If you're wondering why my blog has been so unusually quiet, here's why -
I never really understood before what it means for time to stand still. It wasn’t until that moment when I consciously realised, ‘I am going to crash’, when it genuinely happened for me. In that fleeting instant, with my daughter screaming in terror and shouting my name in the back seat of the car - time seemed to stand still. It was terrifying. I understood exactly what was going to happen. We were going to crash into a ditch at the side of the road. I don’t know why I didn’t think, ‘my life is going to end’ or ‘this is it’ or even ‘why is this happening?’ all my brain could process at that moment was the inevitable crash. Nothing else crossed my mind.
I don’t remember it fully. What I do have is vague, disjointed memories of what happened. I thought I was aware of the whole thing, but it turns out that I blacked out after the initial crash into the ditch. What I was later told was that the car crashed into the ditch on the right hand side of the road only to, like a marble in a pin ball machine, ‘bounce’ out of the ditch and slide on its left side across the road and then rest in the ditch on the left hand side of the road.
The next thing I remember is hearing my daughter crying and asking me what we were going to do. I remember telling her to ‘shout for help’ and I recall doing just that and yelling for help in the car together. She was still securely in her car seat. I unbuckled myself and fell into the passenger seat and was trying to get to my girl. I must have passed out then, as my next memory is of a man asking me how to open the glass roof in my car and me trying to explain that it wasn’t a sunroof, just one of those weird features that the car had - a glass roof. Blackness. I was then being pulled out of my car from the boot. Blackness. I was lying on the road with a blanket on me, crying for my daughter and being told she was okay. I then asked someone to call my husband. I do recall giving someone his number. Blackness. I was in an ambulance strapped down and I couldn’t move. I could hear my girl talking to one of the paramedics. Blackness. I was in the hospital in A&E and it was really bright and noisy and I was hooked up to a drip and I was still strapped in place on a trolley. Blackness. I was no longer strapped onto the trolley, but I was not allowed to move as I was told that my back was essentially broken. I have fractures in two of my vertebrae and a brain contusion.
My daughter literally walked away from this accident with a bit of bruising from her seat belt on the right side of her neck. Her car seat took the full impact and shock of the crash and was completely destroyed but it prevented her from getting whiplash and literally saved her life. If she was just in a little booster seat, there is no doubt in my mind that she would have been further injured, if not worse. It does not bear thinking about.
It was the kindness of strangers who saved me. The people who pulled me out of my car and kept me from going into shock before the paramedics arrived, who looked after my little girl and pulled her out of the car, they called the ambulance and called my husband - I am indebted too. Forever. They literally saved me. They kind of disappeared into the ether. We haven’t been able to contact them since the day of the accident. I could never repay or thank them enough for their selflessness and for their kindness and bravery. My car was precariously perched in the ditch and it was filling with water in the passenger well- they could have easily hurt themselves trying to help me and my daughter out.
I don’t know how this accident happened. All I can genuinely say is that I was driving and the next minute I was crashing. That’s it. A bizarre incident. I wasn’t speeding, there were no other cars on the road and it seems that it was just one of those things. Random. The only person who probably knows exactly what happened is my 4 year old daughter.
I got out of the hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning with strict instructions to keep a back brace on me at all times and lots of bed rest. I have since been back to the hospital for a follow up with the orthopaedics and physio clinics. They refitted my brace which essentially works like a cast and I was told I will have to wear it till June.
I’ve been told that I was very lucky and I couldn’t agree more. My spinal cord could’ve been severed, I could’ve lost the vision in my right eye if the glass that broke around me had not just cut me up on the bridge of my nose, I could’ve broken any number of limbs, had even more severe head trauma, the list is endless. Too many ‘what ifs’ for my liking. It throws everything into perspective and I’m happy to wear what is probably the most uncomfortable contraption that is my back brace for months and to walk with a cane and to have ridiculous bruising all over my face and body – if that is all I have to deal with, I take it with open hands. I can’t believe how close I came to a worse fate. I still have a hard time thinking about it, especially the terror my daughter must have been put through. She is so beyond valuable to me. I wish I could take all that awfulness away from her. I truly hope and pray that she has no memory of this event. I hope she’s young enough that it just doesn’t impact on her. She had nightmares at the beginning of the week, but it seems that they have dissipated and she is sleeping sounder now.
Most of all, I wish I didn’t have to put my husband, through everything. I can only put myself in his shoes and imagine what he has had to deal with. He has been tremendous, amazing and utterly extraordinary. His patience in dealing with me and my slightly broken self is beyond admirable and he has definitely gone beyond the vows of ‘for better or for worse’. Without him, I could not have managed the emotional fallout of this accident and I am only made stronger because of him.
Then there are our friends, family and neighbours who have gone beyond the call of duty. I haven’t had a chance to thank everyone for all the amazing text messages, e-mails, facebook wishes, telephone calls, cards, flowers, chocolate, everything that have come through to us. It is unbelievable the amounts of genuine support and help that has/is being offered to my family. No doubt there are even more people to thank as my recuperation and rehab starts kicking in, in earnest, but it is with sincere humility that I thank every single person who has gone out of their way for my husband, daughter and me. Thank you so much. I can’t put into words how grateful we all are for the help being given.
Then there are the nurses in the hospital who were so kind and so helpful and so good at their jobs. If it wasn’t for them, I would be in a worse state. Their work standard was first class, despite them being over worked and painfully understaffed; I was attended to with great care.
I’m glad there is a week’s distance between me and the day of the accident. I’m thinking clearer and they say the head trauma will take around 3 weeks to get over *touch wood* barring no complications. It is the first time I can sit down to a computer without the keyboard swimming in front of me. I real feat for me! I’ll get there, but I’ll get there using baby steps. I’m happy to do just that. Time is a great healer and all that...
I'll get back to blogging, but I just need a little time to get myself in order - please bear with me!!
Kel aka The Gluten Free Photographer