Posted December 06, 2015 09:36:37

Silent. Misunderstood. Killer.

This is the story of a young woman who wasn’t going to let her acquired brain injury destroy her.

By Kristy O’Brien

Infographic: Quita Docking (correct) pictured with very best buddy Cody Hollingsworth before her accident. (Supplied: Gladys Docking)

It is the silent, unspoken killer amongst us, striking from nowhere, altering everything in a single heartbeat.

The rugby tackle that was as well higher. A joyride gone awry. An accident on the farm. Just operating out of luck.

Acquired brain injury is the major killer of folks under 45 years in Australia. Proper now 730,000 Australians are living with brain injury, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

However the condition remains chronically underfunded when it comes to study and medical advances.

It is a profoundly misunderstood, tough and silent crisis that leaves victims and their loved ones feeling utterly helpless, totally disempowered and angry with the method that is meant to support them.

Beyond the figures, there are folks and stories. Lives that will never ever be the same once more. Individuals who stand up and fight, who are adamant about proving the system incorrect, and providing hope to these that come behind them.

Quita Docking is one of those fighters. Hers is a life that was irreversibly changed on September eight, 2002.

Infographic: Quita Docking loved her operate as a jillaroo on a Northern Territory cattle station. (Supplied: Gladys Docking)

At 19 years of age, Quita was a wild, invincible and fearless jillaroo who worked extended, arduous hours on a cattle station near Timber Creek in the Northern Territory. An avid horse rider, she liked to party as difficult as she worked.

Part of the outback exciting for generations has been flocking to rodeos and camp drafts, a opportunity to socialise and show off ones horsemanship and station expertise. Each spare weekend the young jillaroos and jackaroos of the Prime End would load up their utes and drive long hours to get to these events. Quita was no different.

As she mounted her horse to compete in the barrel racing at the Timber Creek camp draft on a hot and dusty Sunday afternoon, no one could have predicted the horror that was about to unfold.

Quita hit the dirt. Her skull practically crushed by her horse Brumby.

But for everything that went incorrect on that day, a lot also went correct. She was airlifted to Royal Darwin Hospital and then to Adelaide, where miraculously, she lived.

Infographic: Quita Docking was 19 years old when she came off her horse. (Supplied: Gladys Docking)

Three months on although, nevertheless deep in a coma, Quita’s chances of survival were slim. For her mother Gladys Docking, it is still a painfully raw memory even right after all these years.

I could not even cry, I was just numb. Just sort of searching at this physique that was my daughter that was just lifeless, and all the buzzers going on and off. I imply all the tests and every little thing showed there was absolutely no sign of life in the brain. I was preparing a funeral for about 3 weeks since that’s how negative it really was.

Gladys Docking

In spite of the poorest of odds, the day before physicians had been about to turn off her breathing machine, Quita began waking up and tripping out the ventilator. It appeared her will to reside was powerful even beneath all the tubes, machines and doubts. It would not be the last time she proved the medical doctors and her diagnosis wrong.

It also marked the beginning of what would turn out to be a decade long battle for the household. Numerous brain surgeries, stem cell therapy in Germany where it is legal, hours of rehab and a continual search for medical miracles that would make life even the slightest bit more bearable.

Infographic: Gladys Docking made a choice that she was never ever going to give up on Quita’s chance of recovery. (Supplied: Gladys Docking)

Ms Docking made a choice on the day her daughter woke up. She would by no means give up on Quita.

There was no rule book to comply with, and she gave up every little thing such as her considerably loved job as a teacher to turn into a full-time carer. She also worked long brutally hot days on the loved ones mango farm in Darwin’s rural location to scrape collectively funds for remedies and rehabilitation.

I just started fighting against it so whether it was doing the correct or wrong factor no one could tell me. We had her outdoors in a wheelchair, we’d drag her outside in a chair, put her on cold rocks on the ground. I just wanted to make sure that she had everything.

Gladys Docking

There had been milestones, and factors to maintain going. The girl who was deemed to forever be a ‘vegetable’, began talking again, then making use of her limbs, and sooner or later even walking.

Infographic: Quita’s mum Gladys was determined to make positive her daughter never felt abandoned because of her injuries. (Supplied: Gladys Docking)

But the actually big victory came when she got back on in the saddle and on the horse that began it all, Brumby. Her mother’s eyes fill with tears as she talks about it.

“To get back on her horse, back on Brumby, to Quita that just meant the globe. It was the absolute globe,” Ms Docking said.

The cruel reality of brain injury is that there are so many hidden side effects, things few want to want to speak about. Dr Corinna Van Den Heuvel from the University of Adelaide has studied brain injury and says it is a hugely misunderstood and under researched field in the healthcare globe.

“Typically patients will say it is these a lot more hidden issues which are far a lot more disabling if you like than the actual physical problems that their dealing with,” he mentioned.

Infographic: Quita’s mum Gladys believes her previously active life compounded the reality of living with an acquired brain injury. (Supplied: Gladys Docking)

Quita usually suffers from severe depression, psychosis, and at times intense violence, producing Ms Docking’s job extraordinarily challenging and confronting.

“She has these negative depressed moments, where she is so down and miserable and I consider in so numerous ways if she had died she would not be suffering like this,” she said.

“But it doesn’t do any very good saying I want to kill myself due to the fact it makes you far more miserable… but often I believe if she did it I would be really, really sad even so I would completely recognize.”

Quita admits that at instances she feels trapped in a cycle of loneliness and aggravation.

Yes I have ridden my horse… sometimes I believe let’s go and do it, and occasionally I really feel like why even bother? Mum says I’ve come a long way but to me feels like everything’s exactly the exact same each day.

Quita Docking

The family’s struggle is the reality of this disability. There is no rapid fix. The message Gladys desires to get out there is that even though Quita’s recovery has been by no indicates fast, or without having comprehensive rehabilitation, she has defied these 1st dark predictions that she would be wheelchair-bound and unable to communicate . It is a message Gladys says is important for any individual facing the identical dire predictions.

Very best friend Cody Hollingsworth says she worries about the future for Quita, especially after Gladys is gone.

“I’d adore her to uncover someone that cares for her that honestly can see the gorgeous person inside, and find their way by means of all the external and additional stuff that is occurred and support bring out the old person that was in there that is nevertheless there,” she said.

Infographic: The day Quita got back on her horse Brumby was the most considerable milestone in her recovery. (ABC News: Owain Stia-James)

The complete story of Quita Docking’s remarkable journey will be aired in a specific documentary Challenging Ride on ABC News 24 tonight at six:30pm.

Topics: sports-injuries, brain-and-nervous-technique, nt

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