Back in the saddle

On Tuesday 17th January, a scaffolding lorry took me out on the M5. I was travelling in lane 1, in the roadworks near Bromsgrove, at 50mph and the lorry was in lane 2. We were travelling at pretty much the same speed when he moved into lane 1. Errrm, HELLO….I am here! He clearly couldn’t see me, of feel the fact he was pushing me into the barrier, and continued, so I tried to accelerate. No good. I was spun around and the lorry clipped me again turning the car 90 degrees and planted me, horizontally, to the front of his cab and continued to push me down the M5. Realisation hit. He STILL hasn’t seen me or realised that there was a car stuck to his wagon. STOP, for god’s sake. I could feel the car leaning, the driver’s side wheels leaving and touching the road.  I will admit at this stage, faced with the grill of his cab 6 inches from my face, that I absolutely shit myself.

I wanged the horn with everything I had. It must have only been for a few seconds but it felt like forever. We started to slow and gradually we came to a halt. The driver looked over and down at me, panic written all over his face. He jumped out and ran to me. I burst into tears. I checked myself, looked around, checked the mirror. I was fine, I said, and kicked into auto-mode. A call to 999 then, remembering where I was, panicked about the lorry being rear-ended by another truck and clambered over the passenger seat to get out.

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Looking at the scene, how the hell did I walk away from that? I rang hubby, assured him that I was OK before I broke the news that I’d totalled his car and that he needed to call lease-plan to arrange a hire car.

I was conscious of the commuters and the fact our vehicles were still across lanes 1 & 2. I use the roads a lot, and acknowledge the frustration a delay to your journey can cause so I suggested we move the vehicles, after I’d taken some pics, and limit the impact on the rest of the traffic, as best we could.

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The driver was distraught. He was so apologetic, saying that he’d checked his mirrors and he just didn’t see me. He’s never had an accident before. Fair dos. I believed him. It happens.

Then it all became quite embarrassing. I knew I’d taken a knock or two but, considering, I was fine. Not majorly injured. The Traffic guys arrived, followed by 2 police cars and an ambulance. The authorities put a rolling road block in place. The shame I felt was massive, even though it wasn’t my fault and it was the safest thing to do.

The Traffic Officer felt that I should be able to drive the car back home, even though the drivers door didn’t shut properly and I had a perfect impression of a Volvo FM in the side. But there was nowhere else I wanted to be more than at home so off I went. It’s fair to say that on the drive home, I was an anxious mess and the pain was starting to kick in. I stopped and phoned the Docs, made an appointment for as soon as I got back to Coventry.

Whiplash being the clear diagnosis, I got my prescription of chronic pain relief and went home. A hot, sweet brew was waiting for me. I’d have rather had a Gin, if I’m honest.

Then a lovely surprise from CIPD Steps Ahead Mentoring Team arrived. These brightened my day.

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Calls and messages from lovely, but worried, friends and a few to take the piss out of my driving skills. This being my fave. It was so close to what happened, I had to laugh.

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A long story short, the car is a write off and I took the rest of the week off work.

The one thing I am most gutted about was a long-overdue reunion with the Connecting HR Africa team. We had spent months finding a date to meet and I would now miss seeing them all. They did Facetime me during the evening though!

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I was so happy, I cried. I stripped to flash my tats that I had following our trip to Uganda. We laughed. I needed to see them so much, it helped me realise that as soon as was remotely possible, I would be back on my feet and continuing with my work, charity and volunteering efforts.

I’ve checked in with the driver almost daily. He’s not coping well; talk of jacking his job in and not driving again. I’ve reassured him, as best I can and spoken to his boss to ask for his help. I worried about him so I sent him a card encouraging him to stay strong and take each day at a time. It will take a while for something like this leave you, if indeed it ever will. But we must crack on. Face fears, suck it up and try to move on with normality.

Yes, I’m in pain. I’ve not slept well since the crash and I’m a grumpy cow. I’m limited on what my upper body can do. But I am alive and otherwise fine. It’s a bit of Whiplash, after all. It could have been much worse. I’m very thankful it wasn’t. I saw an Osteo on Friday and I’m seeing him again tomorrow. I suspect this is the start of a rather long relationship. Insurance Co’s and Private Health bods have been less than helpful so I’m funding myself. It’s more important that I heal quickly than it is to sit, wait and be a process. I don’t have the patience for that.

Readers of this blog will know that I committed to running 3 1/2 marathons and a full marathon this year for Charity. Team Margot, Anthony Nolan and Retrak will all benefit from the much needed awareness and any funds I can raise. My biggest concern after the crash was how these injuries will impact my training (my first race is on 19th March). I’m worried because I’m not a runner. I’ve only just bought a pair of proper running trainers for crying out loud (thanks to Coventry Runner for all their help with that) and I know I’ve probably taken on more than I can chew. But I’ve said I will do it and I will.

So today, I sucked it up, dosed up on as many pills and painkillers as I was allowed then got back out there to train for my Marathon Challenge.

I hurt. I’m sure I rattled as I started to jog, I hummed and arghhhed, a lot, I thought about quitting and heading home. I would be forgiven for doing that, I’m sure. I wouldn’t forgive myself though. I had to try, to test the water and see how I felt. I did listen to my body and, whilst it moaned a lot, I felt as though I could push through it. So I did.

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And smashed a PB.

I’m pretty confident that tomorrow I will pay for it but, for now, grit and determination will ensure that my promise to three great charities remains unbroken. They are my motivation to heal, to get back to work, continue training for my marathon challenge and keeping to my volunteering commitments.

For these reasons, I have sponsored myself £100. It’s the least I can do and I’m super proud of what I’ve achieved today.

If you would like to get involved, I would be so grateful. A donation of £1.27 every day from now until my BIG full marathon in October will see me raise a mind-blowing £5000 for these great causes. Until then, I am back in the saddle and will continue this ride.

Thank you X

To Donate, Please Click Here.

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Family, Cats, Food Nerd, Gin Queen, People. Not HR.

6 thoughts on “Back in the saddle

  1. Glad you are ok Donna, so gracious to think of how the lorry driver feels, huge respect. Good luck with training, from this scary event will come a huge influx in donations for your bravery. Have a good week and mend safely.

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    1. Thank you, Garry. I really appreciate you taking the time to both read my blog and leave a comment. I felt the need to share what happened because I’ve amazed myself at what can be achieved on the back of something like this, hence I donated myself. The driver, I will continue to look out for. My Marathon Challenge training can now continue, albeit at a slower pace but at lease I’ve shown myself that I can do it. Cheers.

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  2. OMG!! This is a really great read Donna, and so typically you to be more worried about the other driver than yourself. I’m sorry that I didn’t know as I would have safely sat myself in the ‘take the piss’ seat.

    Reading your blog made me fondly remember just how motivating the commitment to raise money for amazing charities is. Just remember that pain is temporary (annoying yes but it wont last forever,) and the amazing work that the charities you have chosen do and the impact that the money you are raising will have for generations to come is huge!

    Keep up the amazing work!

    Dan x

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  3. Fantastic stuff Donna, living and writing from the heart. It’s not about what happens to us. It’s about what we do about it.

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