Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Unhappy Birthday

It's my birthday -I'm 49, it hasn't worked out the way I expected.

Firstly - apologies about spelling - I'm typing one fingered - it's better than it was earlier in the week but I'm still struggling for reasons that will become clear.

I took a blogging break because I had so much going on outside in the real world that I needed to concentrate. I managed by sheer force of will to improve my work situation and my finances. I even procured enough cash to prepay lot of bills for a year, reducing my monthly outgoings by about 300 quid, and getting out of my phone contract, sensible stuff like that. I was in a much better frame of mund until 2 weeks ago when my older dog became very sullen and lame from the shoulders - he has a small tumour in his mouth that's managable but inoperable - but he's very old and one Saturday I really did think he'd gone for his last short walk, however - he's much recovered now - it was more arthritis than spread of cancer and he's back to normal.

I had a really good week, last week - lots of challenging work - and despite the heat, which I hate - I was very positive.

That's where it goes wrong.

On Saturday morning early I decided to cycle to Bexhill early, mostly for exercise and partly to look in the garden centre - I've finished the garden clearance and I was due to collect some more railway sleepers on Friday from Newhaven. In the end I was seduced by my best ever charity shop haul - 12 shirts, all new - all from Paul Smith, Reiss, Saville Row etc - all lovely - 2 jumpers from Banana Republic and a cotton Jacket from Jill Sander with the Maceys of New York label - all for under 25 quid and worth about £1000 - I was ecstatic. I decided to to just go home while I was ahead.

How safe does this look????

I took this picture on the beach facing towards hastings - it's the start of a cycle path along the beach - no traffic, just dog walkers and families having picnics - it was so hot and so lovely and safe I made the mistake of not wearing my brand new crash helmet because it still had the foam liner that made it really sweaty and uncomfortable. It's the last thing I remember for some time.

I have a vague memory of being in the air ambulance, but I thought it was a van rather than a helicopter and I can vaguely remember having my clothes cut off and being in the CAT machine - they roll you from side to side to slide you off the paddles and that really hurt. Some time later I came to in the A&E at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton. Apparently either a spoke had broken and jammed the wheel on my bike or the front fork had sheared off, conflicting reports - the police were there but there will be no investigation because it was simple mechanical failure. The bike was fully serviced 2 weeks ago - I added a new seat and new inner tubes as well as a very thorough deep clean and oil - so it shouldn't have happened.

Apparently there were a lot of people who looked after me in the hour or so I was unconscious on the beach - I'll never know who they were, and the hospital were amazing. Very calm and caring and tried to make me feel safe. They were really concerned about the head injury. I was able to see the CAT scan and I now know what the inside of my body looks like - my brain looks a lot like porridge. Unfortunately, as I came to and was still very disorientated I became very distressed, partly because I was so badly hurt but mostly because I was in the same bed and the same ward of the same hospital I had been 15 years ago and I think I thought I was back there -n I didn't realise how much that still bothered me. The hospital were great - apart from swelling my brain was OK. I've lost all the skin off my right arm and shoulder and my hands and I have had a lot of stitches in my face, they had someone fro  maxio facial come down and sew my lip back on, it had been hanging off for a while but was I couldn't actually feel anything. The sorted me out with a bed in the hospital but I was too upset about being there and after dressing and bandaging I was able to persuade them to let me home after 12 hours if I was supervised, Mt friend Linda helped me out there. Don't remember Sunday at all, nor most of Monday but felt much better in the evening. Head pain almost gone and swelling down so vision improved. Have had a lot of good wishes from friends and my brother and sister have been amazing. Clients have been informed and have backed off to a sensible distance. Today I hope to be able to get my stitches checked and dressings changed. The skin abrasions are all shrinking and they really hurt. My face is back and I don't want anyone to see me. My eyes are ok but I have stitches inside and around my mouth and they are really uncomfortable.

I am incredibly lucky to be alive and not more badly injured. I am also humbled by the NHS once again. I have friends in America who have been quick to tell me how much this would have cost me. I was unconscious for over an hour, even after such a trivial thing as falling off a bike and I'm going to have permanent facial injuries but that doesn't bother me. Yesterday I looked through my bag. My phone, wallet, keys and my watch were all carefully wrapped up and placed inside, as were the front and back lights of my bike - I got a bit teary after that. I have no idea where my bike is, but I was really touched that people could be so kind and go to so much trouble for a stranger.

I have to stay at home for at least a week - the dogs have found a place in kennels and I have people coming in to look after me when I need it, I've started eating again.I look terrible but I heal quickly and I'm not vain. I honestly don't want to remember anything about it, I am grateful that my mind is a blank - my nose escaped injury, and by some miracle my teeth are fine, considering how much time, effort and money I have spent on them

I have honestly had worse birthdays - this one isn't so bad at all.

These are the glasses I was wearing - that's blood and skin

£200 sunglasses saved my eyesight

I'm trying to smile, honest!

stitches running underneath the bandages, I SWEAR I am trying to smile, my face is now completely black


Clive said...

Thank God you're back in the land of the living. What a worry.

Clive said...

Apologies - so pleased to see that you're still with us I forgot to wish you a happy birthday.

Canadian Sue said...

Long time reader, haven't commented much, but am very glad to hear you are recovering and doing well both physically and emotionally. What a story.

Anonymous said...

Good luck and good wishes

Anonymous said...

Just looked at the pic again - I've walked along that path a fair few times, would happily cycle on it without thinking a helmet a priority - just goes to show. DL

Steerforth said...

Yes, the NHS is wonderful. I'm so glad that you're relatively okay - faces heal remarkably quickly - and in surprisingly good spirits, under the circumstances. Happy Birthday!

On a more mundane note, I wish I knew where you got your shirts from. Whenever I go in a charity shop, it's usually a load of crap.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday and glad you're pulling through well.
Bill (altbilbo)

Sandra Morris said...

We'd heard there had been an air ambulance call-out in Bexhill. Had no idea it was for you.
Ouch doesn't even come close.... hope it all heals quickly and well.
Oh, and Happy Birthday. As the saying goes, things can only get better!

Letterslive said...

Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers and for the NHS.
And that teeth and nose are intact.
Be well soon.

Unknown said...

.I hope every day brings improvement and that you realise how many people worried when there was no word from you. .....get well soon.

The bather said...

Glad you are safe at least.Hope you heal quickly.Give yourself some little treats.

Lisa said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, I hope you feel better soon.

Sarie said...

Crikey, poor you. I hope you make a quick recovery.

Anonymous said...

Haven't read your bog for a while, so I was shocked to see this. How awful - I hope you're on the mend by now. I can't imagine the discomfort...

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