ON THE MEND

Summerside boy struck by car at cross­walk re­cov­er­ing, thank­ful for sup­port

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY COLIN MA­CLEAN Colin.Ma­cLean@Jour­nal­Pi­oneer.com @Jour­nalPMacLean

Summerside boy struck by car at cross­walk re­cov­er­ing, thank­ful for sup­port

“We haven’t been back to the site of the ac­ci­dent yet. We’re hav­ing some is­sues swal­low­ing that. But we will be back there soon. We’ll have to go for a walk even­tu­ally. I find it a lit­tle nau­se­at­ing to think of go­ing over there, but it’s a part of our neigh­bour­hood and it’s his path­way to school. So it’s go­ing to be im­por­tant for us to do that.” Elise Arse­nault

Gage Bow­ness misses his hair.

The 11-year-old had a coifed blond mop un­til re­cently. Un­til the col­li­sion.

Gage was struck by a car while cross­ing at a cross­walk on Granville Street, near Queen El­iz­a­beth Park, on July 13.

He suf­fered 11 frac­tures from head to toe and un­der­went cra­nial surgery to al­le­vi­ate pres­sure on his brain. His head was shaved to ac­com­mo­date the pro­ce­dure.

He was, to put it mildly, in rough shape.

Al­most a month later, his stitches are start­ing to dis­solve and his skull is start­ing to heal. His arm was in a sling for a few weeks, but he uses the sling less now. His hair is even start­ing to grow out again – though he looks for­ward to the day when he can wear hats and put on his head­phones for his Xbox.

He’s heal­ing – though he is be­ing mon­i­tored for any longterm ef­fects.

He’s also in pretty good spir­its and is pleased as punch with the “Su­per­man” nick­name his doc­tors at the IWK gave him, on ac­count of his re­mark­able re­cov­ery time.

“I’ve got heal­ing pow­ers like Wolver­ine or Dead­pool,” he said, in ref­er­ence to his comic book su­per­heroes.

His par­ents, Elise Arse­nault and Tim Bow­ness, are thank­ful for that speedy re­cov­ery.

They’re also thank­ful for the re­sponse from the com­mu­nity dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time.

“The good en­ergy and strength that was be­ing sent to us that week, man – (it) kept me keep on keep­ing on,” she said.

On the night of the in­ci­dent, Arse­nault was at home and was start­ing to get wor­ried as Gage was over­due.

She had started mak­ing calls look­ing for him when two of her neigh­bours ar­rived to in­form her about the ac­ci­dent.

Gage had been cross­ing at the cross­walk, but an out-of­province driver struck him as he was al­most to the other side of the street. His friend was a few steps be­hind him and es­caped un­in­jured. The driver has since been charged with fail­ing to yield the right of way to a pedes­trian at a cross­walk.

Gage was rushed to Prince County Hos­pi­tal, but the doc­tors there quickly re­al­ized he needed spe­cial care at the IWK and he was air­lifted to Hal­i­fax.

His fam­ily drove through the night to meet him there.

Dur­ing the drive, the doc­tor called and asked for con­sent to per­form cra­nial surgery to re­lieve the pres­sure on his brain. Arse­nault re­mem­bers the doc­tor telling her that with­out the surgery Gage was al­most cer­tainly go­ing to have a stroke and die, but with surgery his chances of re­cov­ery were 75 per cent or higher.

“I wasn’t emo­tional – I couldn’t al­low my­self to be emo­tional. It was all busi­ness,” she said.

It wasn’t un­til about five days into their hos­pi­tal stay, when Gage was out of the in­ten­sive care unit, that Arse­nault al­lowed her­self to con­sider how close they’d come to los­ing their child.

“I was the child and Gage was the adult. He held mommy and wiped away her tears,” she said.

Even though Gage is heal­ing phys­i­cally, she added, both he and his fam­ily have some emo­tional re­cov­ery to do.

“We haven’t been back to the site of the ac­ci­dent yet. We’re hav­ing some is­sues swal­low­ing that. But we will be back there soon. We’ll have to go for a walk even­tu­ally,” she said.

“I find it a lit­tle nau­se­at­ing to think of go­ing over there, but it’s a part of our neigh­bour­hood and it’s his path­way to school. So it’s go­ing to be im­por­tant for us to do that.”

Even­tu­ally, they also hope to talk to the city about what they can do to in­crease pedes­trian safety in that area of Granville Street.

They are also en­cour­ag­ing all lo­cal driv­ers to learn from this in­ci­dent and to pay ex­tra at­ten­tion at cross­walks.

Af­ter all, not even Su­per­man is in­de­struc­tible.

COLIN MA­CLEAN/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Gage Bow­ness, 11, and his mother, Elise Arse­nault, are shown in their Summerside home. Gage is re­cov­er­ing af­ter be­ing struck by a car at a cross­walk, July 13.

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