It has taken me 15 years to write this blog. Aside from the fact that my story began in a time when social media hadn’t really taken off (or even existed!) I also wasn’t ready to put my life and experiences out there. Everyday still has its challenges, even though most people when they look at me would see a healthy, active woman, living life to the max. But I came to the point where I realised that there are so many people out there who might be going something similar to me. Told to “get on with things”, feeling shame about what they are going through and end up hiding away and suffering in silence. So I decided that if talking about my experiences helped just one person it was worth speaking out.
It was August 2003 when my life changed forever. I learnt that a split second decision can change the course of everything. For me, it was as simple as “should I ride my bicycle home or walk?”. It doesn’t sound like an earth shattering decision right? My gut told me to walk but the lazy person inside me decided I would have to come back for my bike later so I decided to ride it. Second lesson: Trust your gut. No matter how small the decision learning to trust that feeling is the important life lesson I have ever learnt.
I remember everything about what happened next. From the impact, the passers-by who potentially saved my life, the first responders – everyone and everything. I even remember what went through my mind as I realised what was happening to me.
I pulled up to the traffic light in my cycle lane. The light was red. A large lorry was to my right. I noticed he didn’t have his signal on so was comfortable with the thought that he was going straight ahead like me. As the light turned green, I pushed off to go straight ahead on the route home I had taken countless times before. But suddenly the lorry started to turn. I tried to speed up but he was already blocking my way. I had nowhere to go. Suddenly I was falling to the ground. That’s when a million thoughts rushed through my head. This is it. I am going to die. But then another thought came in my head. Keep your head up. Don’t let your head hit the ground. And so as I fell I did just that. And my head didn’t hit the ground. The lorry was now on me. I could feel the weight of it bearing down on me. There were voices in the background. The lorry driver got down to see what had happened. Whoever was talking decided that he need to reverse off the right hand side of my body otherwise the weight of the lorry would crush me. So he did. As I felt the weight release I could feel liquid seeping out from underneath me. I really thought I was bleeding out, dying there on the road.
I could hear a voice asking me if there was anyone they could call. This amazing woman who had stopped her car to help put a blanket on me and tried to keep me calm. Miraculously I remembered the number of my friend Amy who I knew was close by and in no time she arrived on the scene. There were people all around me now. Fire Brigade trying to cut my clothes free from under the wheel of the lorry (trust my luck all these gorgeous firemen around me and I am lying on the ground helplessly!), paramedics and a doctor. The doctor was talking to me. My knee was dislocated and they couldn’t move me until they put it back in the joint. I was inhaling some kind of gas painkiller which was making me feel sick so in the cold light of day I told him to do it. I sincerely wish no one has to experience the pain I felt in that moment.
I think at this point I passed out from the pain because I don’t remember much until I arrived at the hospital and to my relief and surprise my sister was already there waiting for me.