Firstly, thank you so much for the amazing support I had regarding Part One of this little series. Your words were all so kind and they were so appreciated. I’m back today with the second life event that had a big impact on my life – thankfully this one is not quite as sad as the first part.
So this event happened quite a while ago now – I must have been 24 so it was February 2006. At the time I was living in Altrincham with my ex and we’d spent the day with his sister and her partner. That evening, we were in their car on the way to their house for a takeaway. I was sat in the back behind the passenger seat – that wasn’t my wisest decision, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
We approached a junction where we needed to turn right – as we were in the middle of the road, I noticed a car in the distance that seemed to be going quite fast. We all commented on the speed of the car, but for some reason the driver of the car I was in decided that she had enough time to make the turn. She didn’t. The speeding car ploughed into us – right where I was sat.
The next few seconds felt like minutes as our car was thrown into the air, spinning and spinning. The car then came down onto a crash barrier and as we hit, I was thrown headfirst through the passenger window. Thankfully I had my seat belt on, so my body remained in the car, crushing the seat in front of me.
Bits of what happened next are patchy as I drifted in and out of consciousness. I was aware that my face was on the road and that my legs were trapped, but I couldn’t comprehend what had happened. The driver and my ex were unharmed and were able to get out of the car, but his sister was trapped as I was crushing her seat.
I vaguely remember a woman kneeling in the broken glass surrounding me stroking my hair. She asked me my name and did I want her to call my mum. I managed to tell her the phone number before I fell unconscious again. That lady stayed with me for ages but I never found out who she was.
The paramedics and fire brigade arrived and I was eventually cut free from the car and rushed to hospital. I had the biggest lump on my forehead and my face was covered in blood and glass. My parent’s arrived at the hospital and I was told I had to stay in overnight for observation and that if I’d not had a seatbelt on then I would have died. Apparently, the paramedics said the car I had been in was destroyed where I had been sat and that it was a miracle that I wasn’t killed instantly – so seatbelts do save lives.
The next morning, they X-rayed my hand as I’d broken my fingers and they told me I had broken my ribs – at no point did they scan my head despite the fact I’d hit my head hard enough to smash the glass. I was sent home and after a few weeks I was back on my feet, but I had the worst headache.
This headache continued for months and then I started to have seizures at home and at work. The doctor said it would settle down so I went on with my life. About 15 months after the accident, I experienced the worst headache I’d ever known. It felt like my head was splitting in two and I was screaming in pain. This finally led to lots of scans and eventually I was diagnosed with epilepsy – as a result of the car accident.
Getting a diagnosis was hard work – the first doctor told me it was clear I had epilepsy but he didn’t want to officially diagnose me. He prescribed me the medication which was costing me a fortune and then things clicked. When you have an epilepsy diagnosis you are entitled to free prescriptions.
Turns out this doctor was keen to keep his numbers down … it was all about money. Thankfully, when the relationship ended and I came back home, I saw another neurologist who diagnosed me straight away.
I have both petit and grand mal seizures – they can range from me totally blanking out and staring into to space to full on convulsions. I used to get a taste of metal or a smell of burnt rubber (auras) that would be my warning sign that a seizure was on the way.
Sadly, these auras have stopped so most of the time I have no warning. This has resulted in many falls down the stairs, kettles of hot water narrowly avoiding scalding me, and a couple of near drowning incidents in the bath.
I am not allowed to drive and strobe lights set me off, but you learn to live with it. I am on medication and will be for the rest of my life. In theory, these tablets should stop my seizures if I take a high enough dose. In reality, if I take the dose they want me to, I am a zombie. I don’t get out of bed. I don’t function. I take a lower dosage which means I do still have some seizures but there’s a better balance now. I can still live my life with a couple of seizures a week. I’ll take that – at one point I was having up to 30 a week.
Before the accident I was a party girl – now I can barely tolerate too much alcohol and clubs are a no go. I used to be very independent and now busy places freak me out unless I am with Mick … London is an ordeal for me but I am proud that I have made it there alone twice in the past year. The accident calmed me down … and in some ways I am grateful.
It has actually made me a nicer person (some may totally disagree) and I am more appreciative of life now. Yes I have a constant headache, a dent in my forehead, a scar through my eyebrow and a weird finger that never healed properly, but that’s nothing compared to what could have happened.