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A pre-Christmas Story...

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

A few week ago (29 November 2019), whilst on a gentle ride wiith one of my bestest girlfriends, my horse decided that a tractor was THE most frightening thing he had EVER seen and decided to go from walk to gallop faster than the land speed record was broken whilst at the same time carrying out an extremely complicated modern dance manoeuvre, last seen carried out on a special death defying dance show which featured Jane Tourvil and Christopher Dean and some rusty knives...As no rehearsals had taken place for this ambitious undertaking, I was totally taken by surprise by his endeavour and ended up projected up in the air in a elaborate pirouette, landing on the ground with all my weight on the small of my back.

I have to say, the pain was quite breathtaking. My Bestie, Becci, phoned for help and our knightess's in shining armour came to rescue us. As we were in the middle of nowhere, I had to get up to walk (limp, as my legs were not working too well) to the rescuers car and was driven back to the house while poor Becci and our other friend Christine had to walk back with one horse and one would be acrobat...

As suggested, I had a bath and got dressed and lay down in the hope that the pain would ease. No such luck. Another friend (Thank God for friends!!!) dropped by and suggested phoning 111. I was not keen at all and thought that the pain would go and I would look like a fool for making a fuss. I was overridden (ha!) and 111 was duly called. Questions were thrown at me by the concerned lady on the line...'are you still on the ground in the position you were in at the time of the accident?' Ummmm...No. 'Are you still wearing your riding hat?' Ummm...No. 'Are you still in your riding clothing?' Ummmm...No. At each negative, her voice started raising in pitch incrementally until in panic, she squeaked, 'DO NOT MOVE, AN AMBULANCE is on its way...'

Twenty minutes later, four ambulance angels turned up, trussed me up like a Christmas Turkey with a bondage fetish and wheeled me out on a stretcher and without further ado, loaded me into the ambulance and headed off to York. I have to say, it was terrifying.

The Angels tried to insert a line, but my veins were being 'webellious', so gas and air was offered, (much to my great joy, as I had not had any since I stopped breathing from having too much during the birth of my third child...) and I was told to inhale as much as I could. It was glorious, I could still feel the pain, but I just did not care about it. We weren't trundling down a bumpy road, we were floating on love clouds, dipping and diving like a bird on the wing. There was this moment of irritating buzzing noise by my ear which finally focused into a voice asking if I could feel my hands and toes. I couldn't of course, I didn't need them..I was floating but once suggested, the focus sharpened and landed on the perculiar pins and needles that were attacking my extremities. Suddenly panic raged. The blues and twos went on, the speed picked up, all four of the Angels were all over me, flinging questions which I had no hope of answering, so I did the only thing I could, I burst into tears and started (with absolutely no control, I have to say...) blabbering about my life, my divorce, my wicked soon to be ex-husband, the loss of my children, the fact that I was all alone in the ambulance and that I was worried that this was a wasted journey for them and I was just bruised.

Next thing I know we had arrived at hospital and zoomed into trauma. Instead of my four Angels, there were hundreds of them. Asking questions, doing things, altering things, sticking needles in and asking if they could cut off my jumper. That was THE most vivid thing. Cutting off my favourite, pink, cashmere jumper that I slept in every night. I found the wherewithall to protect my jumper against the over scissor happy Angels and somehow, managed to get it off me bypassing neckbraces, boards, tape, structures of all sorts and saved the day. It is one thing being injured, but quite another entirely to butcher my favourite and most familiar piece of clothing.

I am not sure what time I arrived at Trauma, but after a CT and an MRI scan and conversations backwards and forwards between York Hospital and Hull Spinal Injuries, they decided that I had broken my back - L1,2 and 3. I was moved to a trauma ward and spent the next two weeks highly dosed on delicious morphine, codeine, paracetamol and fentanyl and making friends with hilarious inmates, who decided that I was the most rebellious cripple in there and therefore put in charge if any of them couldn't find their panic buzzers. On countless occasions during the night or day, there was a yell from one of the other beds shouting, 'Boo!!! Press the buzzer, I need a pee' or 'Boo!!!! Wake up!!! I need my pain meds' or my favourite one at 3am "Boo!!! Press your buzzer, my horlicks has spilt all over my bed....'

On one occasion, I can proudly say, I saved a life...There was one nurse on the ward who, although very sweet and caring, was completely away with the fairies. On one ward round, he failed to hear or see a woman in the bed opposite me start to choke. I started shouting 'She's choking' and the poor nurse just stared at me uncomprehendingly. Another nurse was escorting a patient to the loo who could not walk faster than about 00000.1 mile an hour and was totally unsteady on her feet, so could not be just dumped, and was looking at me in horror, so I shouted at the top of my voice to my bed-ridden chums to all press their buzzers, at the same totally worked. Alarm bells went off, we were suddenly innundated with hundreds of panicking nurses all pushing and shoving to get into the ward at the same time, and a life was saved. My fellow post-choking pal, went on to annoy all her saviours by playing her ipad on full volume for the rest of the day...

After two weeks of non-stop party, party, party in Ward 28, bed 14, I was strapped into a stretcher, put in an ambulance with a fantastic comedy duo of crew and two wonderful fellow patients (one of which thought it was hilarious that she lost her hand down the sleeve of her hooded duffle coat when one of the crew was putting it on her, and kept waving her empty sleeve at me and telling me she was called Paddington) and I arrived (after getting lost down several lanes that led nowhere) at the house of my Guardian Angel - Becci, where a wonderful, luxurious bed was waiting for me and I have been here ever since....

Grateful is not a word that adequately sums up my feelings towards my friend and her amazing family. They have put up with tears, meals on trays, nurses coming in most days to bathe me, misery purchases being delivered and then returned and my total inability, on Christmas Eve, when my three beautiful children came round for a sumptuous dinner, to sit at the kitchen table with them and enjoy it.

My walking is getting better, I still cannot sit, stand or bend over, but I am getting there. My next scan is on the 28th January and that will tell me how the healing is doing and if I can finally remove the instrument of torture known as 'The Back Brace'. Meanwhile, I have a Masters degree essay that is due on the 7th January in hard copy at the Murray Library in Sunderland and I am procrastinating by watching every single murder mystery on Netflix, which is, lets face it, a much, much better use of my time...hehehe...

So...Happy New Year, everyone...Lets hope 2020 is a better year

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My dearest Annabelle. Only just caught up with your story having become a social media dullite since my divorce. So so sorry to hear about the STBEH - been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale - But that is totally overshadowed by the awful news about your riding accident. I can only imagine the rollercoaster of emotions and pain (and drug induced trips) that you have been on over the last 6 weeks, a far cry from the rides ridden at the Stray Fair in our mischievous teenage years. I wish you a very speedy recovery, and will endeavour to be a better friend by checking up on you more regularly. And if ever you need a…

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