On July 29th of 2011 when riding my motorcycle home from the place where I had been working in Weston Super Mare, I was involved in a collision with a car which had pulled from a side road. My injuries were life threatening and I was placed in a medically induced coma to aid my chance of survival and also to allow the surgeons to carry out many operations my body needed. Throughout my time in a coma, my Wife sat next to my bed not knowing if I would wake but still made the trips to and from the hospital to sit at my side. After a week the medical staff told her that they were going to try to wake me from the sleep they had put in but that there was every possibility that I would not know who I was, if I did know my name there was the possibility that I would not know who she was. I may not know that I was married or had children but fortunately this was not the case. For eight weeks she made the journeys back and forth to the hospital to visit and hope for progress. All of this time she was using the social network sites to let friends and family know of my progress and by communicating with Mick Gibbons who was posted at our TA Centre, they made sure I had almost constant visitors of both my military friends and friends and family. You will never know how much it hurts me to not know anything of this from memory.
I wish I could remember when I first opened my eyes, the words I heard and said. I wish I could remember when I first saw my kids on their first visit to hospital although I don’t know if it was Frenchay or Salisbury. I don’t remember if I have even been told this. I have asked lots of questions but don’t remember the answers or that I have even asked the question. I remember arriving at Salisbury Spinal Unit and being wheeled in to a side room with my Wife again with me. She had driven to Frenchay and followed us to the spinal unit but I only remember being in a bed entering the side room. The next thing that I can recall is my consultant and how blazay his attitude was, and my instantly dismissing what he had said until I had tried for myself. Again my Wife made the countless journeys to visit and share my first experiences such as the spinal pool, first time in a wheelchair and my first bus journey. 10 and a half thousand miles in a four and half month period she travelled. She organised for an inspection of a mobility “Chucklebus” which we subsequently purchased and then she drove on several occasions to visit and take me out for the day in to Salisbury town and also to collect me from the spinal unit on the day of my release. Because of the frankly dire rehab I did not receive at the spinal unit I had to teach myself which resulted in another operation but the outcome was that I would leave the unit and return to start my rehab when my cast was off of my wrist. This never happened.
On my return to our home I was on a hospital bed in our front room and despite our comfy double bed in our room upstairs, my Wife slept on the sofa in case I needed help. As I was unable to do anything for myself we were unable to stay in our house which we had spent so many years making our own and we had to move to a bungalow, away from our children’s friends but to a better more practical home. While I have been trying to learn to do things for myself my Wife has really had to put with some shit. My mood swings which I am unaware of until some time after the event. The lack of my showing love or attention. My treating her more as a carer than a Wife. The lady that I would spend the rest of my life with has had to wash me, dress me, push me around. She has driven me around and cooked and cleaned for me. She has had to undertake some horrible tasks to help me and to wash my clothes and bedding on a daily basis. She has not complained about having to any of these things which I class as above and beyond the “in sickness and in health” part of the vows said at marriage.
On so many occasions my Wife has said to me about things and I have not recalled her saying them to me, she has tried in vain to convince me to see councillors or specialists which I have not felt the need for. When I finally managed to get some rehab at Stoke Mandeville she even paid a surprise visit so that I could see my `Pickle` the day before her fourth Birthday, again thinking of me. It would seem though that I am a different person since my collision. My memory is shot. My moods are terrible. My frustration levels are through the roof and I take it out on her. Unless it happened in Frenchay I have never cried about my injuries, my inability to walk or play normally with my kids which I am waiting every day to happen and yet it does not come, will it? If it does will I be OK? I get angry about the constant letters from recovery agencies for the bills we had before my accident which we never had problems with before my injuries but having lost the income is now unavoidable. I am angry at losing my military career, a career I had worked so hard for and even if I am allowed to remain in the uniform I know I will never promote any higher than I am now. I am angry at so many things and the biggest thing that has put the strain on is my accident case. It will be in excess of three years since the collision occurred before we get in to court and this will be purely to decide on liability. I am disgusted with how insurance companies can treat people and I am damn well going to push the MPs to put something in place to stop insurance companies from dragging things out and putting people in situations such as we have found ourselves in. Three years is a piss take, even if I am compensated for my injuries and the life I now have, how will they compensate the losses of my children. `Pickle` will never have any memory of me running and playing with her and will miss out as she grows older. I have thought of the days when my Daughters may marry but will not have their Dad walking them down the isle. Is this me feeling sorry for myself?
I know that nobody likes to be depressed and I can but apologise for the tone of this Blog entry but it is my release, it helps me to express and realise my feelings and that is what I started it for. I wanted to show the good and bad about my life since my becoming wheelchair bound and the struggles that face not just me but my family and friends. I want you to try to imagine what the past two and a half years have been like for my Wife, something I should have been doing. Whether it is something I could have done anything about or not I have not, I have hurt my Wife so much through how I now am that I have pushed her away to the point of no return and as a result we will be starting the year separated. Tomorrow I will have to make the phone calls to the various agencies and departments to organise somewhere for me to live. It is unfair and potentially damaging to uproot the children and I don’t want any more upset for my Wife. Ironically she is more concerned about how I will cope which is testament to the amazing lady she is especially as it is I that has seen what I have done to her and have made the decision for us to separate.
I am going to close now by saying sorry. Sorry to any who this may have bought their mood down by what I have written but I had to write it, sorry to my three beautiful and amazing children and also I am sorry more than I can ever express to my Wife. I am sorry for all that I have put you through, from the Police car waiting at our house to take you to the Intensive Care Unit where you were confronted by the sight of me with all kinds of tubes and wires in and on me to the hell you have had to endure trying to help me and keep our marriage alive. Although I may have not shown it I do appreciate what you have done for me and I do love you, I just really have no idea how to show you. I don’t know how to express my feelings, how to talk to you, how to treat you right, how to let you know how much you mean to me. You have taken some time for yourself recently having put me first for so long and the sessions at the gym really do show, you look great. You will find happiness again but unfortunately for me it will be away from me; thank you for the strength you have had to keep going, so many people say that I am an inspiration for how I deal with my situation and I always say this is not the case, the inspiration is you but it will only be those people closest to you who will know.
I am sorry x