Ben Again

By Ben Clench

Ben Again is the inspirational memoir of traumatic brain injury survivor Ben Clench from Sussex

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It tells the story of how he determinedly recovered from a near-vegetative and amnesiac state to regain his sense of self, pass a second Master’s, run a half-marathon and learn to live a normal life again.

Ben was only 27 when he and his girlfriend, Jazz, were hit by a car while on holiday in the Dominican Republic in September 2010. Jazz was killed instantly. Ben suffered a severe head injury which left him in a coma and at the mercy of third-world hospital care.

His family swung into action and, thanks to their persistence and the support of Ben’s £10 travel insurance policy, he eventually received good treatment and a few weeks later was flown back to the UK by private air ambulance. He was still in a coma and, the physical and mental prognosis was very uncertain.

During a month in intensive care he slowly emerged from the coma - with no memory and little physical control or ability.

Expectations for recovery were low, yet Ben, with the help of his family and friends, defied medical opinion and, within a few short months he was out of hospital and embarking on an intensive self-directed rehabilitation programme.

Key milestones included going to the Glastonbury Festival six months after leaving intensive care, much to the dismay of the medical support team. A mere nine months after release from hospital, and less than a year out of intensive care, he was studying full-time for a Master’s degree, striving to regain his cognitive abilities with a view to resuming his career in international development.

This book is unusual in that Ben’s story is told not only by himself, but through the contributions of 25 others.

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  • Ben Clench avatar

    Ben Clench

    Ben survived this tragedy but is physically fit and does Tai Chi to work on his co-ordination to become ‘Ben Again’. However, he has some difficulties such as a poor short-term memory, poor hand control and a tremor as a result of the injury he sustained. But he is enjoying life despite these difficulties and set-backs.

    Late in his recovery he had a series of head scans. The doctor concerned showed these, along with scans of another patient who was faring considerably worse and in a wheelchair, to medical conference delegates. When he asked the audience to predict how the two patients were doing, they said that he must be in a wheelchair and not doing particularly well. At the time he was doing another Master’s, so the doctor could demonstrate that brain scans were not a very reliable indication of the progress people can make after a head injury.

    It was this doctor who suggested that he write about his experience, as it would give so many other people suffering from such a major trauma hope. His experience shows that the predictions from medical staff are not always correct and given the support one can have a positive and meaningful recovery.

  • I wake and my body isn’t working. As I lie here, I can feel things sticking into me. In my arm. In my throat. In my cock.

    I sense it’s not right but I can’t think why. I can’t think at all, in fact. Trying to think is too difficult. Confused snippets of thought slip by. They escape me. My mind isn’t working. There’s a tube in my nose. I try to twitch my nose. It’s uncomfortable. I reach my hand up and tug on the tube. It hurts like hell. I don’t know what it is, what it’s doing there. I fleetingly sense I don’t even know who I am.

    Another waking. The confusion is still there. A face looms, close to mine. I try to speak. I want to ask where I am, who I am. I try to say something but produce small sounds without meaning. The face disappears.

    My thinking is all jumbled, questions surface and sink without real understanding. I do not feel happy or sad. Emotions and meaning are lost in confusion. Only anxiety comes with the confusion.

    Anxiety, I do feel.

    Or nothing. Just nothingness.

    Then I sleep.

    Time passes. I wake often, fleetingly. Each time I feel the confusion and anxiety. Trying to understand is exhausting. It’s better I fall asleep again.

    A different time. I can hear voices. They tell me to do things. “Push, Ben. Push against me.” A hand is gripping my foot, bending my leg. I try to push. I am responsible for the actions demanded of Ben. But Ben? Who’s Ben?

    Someone is talking to me with familiar sounds. Different sounds. I can follow what is being said to me. Sit up, look at these pictures. Give me a kiss. The person, a woman, seems to know me. I try to speak but my voice isn’t there. She smiles, encouraging me. The anxiety comes back. I don’t know her. I don’t know anyone. I still don’t know who I am or why I am here.

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  • Ben Clench has written 5 private updates. You can pledge to get access to them all.

    18th April 2019 From Book Creation to the Stage

    I was invited to participate in TEDx Brighton UK by telling my story of recovery to 1,600 people in the Brighton Dome on the 26th October 2018. Who would have thought that writing a memoir could take me to such different explorations? Please have a look at my talk!

     

    7th March 2017 Paper copies of book

    Hello, just to let everyone know the book is now available as paper bound formats. I know some subscribers where wanting for there book groups to read a paper bound version.

     

    You can get this through Amazon at this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ben-Again-inspirational-traumatic-survivor-ebook/dp/B01NBW3IJW

     

    Thanks

     

    Ben

    25th October 2016 Drafting of the final manuscript for release

    I would like to thank everybody who has contributed to making 100% of the funding target.

     

    Having reached 100% I have worked on the manuscript to get this into the final draft which has been a useful process. This has been going through this and explaning the text a lot more fully. I am now at the stage where this has been fully completed and am waiting for a proof reader to check the document…

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  • Lizzie Williamson
    Lizzie Williamson asked:

    Hi Ben, is this where I say that Joe and I are looking forward to coming to your book launch? Lizzie

    Ben Clench
    Ben Clench replied:

    Great, see you both on Monday! Ben