When Aengus Mannion found himself impaled in a tree and left to die, after the front loader of a teleporter hit him from behind while he was tending to cattle and mending fences on the farm he was managing in Co. Meath on a summer’s evening in May 2009, the Sligo farmer immediately thought life “is over for me”.
But that was not the case – after bleeding heavily and dipping in and out of consciousness for nearly an hour and a half, help arrived for Mannion and within a short space of time he found himself being tended to by the emergency services.
He was subsequently taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda where he was headed straight for theater.
However, a doctor noticed something in the midst of the carnage and decided the best solution for Mannion – at that particular time – was to transfer him to a Dublin hospital for more specialised care.
In fact, so serious had the accident been, when the emergency services tried to remove Mannion from the tree, they could not do it without taking some of tree with them.
The battle to live
Meanwhile, in Drogheda, it was determined that Mannion be transferred to Beaumont Hospital.
And, under the guidance of Dr. John Byrne, his survival and recovery began.
But it wasn’t easy…and he spent three years in hospital unable to walk before his hope and determination started to pay off.
After arriving in Beaumont I underwent surgery for 20 hours as medical staff battled to save my legs.
He continued: “I spent one week in intensive care and was then removed to an observation ward.
“After some time I was transferred to Sligo Regional Hospital – in many respects I was home and my family, neighbours and friends were able to visit me.
“This was very helpful to me.”
Dealing with the mind
Meanwhile, Mannion was making progress albeit slowly.
He still couldn’t walk, but as time went on his family were allowed to bring him home for the day – they converted an old jeep to cater for the wheelchair – and off Mannion went.
Those days were a blessing but Mannion highlighted how he began suffering with depression as well.
He says his mental health took a battering around this time – not just because he had been physically traumatised but also because his employers “treated him badly”.
When I was in intensive care my employers came to see me and assured me that my job was safe – that brought me great comfort I can tell you.
“They told me that I had been a very loyal employee and they would do whatever they could to get me back on my feet.
“I trusted them and took their word at that; I had been worried about my job to tell you the truth – I loved it and I didn’t want to lose it.
“Also, I knew that the job would help me to focus on walking again.
“Then they took on an estate manager – I knew I was finished then.
“I was so upset but made the decision then to focus on my health and to get back on my feet.”
Telling the tale
It would be another three years before Aengus Mannion would walk again or have some semblance of normality restored to his life.
But he did it…and lived to tell the tale.