By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
POLICE motorcyclist Nelson Rahming was pursuing two suspects when he was suddenly hit by another vehicle – an incident that changed his life forever.
This accident in July of 2009 left him with severe nerve damage from which he is still recovering nearly a decade later.
As an officer of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Mr Rahming was carrying out his duty on that fateful day when he was speeding after a motorcycle with two male suspects. The chase ended when another vehicle crashed into him, causing him to be flung from his motorcycle.
“I was told by witnesses that I went up into the air and came back down on my head, shattering my helmet like an eggshell. This left me in a coma for about five and a half weeks. I had a closed head injury, cerebral concussion, post concussive syndrome, traumatic polyradiculopathy (damage to nerve roots), traumatic neuropathy and polyneuropathy (optic nerve damage). I also lost my hearing, resulting in me wearing a hearing aid,” he told Tribune Health.
After numerous occupational and physical therapy sessions, Mr Rahming is happy to share that he is about 80 per cent recovered and back to his normal daily routine.
Still, there are times when he is faced with issues caused by his injuries, including difficulty in controlling his balance. Nerve damage in his fingers sometimes makes him feel as if his fingers are on fire; other times he feels like they are freezing.
“I can say to persons out there once you experience your finger tips feeling like they are on fire or cold when the weather is not cold, or you are experiencing another strange feeling with the tingling of any part of the body, you may want to have yourself checked out by a neurologist. In the case of hearing loss or ear damage, you may want to check out an audiologist, as early detection can prevent more damage and can be dealt with in a timely manner,” said Mr Rahming.
Reflecting on his journey so far, Mr Rahming said it has not been an easy road. However, he has persevered and throughout it all he kept doing the things he loves the most: playing darts in his spare time and spending time with his children. And when he puts on his uniform, he is reminded by how far he has come.
He said he is thankful for surgeons like Dr Mohammed Abubaker, neurologist Dr Clyde Munnings, his many therapists, nurses and care takers at Doctors Hospital, and persons who offered encouraging words and prayers.
“I must mention over the years of recovering I met the young male rider of the cycle I was pursuing. He approached me while I was walking with my walker and said to me, ‘Sir, it is good to see you making good progress.’ I said to him thanks, not realising who he was, then he said to me, ‘Sir, you don’t remember me, hey? I am the young man you were in pursuit of.’ Immediately tears came to my heart, but on the outside I smiled and said ‘thank you’. And from that moment I said to myself I would not stop pushing and having faith in God that I will recover. So to that young man, I thank you, as you lifted my spirit in my recovery,” said Mr Rahming.
He also feels special gratitude towards his mother, Emily Burnside, who made hard decisions regarding his brain surgery; his brother Glen Burnside and wife Dena Burnside who made adjustments to their home so they could take him in until he recovered, and the Bahamas National Council for Disability which has supported him in his recovery process.
“I have just recently joined the council in January 2018, and with them I want to give back by making other persons aware of the council’s goals through talk shows and weekly meetings at the head office on Collins Avenue,” he said.
Over the years, he said, he has come across many Bahamians with disabilities who have no knowledge of the Bahamas National Council for Disability headed by Shelia Culmer, so it is important to spread the word.