family started hearing the sirens and helicopters fly by our family home.
The missed phone calls, unanswered voice mails, and pleas to make sure we were okay went unheard.
My father drove down to see the flashing lights and emergency attendees in full force.
He was approached by an attending officer, who advised him that he couldn’t pass as there was a crime scene ahead.
After describing us both , the officer believed that he had turned us around and said we had to take the freeway exit and go around to the fuel station in mandurah. (another 15 minutes away)
Unknown to them that I had already layed lifeless only a few hundred meters away, having already began my life saving air lift to Royal Perth hospital.
He returned home and waited another hour with my mother and at this time contacted the Mandurah Police station directly, only to be told we were involved in a serious motor vehicle accident.
Distraught beyond all belief, that utter heart dropping moment of their fears becoming reality in a matter of minutes was enough to make them incapable of stepping behind the wheel themselves.
My brother Bodie was called and tasked with driving the somewhat 1 hour and 15 minute trip to the hospital, not knowing what state i would be in when they arrived.
Calling ahead eagerly desperate for information, they were advised that there was no patient by the name of “Dylan Matthew Czeladka”.
“Although we have an unidentified male, that needs to be identified”.
Silence fell upon the car, with no words being spoken for the rest of the journey, believing that they had lost me.
A brothers bond is never broken
My oldest brother Corey flew home from Fly in fly out the morning after the accident, a task that took five and a half hours (woken up at 4 am and driven almost 2 hours from camp to Karratha airport).
He wrote this passage on the flight home, not knowing if I would make it.
“Love you bro” I’ve said it so many times
“Love you too bro” I’ve heard it as many times
A thousand times more would not be enough.
I think of you with so much pride. So, so proud.
My heart breaks at the thought of losing you.
I’m sitting on an airplane. My face trenched in tears.
I’d swap places with you in a heartbeat. Do anything to take your pain. All of it.
Please don’t go.
The ICU waiting room had little privacy but it became my family’s temporary home (usually in excess of twelve hours at a time). Many patients and their loved ones came and went, with my family’s exposure to others grief and loss happening daily and instilling a heightened sense of vigilance and a harsh element of uncertainty.
My mother being a clinical nurse attended every handover day and night, monitoring every move and event, relaying this to the family in simple terms. All the time truly understanding the seriousness of my condition.
Limited to only one visitor at a time meant some close friends and family made the journey only to be turned away.
They prayed, they cried and comforted each other as best they could even bargaining with any higher entity that would hear them.
They were guarded and controlled from the outside but breaking on the inside, as the days went on it was harder to hide their pain and at times emotions just flowed freely.
Frustration came when they couldn’t move forward with needed investigation because the monitor inserted into my brain to measure the inter-cranial pressure was not compatible with the MRI machine.
Joy came from the squeeze of a hand, a stable night, a smile, a well placed hug that gently hooked around mum’s neck on the 5th day as they reduced my sedation. A recognition, a silent mouthing of I love you and any good news, however small.
When I finally started to communicate their tears came from the words “I’m sorry”. My family in so much pain for them to recognise the self guilt I had burdened on myself from an accident in which I had no control. The other tears came from the broken hearts of adult men, my father and brothers breaking down uncontrollably at the lack of fairness that this could happen to me.
My mother’s tears from watching other families loss, from seeing her baby strapped down and fighting to free himself, not knowing if he could hear her telling him it was “okay”, but knowing it really wasn’t “okay”.
Fear came that night and has not left them alone, not knowing if I would make it through this. They feared as a family they would not make it through this. A simple siren from emergency services brings chills, with all parties in that moment needing to know where everyone is and that they are safe and accounted for.
Only over shadowed by fear of that day in the future when I once again begin to drive, fearing my return to independence when I am no longer under their protective wings.
Through all this emotion they find comfort only in the fact that I am alive and that I am striving to get better one day at a time.