After a horror crash last month that saw him spend over three weeks in a coma and lose both his legs, this Gympie truckie is taking things one day at a time.
Kadeem Darlow, 31, was seriously injured in a crash on the D’Aguilar Highway at Moodlu, about 60km north of Brisbane, on October 5.
He was transported to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital after being trapped in the wreckage of the truck for more than an hour.
As his wife Maghon Darlow explained, “He was placed into a coma because of complications with his legs. They tried to save his legs, going back and forth with operations every second day. He’s had about 120 hours of surgery. After the accident they operated for 14.5 hours, then he came out of surgery for two hours and had to rush him back in for another 10 hours of surgery.”
A diesel mechanic by trade, Kadeem got his truck licence when he was 18. He had driven professionally on and off for the past 10 years, but got into driving full time about four years ago.
“He did local and interstate and went wherever the boss needed him to go. He’s been with that company for 18 months. One week it would be Townsville, another week could be Sydney. He carried a bit of everything,” said Maghon.
“I know he liked the freedom and the open road. He definitely loved it once he started working in this job.”
With the family based in Gympie and Kadeem recovering in Brisbane some two hours away, Maghon has remained by her husband’s side – while their children, aged six and nine, and their niece and nephew who also live with them, aged 12 and 15, have remained at home.
“The kids have been back home with my mum. We’re trying to keep it as normal for them as we can with school,” said Maghon, though she admits it’s also been difficult being kept apart.
“Kadeem has found that hard too because normally on the weekends, he’d be at home with the kids. They’ve been coming to visit every second weekend with Mum.
“The kids have also struggled a bit, but they go to a really good school and the school has been great. I think keeping them at home with mum keeps things a bit more normal. But they’ve always had either Kadeem or myself home with them.”
It’s been over two weeks since Kadeem woke from his coma and Maghon says things are starting to look up.
“He is doing better. It’s just waiting on everything. He’s just had his last skin graft so we’re hoping that takes. They had done some already but he lost them when he lost both of his legs,” she explained.
“Once the plastic surgeons are happy with the skin grafts, it’s just letting that heal before he goes to a rehab centre. We’re hoping to send him down to the Sunshine Coast so it’ll be closer to home as well. I haven’t been able to go to work this whole time, so that will mean I get back to work too.
“He broke all his ribs and the main bones in arms so he can’t move his arms and wrists, so he’ll need to learn how to get from the bed to a wheel chair. After rehab, he’ll come home in a wheelchair first, because it’s 12-18 months before he can be fitted with prosthetics.”
Maghon added that Kadeem is hoping he can one day walk again, through the use of prosthetics but knows it’s a long road ahead.
“He really wants to walk again because it just makes life a bit easier but he understands that some days it will be too painful so he’ll just need to use the wheelchair. It’s because you need to train your whole body and brain to use different muscles, so it’s a really big process. It takes about 85 per cent extra muscle and energy to work two prosthetic legs,” she explained.
Despite everything that’s been thrown his way, Maghon says her husband is coping much better than she thought possible. “I think it’s been because everyone has been so supportive. His boss has said there will still be a job there waiting for him in the office. For now, it’s one day at a time – and we’ll have a new normal,” she said.
“I think his work being so supportive has really helped and having all his mates calling him while they’re out on the road has really helped too.”
A GoFundMe page has now been set up to help raise funds to aid in Kadeem’s recovery. To donate, please click here.