My name is Nick Verron.
I’m 6 years old and shouldn’t be here.
Early in the morning,
on July 4th 2009…
I attended an impromptu meeting with the world renowned
Head Anti-Archaeologist Mr G. Reaper;
I’m told he’s very diligent regarding execution of his Skills For Life.
–In America, they celebrate Independence Day on the 4th July. Ironically, this was the day that I lost mine, along with everything else. This however, was also the day that I was given my second chance at life; I have since dubbed it my Rebirthday. I found a loophole in Mr Reaper’s fine-print: I had the option to use a 1-Up (extra life)…
BUT, the drawback was that I’d have to become a “persistent vegetable in a state” (be in a persistent vegetative state ie. “brain dead”).
So, I’d become an anomalous tomato; an unpredictable, misconceieved vegetable.
It was the evening of July 3rd 2009 when I started arguing with my girlfriend. Our arguing resulted in us breaking up.
I left the house at around 1am the next morning. Within 5 minutes, when I was on my way to a night club and had got a little way down the road, a group of teenagers asked me to buy some cigarettes for them. When I refused, the gang ringleader threatened to kill me. With post traumatic amnesia, I’m not entirely sure what happened that fateful night, but am told that an argument ensued. As I walked away, the ringleader ran up behind me and rammed a 10 inch screwdriver through my temple, so deep that the handle shattered my skull. I was left there to die but luckily some strangers walking past found me and called an ambulance. I was taken to hospital but the full extent of the damage was not apparent as the puncture wound in my temple looked like I had just caught it in a drunken argument with the kerb.
When the severity of the damage was recognised, and I had had brain surgery to remove the shards of skull left in the destructive wake of the screwdriver, I was not expected to survive. If in the unlikely event I did, I was expected to be left in a persistent vegetative state. I’m told the very best that could be hoped for, was to have the mentality of a happy two-year-old (however this only happens sporadically…) and that any chance of independence and decent quality of life was surely impossible. When I miraculously awoke from my weeks of coma, I couldn’t speak, sit up, and was paralysed down one side.
“I need this like a hole in the head” — never thought I’d be able to say that literally!!
After being laid in hospital for months and praying for a chance to be able to start fighting against my situation, in rehab I immediately set about continuing to defy predictions. I was told any hope of further recovery was all but impossible and that I should accept my disabilities and limitations and get used to living with them. So I did 3 hours of exercise per day with a 1 kg weight along with insisting I use a standing frame regularly. They told me this was detrimental and pointless. So I doubled what I was doing. They then put me in a room with someone that snores where I couldn’t sleep. So I tripled it! Coincidentally, when I was discharged 3 months later they did a presentation about how much they’d helped me improve.
My motto has always been “I REFUSE TO LOSE“. I’ve broken just about every rule in the medical profession, including dying being the end of your life. It was the beginning of mine and I wouldn’t change a thing. This ordeal has shaped me into the person I am today.
One of the main things to remember if you’re trying to fight against adversity:
If you believe you can, YOU WILL!
“Do not let circumstances defeat you.
You can if you think you can.
Optimism is the tool to help you get up
after a fall, and to keep
going towards the life you really want.”
After being released from prison (that’s what it felt like in rehab), and also being engaged twice, I got some free weights and locked myself away in my mum’s bedroom. I shortly went on holiday to the rave that I should have been at the previous year (1st picture below) but was busy being in a coma. The rave was HTID In the Sun in Spain. After 10 months of waking up from my coma, initially not strong enough to support my own weight with my legs, I stood for 7 nights of raves and drinking, on average 8 hours per night. When I got back to the UK, I spent up to 18 hours a day lifting free weights and every type of rehab exercise we could find, to try and get my body back under the control of my brain. I then got my tattoo (2nd picture below), which says “possum ergo facit”, Latin for “I can therefore I do”. “Envy” relates to my initials phonetically.
The NHS physio soon discharged me from ongoing therapy, saying there was nothing more they could do for me. She copied me into a letter to my GP saying “his goal of walking unaided is unrealistic”.
I’ll bloody show her unrealistic!!
In 2011 I moved into my own house. After being definitively told that this would never be a possibility. Ha!!!
I set my spare room up as a gym and pretty much lived in there. I’ve included some pictures where you can visually see progress I made. I don’t think they would be very interesting pictures to show the countless hours that I have spent learning basic human functions again, such as endless time in the kitchen, doing speech therapy, eye/facial exercises, standing practice etc (the list would need it’s own blog post!). I devoted my life to my recovery.
Mid 2012, I met Faith on an online dating site. Faith has serious mental issues but I really hoped we could work through them and enjoy our lives together. She pushed the boundaries of my disability and the good for me outweighed the bad. She was awesome because every time I said, “I can’t do that,” she’d ask why and help me use the things I could do, to find creative ways to achieve things I’d assumed I couldn’t do. Within 6 weeks of meeting, we were exploring Santorini with her giving me a “backy” on a quad bike, going snorkelling and stuff 🙂
After a year and a half we got married. We’d initially agreed to, so she could stay with me in the UK when her visa expired.
Almost immediately though, her mental health began to rapidly deteriorate and she had to go back to Singapore for treatment. I wasn’t allowed to visit for 3 months. When I went to visit my new wife in Singapore, she quickly announced that she was pregnant and we had conceived on my first day in Singapore….
This is my son Daniel Verron shortly after he was born, which I’m told was 29/09/14. I wanted so much to be there for this that I was willing to disregard all my moral principles and better judgement. These are nearly all the photos I have of him. Faith has very effectively cut me out of his life. I am including this section of my story because I don’t want him to think that I don’t care.
If you ever read this Daniel, my book “Possum Ergo Facit” will hopefully be published, explaining everything.
I was wrong. We couldn’t work through Faith’s mental issues. I should’ve predicted this would be the case, her being so intellectually brilliant and so adept at problem solving, yet still plagued by her self imposed mental demons. She’s her own worst enemy! But I had held onto hope.
The bad outweighed the good so much that I was dragged into a pit of mind and soul consuming depression which led to a psychiatric injury (I temporarily lost my mind). It killed me a little inside how she heartlessly denied our son a father who offered to move to Singapore and provide for his child with everything that he has and is.
But luckily “I Refuse To Lose”. When you fall down, get back up again!
I’d fallen so low, I needed to go really high to compensate.
In hindsight, I may have taken this a bit literally….
Click the pictures above to watch my 13,000ft skydive 🙂
I don’t feel that I’m putting any more effort in now, than I did a few years ago behind closed doors. It’s just able to be externally quantified now!
A phase of complete awesomeness has started recently. You’ll have to read my blog to keep abreast of new developments, but I’ll outline some of the main recent events:
I managed to walk unaided!
I completed the Para-Tri event with 2 legendettes
I completed the London to Brighton ride,
54 miles, for the charity Headway, 2 months after getting my trike! (Carrying 15 kg so that I could stay in The Grand hotel Brighton as a reward)
Me receiving the Stephen McAleese award for Inspiration at the 2015 UKABIF conference
Click the picture to see a post I find quite emotional, explaining why I was nominated for this award.