Living with the effects of a RTA


Many years ago at the tender age of 26 hubby and I were driving back to
Catterick Garrison and from nowhere I hear “bloody hell he is going to hit
us”…bang and then nothing……we were in a Peugeot 106 and hit by an
impatient young driver who had borrowed mummy’s large rover and he had sped
past 3 cars at a traffic light on RED, and not only that he was messing with the radio
when he collided with us and changed my life for ever.

Before the accident I had been as fit as a butchers dog as I had been in the
Armed Forces and was a half marathon runner and whilst I had not kept up that
amount of running, I worked out every day and was very proud of the
fact that I had kept up my fitness and strength without the need of a sadistic
PTI (Physical Training Instructor) screaming at me from the
side-lines…….little did I know that would change within the space of 30

Waking up and the sheer terror of not being able to open the door is still
one of the nightmares I have to-date, but thankfully hubby got me out of the
car and I sat on the floor desperately hoping my little 12 week old border
collie Spot was going to be fine….but not realising as the paramedics took
him away on a stretcher with oxygen that that would be the last time I saw my
little boy…….and even know some 26 years later I grieve for the beautiful
life that we could have had together and were denied so cruelly, and he will
always remain that little ball of love that was being fed roast beef by me at
my feet when we were hit.

The ambulance crew set the blue lights going and rushed me to St James
Hospital Leeds as I had been knocked unconscious and could not move.  I could not feel my legs, my back or my neck.  I was covered in blood and ripped to shreds from what I was informed was the effects of the windscreen and the result of my hitting it (even though I had a seat belt on). My head had hit the metal bar between the windscreen and theside window, and this would result in a permanent diagnosis of a front left
lobal brain injury….

I remember a wonderful Doctor asking my husband (who escaped with a bruised
rib…the clown who hit me….NO INJURIES) what my name was, and explaining
that I needed to be changed as I was blooded and covered in glass, and that he
then needed to clean my hand as there was a large chunk of flesh out of
it… husband thankfully stayed the whole time as he could see me shaking
and the sheer terror that I felt….I honestly believed that if I went to sleep
I would die and who would take care of our 5 year old daughter……. our
daughter…she must not be allowed to come and see me at the hospital as we had
been on our way back from dropping her at my mum and dads for the
weekend….visit to grannies and until I had been cleaned up I did not want my
daughter traumatised.

My hand was stitched, and I was taken to a side room where hubby could stay
with me as we had no car and were far from home. The Army did not send a driver
until we were cleared by the doctors to travel,  and during the night the pains proceeded to get worse and there was a massive imprint of the window winder on my left thigh
as my door had imploded on impact.

The following day I could not stand on my feet as the pain was excruciating
and it was decided along with the neck brace that I must have my feet in
plaster. The brain injury was monitored but by this time the Army had come to
collect their own but there was a complication as during that morning I had
noticed a very strong urine smell and knew what it was….I was pregnant and
the tears flowed as the day before I had had hours of x-rays.

My hubby wheeled me out of the hospital and into the waiting army vehicle
and I was taken to the Duchess of Kent Military hospital where a Colonel and a
Major were discussing my case to him…..but not me…..and they informed him
that I might not be able to walk again. I thought don’t be silly I am only 26
years old….

I then saw my own GP in the hospital who was at the time a Major in the RAMC
and he saw me in the wheelchair looking dejected, bruised everywhere and in
pain and he asked me what had happened….when I told him he immediately set
about ordering meds but I told I cannot have them….I was pregnant and he just
stated “oh s**t” , and to this day it makes me laugh…one of the few
things that did during that time.

I was given excellent care by the military and will always be grateful and
my parents brought my daughter home after a week and it did upset her and that
broke my heart to see her little face crumble, but at least I was alive.

My pregnancy progressed and thankfully I walked but it had badly damaged my
spine and would never have suspected that some 26 years later I am still in
agony. My son arrived and I went on to have another son and both are handsome,
clever and fully aware of the struggle I have had as mum being left disabled is
all they have ever known.

I could not have even guessed that my feet, ankles, knees, hips, spine and
neck would still be suffering some 26 years later and that I am still having
treatment, but I have never spoken about the PTSD I suffered. It is not PTSD at
the accident as thankfully I was knocked out, but the trauma of over half my
life suffering in pain. I cannot drive as the tablets rule that out, but I am
scared even now and will often panic at cars and lorries to close and it is
something I will always have.

I stopped running that day and cannot lift weights and spend my nights even
now in agony as my spine locks and I cannot do an awful lot of things which we
take for granted, even dressing myself, drying hair and lifting pans, peelings
vegetables etc….all of it is out and I get so annoyed with myself and the
idiot who hit me as he robbed me of doing the mum things.

He by the way got a ban for SIX MONTHS and at no time was I informed of his
conviction and was not asked for me side of the story. 24 years ago, he was
banned and licence back just like that, whilst I have a life sentence of pain
and suffering. Can you imagine what it is like to go to bed knowing you will be
waking up in pain and sometimes having to get the ambulance service to give you
gas and air to get off the bed? It should be my sanctuary and not my worst

I know that as I get older my health is worse and I have CRPS (complex
regional pain syndrome), osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and sciatica and I am
shortly seeing a rheumatologist, but life is still worth living. I have a
wonderful husband and I know it pains him to see the struggle I go through, a
beautiful daughter, 2 wonderful sons, a great son in law and my heart….3
grandchildren. I also am now on my 4th dog Zeus. I had to have another dog and
decided that JRTs would the ones as I did not want it that Spot was just
replaced…. he can’t…. but rather I had Sandy and Spud for 17 and 12 years
respectively and Zeus for 3 now.

I live with my disability every day and some days I feel down and know that
I will never be pain or drug free, but life is good and sometimes I fight to do
things but that is me and I have fought for the last 26 years to be a wife,
mother, grandmother and feel that life is pretty good.



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