13th August 2016, I will never forget that day. Children with their grandparents and as a single mother and someone who takes pride in also working full time, you take these moments by both hands.
Out comes the shiny white, 675r Daytona motorbike that I had treated myself to in April. This is my release; this is where I loose my responsibilities.
Been out for an hour and decided it was time to head home that was the last thought I remember. 2 weeks later I woke up in hospital, I don’t remember what I thought at that time. I had been airlifted to Southmead Hospital in Bristol, I spent 2 weeks in intensive care and a further 6 weeks in hospital while they tried to fix two broken arms (both radius and ulna on each side) and a multiple fractured leg.
After Southmead I spent a further two weeks in Chepstow hospital receiving more rehabilitation – you have to be able to look after yourself mildly to be allowed to return home. My mother looked after my children, almost by default. When I was allowed home it was decided that I should also live there until I could at least walk and look after the children.
On a routine appointment four weeks after being home and feeling like this should be the appointment to ask if I could drive again. Horror struck when I was told I had an infection and surgery was to be immediate and in two days. They told me I would be in five days to wash out the infection and put new metal in. Five weeks later I returned home after 3.5 inches of infected bone had been removed and a number of failed skin flaps (six operations in eight days).
I now am still at my parents with a Taylor Spatial Frame on my leg to grow the bone back. Supposedly the frame allows for weight bearing but I do know that pain doesn’t! The frame is to be with me a year. The crutches are so painful to walk with because of the broken arms and fractures in my hands but you have to push through don’t you?
This Christmas I missed my children’s plays, I was heart broken but if the accident hadn’t happened I would have been moaning about attending as it would be interfering with work and I would have felt torn between not letting work down and not letting the children down.
Why am I sharing this? It has been a life changing experience and for the first time in my life I realise this has also been life changing for the people around me. How often do we wonder about repercussions? I’ve been asked that if I was shown videos of motorbike crashes before I went out would I have still gone? Would you? The fact is I’ve seen the videos and also experiences other people I know being injured but it didn’t stop me and why? Because it will never happen to me. My son asked me a few days ago “did you really want to go on your bike that day” he is five.
What should I say? What would you say? Well I guess I have changed as a person because of it, life was passing me by. Not in the sense that I wasn’t doing anything, because I was, I was filling every minute of every day. I was there, I provided for my children financially, but I was wasn’t there. Not emotionally, I didn’t have time to play that game or read that story as I was always too busy, in my eyes making sure food was on the table but it was not the case. Always focused but never on the here and now, always trying to be the best at everything, work, being a parent, a good daughter, friend and sister, but never waking up in the present, never enjoying the moment.
I am on the mend and will able to work and look after my children as normal in the future. I have a lot to be grateful for. It has changed me and I will now play the game, stop the car to watch the rainbow, bake the cake, and smell the flowers. Life will continue but at a very different pace. The work focus is still there and a number of things have gone through my mind in how to proceed with my career. I will however have a balance. I thought I had it before but it’s now obvious I didn’t. Sometimes I wonder if maybe this may also be a male way to think of things and the pressure they have to provide for the family and how they deal with it. Who knows what people think and how they perceive a balance.
By Tina Colegate