Bulletproof: Hyrum

Captions were made with the support of NZ On Air. www.able.co.nz Copyright Able 2021 – What’s the news, bro? – Well, they say no news is good news. – That’s it. That’s it. – There’s no rush. Just like being on the coast, eh. – I know. – Time’s never an issue. – No. Just people. (CHUCKLES) – (CHUCKLES) People. – Get down. Get those holes outta there. – Who’s this one going to? – (SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY) – Sometimes I think, boy, if he didn’t have his accident, he’d probably be in jail or he’d probably be dead. He was fully immerged in gangster lifestyle, pretty mischief guy.

He was always gotten into fights. He got kicked out of Boys’ High School. One child said that Hyrum always looked after them when they were at school. He would stop these other people bullying them, but it was Hyrum that always got caught. But when he leave school, there was really nowhere else for him to go. – Taking their breakfast, eh, brother? – I’ll cook and you butter. – (LAUGHS) Oh, that’s not a deal, brother. You can do the dishes. – (LAUGHS) No. We’re tag-teaming it. – We’re tag-teaming breakfast. You’re on the dishes. – (LAUGHS) – We were always close.

Yeah, everything we done, we done together, had each other’s backs. He used to get into skateboarding and that, and so I’d ride my bike, go down to the skate park with him and hang out with all the other kids until we started drinking, and that’s when it all got serious. And then both sorta hard out got into the gang and gang lifestyle. – Brother, see, I told you man, there’s no ‘I’ in team. – At New Year’s Eve, me and the cop at the time couldn’t control Hyrum. He’d been up all night and had been drinking and came home like an angry child So the cop came and took him to town and processed him. So at that point, the family of ours from Kawerau asked for Hyrum to join some culture down there, and he accepted, and the family would ring me to tell me that he’s doing great now, and Hyrum would ring me and say, ‘Mum, it’s awesome.’ So it was really good, and there was no mischiefness, so I was really shocked to see him come home that day he did come home.

Do you remember what happened over here, my brother? – Your accident, this is where it was. You died over here. How I know? I felt your pulse, and there was nothing, brother. Hyrum turned up with my cousin, and they were drinking. We had a friend and his partner come over and my sister also was at home. And the truck that my cousin come up on, it was only a single cab ute, so who couldn’t jump in the car jumped on the back of the truck. (HIP-HOP MUSIC) We went down the beach and sort of just drove around a bit in Tolaga, and everything was all right.

And I remember we just coming up to the corner. I looked at Hyrum, and I said, ‘Hold on, my brother.’ He goes, ‘Oh, it’s all right. Cuzzie’s got me.’ Right as we were coming around the S-bend there, he leant back to go and scull his drink. The truck straightened up and threw him off balance. And instead of just flying off the truck, which he should’ve done, he grabbed on to the side of the truck as he was falling over backwards. It swung him underneath the truck. And I felt the ‘doonk’. Like, we ran him over — his head. It just happened so fast, and I was banging on the roof and telling them to stop. At that point, I jumped straight off the truck.

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It was still going 35 K’s, 45 K’s. When I got to him, he had just stopped rolling on the ground. Felt his pulse on his neck, and there was one big pulse, and then after that, there was nothing. He was gone. Dead. If it wasn’t for our quick reactions of what we had… Lucky we knew first aid. – Ae. – Very lucky. Blood coming out of your… everywhere — eyes, ears, nose, mouth. Getting mouthfuls of blood doing CPR. But, nah, brought you back anyway. His whole face sorta mushed back out like when you squeeze a pillow, and then you let it go, it goes back to it’s form — that’s what his whole face done and took a bit to bring him back to life, but he started breathing, and it was like, heavy breathing, like a… (RASPS HEAVILY) Apparently, he had punctured a lung. – Yep. – It landed in the paddock behind us, my brother. I called for that helicopter.

You know how I knew to call for a helicopter? – How? – From logging. Logging accidents. – Oh, yeah. – That’s it. You don’t call for an ambulance out there, my brother; you call for a helicopter. After he was gone, I sorta started grieving a bit, and I was angry and frustrated because I’d never seen my brother like that and so unresponsive and that badly hurt, and… and there was nothing I could do about it. It was a tragedy. – Ae. – All because of what? Stupid, silly drinking. – Ae. Ae. – Surfing on trucks. – Ae. * (ALARM CLOCK BEEPS) – He was out, eyes closed for a whole month in Waikato Hospital. The main thing was he was still breathing. There was really nothing I could do. His puku wasn’t working. I don’t know why, but I just mirimiri-ed his feet, cos I heard that your internal organs are attached. – TAZ: After Hyrum had his accident,

I used to have flashbacks and wake up in the middle of the night, just replaying in my mind. And I didn’t know how to talk about it. I just went wild and started doing mischief things and stealing cars and just filling them up and taking off, and it all caught up in the end, and I ended up in prison. When I was in jail, there was a programme that I done, and they call it the DTU. It’s actually a drug treatment unit. That’s when I first found out about that PTSD and all that, and I was able to identify it and understand what it was. And I think that was a big part of overcoming that anger and upsetness. My auntie and them had said that they went and visited him, and they reckoned that he’s cabbage; he’s not there no more. He didn’t even recognise them. And I got upset. Like, ‘Nah, nah. No way.’ You know? I stayed strong in believing that he’s OK; it’s still him; he’s gonna be all right. And by then, they let me out on bail.

Caught a flight up to Auckland, went on the plane for the first time in my life, and when I got to the room, I could hear noises, and the noises he was making, it made me upset, and so I sort of broke down, started crying. And I… couldn’t even… (CLEARS THROAT) (SNIFFLES) And soon as I spun around, I looked at him, and he was different and looked different and sounded different, but I could see in his eyes that he recognised me. That was more than enough for me. Nah, you’re… Nah, I’ll watch you dry and watch. The first thing he did, and he’s trying to pull me the fist and that, and I was in tears, and sounded like he was trying to cry too and had a big hug and that. – Kinda look like that fulla on the end, eh. – Oh, that fulla next to the fulla on the end — that’s the one we picked up from the zoo that day. – Oh, funny, eh (!) (BOTH LAUGH) (SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY) (BOTH LAUGH) Will you let me cut the back of your hair? – Nah. No, thank you. – KATARINA: Bending knees. Heel, toe. We just knew that whatever was gonna happen, there were gonna be improvements. They did say he does have youth on his side, so I took that as a plus. Your movements there. – He managed to get rid of the wheelchair permanently and had a walkie thing. Now he can walk without it. – Heel, toe. – I told him that he can do anything he wants to do as long as he puts his mind to it, and anything’s possible. Do you want a hand putting your socks on, my brother? – Oh, yes, please, brother. – The goal is for Hyrum to be independent again. – OK, make your bed, then. – His care, depending on his day and how tired he is, is something needing reminders. I call them prompting. And we’re still trying to get into a good routine. – Are you all right, brother? Do you want me to grab it? – Yeah. – So, on a good day, he’s up at— just before 6 o’clock. He hopes to be sharp and ready for his support worker by 6.30 to do his exercises. – Sorry, Hyrum. – The late Auntie Lorna. (CHUCKLES) When he left Auckland and first came back to Gisborne after his acute rehab up there, I was his first physiotherapist. Hey, Ron! We were told he wouldn’t walk and he wouldn’t talk again. Well, now we can’t shut him up and we can’t keep him still. This is Ron. – Gidday, Hyrum. – Known to everyone as Ron Boy. He’s always looking for new things, so he just sat down, and we looked at all the different sporting facilities that we have in Gisborne, and he said, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve done that before. I’ll have a try at that.’ You know, it’s something that he can use in his community, and that’s the whole point of our rehab approach — is it needs to be integrated into Hyrum’s life activity. – That’s it. – Is that dead ball territory? – That’s what you call a bit happy. – This’ll be good, stretching out that tight ankle, cos Ron, he’s got a fused ankle. He’s had to adapt to that, so you can do that. – Aim for the corner and just— That’s it. – Awesome. – Now, that looks a very good bowl. – Oh, that looks good. Oh my God! – Am I a good teacher or what? – Boom! – I went to the pool with him, and he goes to the pool regularly, but he’d never put his head under. So then we worked on just gradually, gradually getting confident with that, until one day, he was standing on the side, and I just pushed him in. (LAUGHS) And he had to find his way. – Don’t forget — big breaths. Me and Hyrum had set a challenge for his underwater swimming at the pool here, and we’ve used this whole ‘champions are made while stands are empty’, and he can get from the start of the pool to this, uh… to the word ‘while’. So we’re trying to see how far — if we can get up to that ‘champions’. – KATARINA: Very proud. Yeah, he’s got that go, eh. He just wants to keep going. – Ka pai, bro. Awesome. * – TAZ: What did you get up to in town? – Bowls — that sounds mean. – Did you win? – LORNA: Hyrum became involved in Gisborne District Council road safety campaign last year and began doing some public speaking. And I think that Hyrum’s story has the power to really hit the right spot in our community, with our people and particularly people of his own age group, where our statistics around alcohol and road traffic accidents are the highest in the country. – I think what I notice from the story is the impact it had with his mum. – Hyrum’s story has inspired me. I’ve actually been through moments where… I’ve almost been in an accident. Got one moment in time to stay safe. – One moment in time. – Risking one moment, it can take everything away. – You know, for me to see him absolutely realise his dream is just,… you know, an experience beyond words. – TAZ: I know a guy that drinks and drives; always did. We wouldn’t be able to go from one place to another without drinking. After sitting at one of the bro’s drink-driving class, he no longer drinks and drives. To me, that proves that his story’s working. People are listening, and it’s getting results. – Kia ora, Hyrum. How are you going? – Good. Good. – Good. I was the first rehab co-ordinator that worked with Hyrum, and from the very first day, he was actually quite clear on his goals around sharing his story with others to help them avoid being in the same situation as him. So, what about your goals, Hyrum? How are you tracking? – You know me — fake it till you make it. – (LAUGHS) With brain injury, it tends to have an impact forever. His communication is still difficult, probably, for people that don’t know him. But he’s actually really happy to repeat himself if necessary. He’s trialled living in an independent unit, and now he’s back with family but looking at moving back to independence again. And I think it’s good he has those clear goals, and he’s pretty committed once he decides on something he wants to do. He’s really good. And he’s actually really brave. – VOICE BREAKS: My hope is that when I fly high, Hyrum’s all right. (SNIFFLES) Yeah. Sorry. And I wanna set him up in his own little place so that he’s… he’s living life. Yeah. With or without me. – Heel, toe. Heel, toe. Heel toe. – He’s quite a bit influence in the community and that, and now I know where he’s at now and I know where I’m at and where I need to be and basically that he’s all right now. He’s OK. And I’ve gotten a lot of that stuff off my chest, and I’m more at peace with myself now. (MELLOW HIP-HOP MUSIC) Captions by Julie Taylor. Captions were made with the support of NZ On Air. www.able.co.nz Copyright Able 2021

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