‘My baby is bro­ken’

Scotch­town man par­a­lyzed in ac­ci­dent con­tin­ues to re­cover

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE

Scotch­town man par­a­lyzed in ac­ci­dent con­tin­ues to re­cover.

The mother of a Scotch­town man par­a­lyzed in a hor­rific mo­tor-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent in Bethune, Sask., says she fi­nally got to meet the priest who came across her son on the side of the road af­ter the crash.

Jean Cousins said Rev. Dr. Michael MacGre­gor, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Saskatchewan and a priest in the Angli­can Church of Tan­za­nia, showed up at Regina Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal to see her son Jason ( Jay) Cousins, 35. It was an emo­tional re­union.

“He lives a three-hour drive away. See­ing him was like see­ing an an­gel from heaven.”

Jay, un­able to move at the ac­ci­dent scene, had asked MacGre­gor to call his par­ents on his cell­phone so he could tell them he loves them. Cousins had spo­ken to her son only a half hour be­fore, and she was shocked to an­swer and dis­cover a priest on the other end of the phone.

Cousins said MacGre­gor gave her prayer beads at the hos­pi­tal and spent time with Jay.

“He said ‘ Even though Jay couldn’t talk, he still had that same sparkle in his eye, the same sparkle I saw that day at the ac­ci­dent.’”

“We prayed and he prayed,” she added.

Jay was se­ri­ously in­jured in a sin­gle-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent while trav­el­ling to Red Deer, Alta., to start a new life. He was six hours away from his des­ti­na­tion when he was in­volved in the ac­ci­dent in Bethune, Sask. Jay is cur­rently in the Regina Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal suf­fer­ing from mul­ti­ple in­juries and is par­a­lyzed from the chest down.

Cousins said they also re­cently met two women at the hos­pi­tal who were trav­el­ling be­hind Jay and saw him swerve and get thrown out of the win­dow of his car.

“They said it was like watch- ing a movie. They grabbed their first-aid kit and ran to him,” she said.

“They just kept talk­ing to him and all he kept say­ing was ‘Mom and dad.’ He knew he couldn’t feel his legs. At the end he was get­ting cold, go­ing into shock. Peo­ple were run­ning with blan­kets.”

Cousins said she was glad to meet these women.

“We are get­ting more de­tails about what hap­pened that day. I’m also thank­ful another car wasn’t in­volved and no one was killed. I know Jay couldn’t have han­dled tak­ing another life. I’m thank­ful it was just a sin­gle-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent.”

Cousins said her son now has a breath­ing tube in­serted in his throat and doc­tors can’t guar­an­tee it won’t be per­ma­nent.

“It’s like be­ing on a roller­coaster ride — ev­ery day that you walk into the hos­pi­tal you don’t know what you’re walk­ing into,” she said.

She said its heart­break­ing to see her son in this con­di­tion.

“It’s like my baby is bro­ken — he’s like Humpty Dumpty and I can’t put him back to­gether again,” she said, cry­ing.

“I know it’s all in God’s hands.”

Cousins — who along with hus­band Melvin hasn’t left her son’s side — said Jay was sched­uled to have surgery on his neck on July 15 but it was can­celled af­ter he de­vel­oped an in­fec­tion. He was on a res­pi­ra­tor un­til July 22 and could only com­mu­ni­cate by blink­ing his eyes. She said af­ter the tra­cheostomy tube was put in, the doc­tor went in to talk to him.

“He can’t talk. They gave us a book, he points at the pic­tures.”

She said since the ac­ci­dent, Jay has been wor­ried he won’t be able to play the guitar again.

“They don’t know how much us­age he’s go­ing to get back in his hands and arms,” she said.

“He loves mu­sic, es­pe­cially loves the Dave Matthews Band.”

In the mean­time, Jean said sup­port from across the coun­try has been amaz­ing, with cards com­ing from peo­ple they don’t know.

“Peo­ple are say­ing they are pray­ing, keep­ing Jay in their thoughts. It means a lot to us.”

Their only other child, daugh­ter Star­lette Cousins- Thomas, 44, died of Crohn’s dis­ease in Fe­bru­ary.

Cousins’ best friend Lau­rie Car­ri­gan, also of Scotch­town, has set up a GoFundMe cam­paign peo­ple can ac­cess at http://www.gofundme.com/ywc5tw. Peo­ple can also do­nate to the fam­ily at any branch of the Royal Bank in Canada (Transit No. 05173, branch No. 003, ac­count No. 5029111).

Car­ri­gan said Jean is on long-term dis­abil­ity and Melvin is only re­ceiv­ing his old age pen­sion.

“I set this up to re­lieve their bur­den so they wouldn’t have to worry about leav­ing their son’s side,” she said.

“The gen­eros­ity out there is un­be­liev­able. I don’t know how they’d be do­ing it with­out ev­ery­one’s sup­port and prayers — it would be a to­tally dif­fer­ent story, it would be a tragedy.

Cards can be mailed to Jay at Regina Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, c/o Jason ( Jay) Cousins, sur­gi­cal in­ten­sive-care unit, room 1, 1440 14th Ave., Regina, Sask., S4P-0W5.

“We are get­ting more de­tails about what hap­pened that day. I’m also thank­ful another car wasn’t in­volved and no one was killed. I know Jay couldn’t have han­dled tak­ing another life. I’m thank­ful it was just a sin­gle-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent.” Jean Cousins

SUB­MIT­TED BY LAU­RIE CAR­RI­GAN

The Toy­ota Rav4 that Jay Cousins was driv­ing when he was in­volved in a sin­gle-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent on July 7 that has left him in Regina Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal par­a­lyzed from the chest down.

SUB­MIT­TED BY LAU­RIE CAR­RI­GAN

Jason (Jay) Cousins, 35, of Scotch­town, is seen in the sur­gi­cal in­ten­sive-care unit at Regina Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, par­a­lyzed from the chest down, fol­low­ing a sin­gle-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent July 7 in Bethune, Sask.

MacGre­gor

Cousins

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