DAYNE Ladbrook has every right to be a bitter man after losing two limbs and his career prospects almost three years ago.
But instead the 26-year-old spoke enthusiastically about his future after watching the jailing of the man who is responsible for his devastating injuries.
Mr Ladbrook sat at the back of the court in his wheelchair next to his partner, Teneille, as a judge yesterday handed down a prison term sentence for the man who fell asleep at the wheel, causing a crash that took his limbs and also killed their workmate Neill Bulley.
Read the full story here: Fatigue caused horror crash that killed colleague
Outside court, he spoke happily about the future, saying how he was working hard at rehabilitation with the hopes of a prosthetic leg being attached in the future, and how he was looking at retraining in the future to find a career more suitable for his needs.
Mr Ladbrook lost his left leg in the crash and his arm was amputated five months later.
"With how damaged it was, the plates kept getting infected and I just decided to get it amputated," he told The Morning Bulletin in January when he spoke about how his life was saved by the RACQ Capricorn Rescue Helicopter Service.
"It was only holding me back from getting better so I just bit the bullet and got it removed and ever since then I've skyrocketed with how great I have become. It was one of the best moves I made."
While talking to The Bulletin outside court, he physically explained what happened to his body in the crash.
While Teneille pointed to the middle of his left shoulder blade, Mr Ladbrook motioned with his right hand how his left arm and leg were pulled to the left as the rest of his body was pulled right and backwards, using the word 'torque' to describe the motion.
In his victim impact statement submitted to court yesterday, Mr Ladbrook's situation was outlined, including how limited his life is now and how it has impacted Teneille's life as well.
"My life is now limited by what I can do. I used to enjoy working on cars but now it stresses me out as I can't do the simplest thing," he said. "Teneille now has to do the job of two people and her life has been impaired as well. We had a pretty active lifestyle which is now limited."
He explained that lifestyle included camping, 4WD driving, playing with his dog, and playing console games.
"I've lost my dominant hand and had to learn to write again," Mr Ladbrook said. "I have a plate in my right wrist (the one he now uses to write with), as well as a missing piece of skull which the doctors removed to release the pressure on my brain. The doctors may still put an acrylic plate in my skull to fix that. Playing with my dog is an effort."
He also talked about weight gain, depression, phantom pain, low self- esteem and other impacts the crash has had on his life.
FULL VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT:
My full name is Dayne Raymond Ladbrook. I am 26 years of age and I live with my partner, Teneille at an address in Koongal with Teneille's parents, Sharon and Garry.
I was seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash at Port Alma on the 10th August 2015. I was a front seat passenger in a car driven by Peter Hills which crashed into a power pole on Port Alma Road, shortly after leaving our workplace at Olsens Pacific Salt. Our workmate, Neil Bulley died as a result of the crash on that day.
I have previously provided a statement to police about this incident and I have been asked to make some notes about how the crash on that day has affected my life. I have provided those notes to police and they have been made into this statement.
I had my left arm and left leg amputated, along with other multiple injuries. I have a plate in my right wrist, as well as a missing piece of skull which the doctors removed to release the pressure on my brain. The doctors may still put an acrylic plate in my skull to fix that.
Before the crash, my left hand was my dominant hand which I used to write with. Since the crash, I have had to learn to write again with my right hand.
Since returning home from hospital, everything is a task now. The simple things in life are now an effort/task. When bathing, I can't clean my complete body, drying and dressing is hard. Because I only have my right arm, I can't clean under my right armpit or even wash my right hand.
I use a wheelchair to get around, using my right arm and right leg to propel the chair and to brake. When we are organising to go out, I always have to ask if it is wheelchair accessible. I cannot go to some friends' places, if they live in highset places.
I can't go to the shop by myself as I can't pack and unpack my wheelchair. Playing with my dog is an effort.
I can't go camping or fishing. I'm into camping and 4wding and I'm now limited to what I can do. I can't go in the 4wd's as I'd get thrown around too much. I love 4wd competitions and cannot go and spectate as the comps are in the bush/scrub and wheelchairs are not built for that type of terrain.
My life is now limited by what I can do. I used to enjoy working on cars but now it stresses me out as I can't do the simplest thing. Teneille now has to do the job of two people and her life has been impaired as well. We had a pretty active lifestyle which now is limited.
When looking for accommodation, we've got to always make sure places have rooms and bathrooms equipped with hand rails and shower chair.
When I buy pants, I have to get one leg cut off and stitched, same with long-sleeved shirts.
I've had to get my in-laws place modified for my needs. I can't cook or cut up my meals.
I lose my concentration a lot easier now, I forget things easy also. I've lost my dominant hand and had to learn to write again.
If we go away with family, the wheelchair takes up the boot space so we have to make the people in the back hold onto the bags. I get tired easy.
I have got my driver's licence back but cannot go for long distance drives by myself in case I get a flat tyre.
Just to go out and have fun with mates is always a hassle.
Teneille's life has been limited to what I can and cannot go out and do. Teneille has had to take days off to go to appointments in Brisbane with me.
We have had to sell all our household property as we moved into Teneille's parents house.
I was at the highest of employment I could be or I'd go into management and was loving my job at Olsens.
I've had the ability to walk taken away from me and now got to learn all over again. Now that I'm in a wheelchair, I've gained weight as I'm not burning as much energy as I would have, which depresses me.
I get upset and depressed when I know that I can't go and have fun with mates. I feel they don't invite me to some places as they know it'll be a hassle.
I feel my mental health is always up and down constantly. I now suffer from phantom pain which I now have to take two different types of medication, which doesn't completely take the pain away.
I find myself always second guessing myself. We are always having to travel for appointments.
The crash has put a lot of stress on Teneille and my relationship.
Going out sometimes people stare which makes me feel awkward.
Opening packets of food is hard. I have to ask people to do it.
I've had to learn to write all over again. I'm looking at doing a writing course to learn to write with my right hand.
I can't do up my own shoelaces.
I use to play game consoles, now I can't.
I find I get annoyed easier now.
I have been going back to work for three hours each Friday to assist in the office where I can.
I am going to hydrotherapy at Gracemere twice a week on Monday and Wednesday for one hour sessions. I go to physio at CQ Physio for half hour sessions on Tuesday and Thursdays.
I am on two types of medication. I take lyrcia which is a nerve pain tablet, maximum dose of 600mg a day. I take this morning and night for pain. If I don't take it, I can't sleep. I also take entrip 10mg at night time, which is for sleep, antidepressant and nerve tablet.
I have been dealing with Workcover which has been a hassle. It has been difficult to get funding assistance, it feels like I am the one to get everything done, they say they do everything but they haven't. I only have phone contact or by email with Workcover as they are in Brisbane.
It has taken me over a year to get any utensils to help me around the house. The Occupational Therapist they assigned to me told me her assessment has just been finalised. The only aid they have provided has been the wheelchair and the shower chair.
I have been waiting for an eating utensil or Spork and a cutting board that I can use. It has been very frustrating, I could be more independent but can't get that help.
Without the help has been frustrating, as I need help with my wheelchair in a lot of places. I rely on taxis and most drivers are good, but if they aren't helpful, I am in trouble. I rely on family a lot and Teneille's family have been great.
Initially, I had been going back to Brisbane for hospital two or three times a month for appointments and checkups. Now it is maybe every six months.
I have future operations planned. I am waiting for an operation to remove bone and calcium growth in my left leg, maybe taking the plate out of my right wrist and putting an acrylic plate in my skull to protect me if I have a fall and bang my head. I get reviewed by the plastic surgeons and orthopaedic surgeons every six months.
When I am at work, I say hello to Peter Hills who still works there, but I don't really have much to say to him. The other workers are always helpful when I am there.
The crash has affected me greatly, not only because I have lost my arm and leg but also mentally. I get frustrated easily and it has seriously impacted my future workwise.
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