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Taurean still standing tall


SHERIA BRATHWAITE

Taurean still standing tall

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IF YOU HAD a second chance at life, what would you do? Would you try to positively effect change around you? Well, that is what Taurean Clarke has been doing for the past several months after he miraculous recovered from an almost fatal vehicular accident last year, May 17.

Taurean, 27 years old, is a motivational speaker who imparts encouraging and optimistic words to listeners. As he recounted his trying experience to EASY magazine, he said he was doing so as he wanted young people to value and appreciate their lives no matter how difficult their circumstances may appear.

“I didn’t know the car was on my left foot,” he said as he recalled the moments when he came to from the accident. Clarke was one of three people injured along the Barrow section of the ABC Highway between the Life of Barbados roundabout and Briar Hall, Christ Church.

“I could see every part of my body up to my left knee and I looked at my left hand and saw that it was broken in two places. There was one point in time I was looking at the highway and I told myself I wanted to go there and lay down. I was telling people to pull me out and no one budged and I got really mad and I started shouting at them.”

When he realised he was shouting to no avail, he tried to put himself in a comfortable position and waited. When the emergency crew arrived they had to use The Jaws of Life (a hydraulic rescue tool) to extricate him.

“I heard a man said, ‘We have to get this car off of him’. When they jacked up the car an inch off my foot, I started to feel pain. And then the blood started to flow and I lost three-quarters of my blood. The surgeon at the hospital afterwards gave me a rough example of how much blood was in my body . . . he told me I only had blood from my ankle to my toes.

“When I was going down in the ambulance with my mother and the paramedic, he talked a bunch of ignorance to make me laugh and keep me awake.”

Eventually Taurean passed out.

“When I got into the hospital they hooked me up to a lot of different machines and after a few minutes the machines went blank and my body shut down.

“I was gasping on my last breath and the nurse got me just in time. After that, my body temperature started fluctuating. One minute I was really hot and the next I was really cold – my teeth were chattering.”

While he was in the operating room the team had to bring a jacket to keep his body warm.

When Taurean woke up from his surgery it was to a missing limb.

When the surgeon and his family checked on him the look on their faces told Taurean something was wrong.

“When the surgeon lift up the sheet I could only see up to my left knee. That is when reality hit me and I knew my leg was off.

“I can’t really explain how I felt when I realised I only had one leg. It was like one day I had two legs then the next day I only had one.

Taurean, who is also a Rally Barbados enthusiast and a member of the Tiida Society 246, said when it was time for visiting hours he started to cry uncontrollably, and his friends and family members followed suit.

“My heart rate started to increase rapidly,” he said, “and the nurse told everyone to go out so my heart rate could come back down.”

Taurean would spend two weeks in the hospital, during which time a metal rod was inserted in his left thigh.

On his discharge day Taurean had to face another reality . . . leaving the hospital in a wheelchair. And he was hesitant for the world to see him like that.

Having proved that he was ready by getting into a wheelchair by himself, he felt hesitant to face the world.

At home, Taurean was now dependent on his family members to help him bathe, dress and eat for a long while. In a wheelchair with a broken hand, he felt like a burden to them and didn’t want to leave home.

“Plus I also had the stigma in my head that people were going to stare at me, which they did, but I eventually got over it. I told myself if I take on people staring at me, I would not go forward. 

“In November I went out. I didn’t have on the prosthesis but I was using my crutches and I fell down and had to be back in the hospital.

“That was a big blow for me because I was progressing and I put back myself to square one.”

Taurean has restarted his therapy.

“Right now I’m doing functional training and learning to walk with the prosthesis. I can’t walk without my crutch as yet but eventually I will.”

Despite physical challenges, Taurean is still on the social scene. Recently, he went on two cruises and he said he is starting to feel like his old self.

“At first I was frightened to get into the car and drive it. But my dad was with me and as we drove it began to feel natural to me. But I had a vision problem – whatever I focused on was blurred and I found out that the part of my brain responsible for my vision was damaged.”

His old schoolmate Jeff Mullin brought him along to one of his self-empowerment sessions at the Deighton Griffith Secondary School. Being put on the spot to speak to the children, Taurean was at a loss for words at first but eventually got the hang of encouraging young minds to strive for excellence. In no time Taurean decided that giving inspirational speeches was right up his alley. 

He said he is proud to have the opportunity to touch people with his story. He not only was able to meet other young amputees but he was also able to cheer up dispirited people. He said Paralympian Daniel Coulthrust was also a big inspiration and visited him in the hospital.

“This experience matured me a lot to the point that I look at life differently and I am more thankful for life. I’ve also learnt to accept things in life more and stop complaining.”

In addition, Taurean expressed his gratitude for all the support from his loved ones and well-wishers and to those who helped donate funds for him to have his prosthesis and also gave blood.

He said he was looking forward to returning to work in June.

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