Tuesday, 9 November 2010


There is nothing like your best friend telling you your blog doesn’t look chipper at the moment to kick start you into activity. Chipper is not exactly a word I would use to describe my mood or my life at present (or my blog - sorry).

Those of you that don’t follow me on twitter (why not?) won’t have heard that just over two weeks ago #2 (middle sister) took a tumble off her bicycle as she was on her way to work. That Monday O and I were driving home from our weekend with his parents. When we got home at about 4pm there was a missed call on my mobile with a voicemail from my Mum. “You’re probably still driving but give me a call.” There was no “asap” no “immediately” but from her tone of voice, I knew there was something wrong. I phoned and heard that #2 had come off her bike, no one is sure what happened but she was in hospital with cuts and bruises, about seven stitches to her lip, a broken cheekbone and four smashed teeth. Her CT scan was all clear and they were expecting to release her that evening – they kept her in. Her boyfriend and #1 (eldest sister) had been with her for the day and a wee while later I spoke with #1 to hear her side of the story. The theory is that #2 had swerved to avoid something (not sure what) and had hit the back of a van. She was taken to hospital on a full trauma call (team of doctors, strapped to the board, head in brace – have watched too many episodes of ER). However by the time her boyfriend got to the hospital (he works outside London) and by the time #1 got to the hospital (the one day a week she car shares) the police had left. No one could tell them what had happened. #2 cannot remember and is missing about 3 hours of the morning – she can remember cycling along and then being in the hospital and her boyfriend arriving, but none of the activity at the scene, none of the ambulance journey and nothing in the trauma room. Although she was apparently alert and conscious the entire time meaning, she must have answered all their questions correctly even if she cannot remember any of those conversations.

She will eventually receive a copy of the police incident report and have to deal with the repercussions if she was at fault and caused the accident – I had thought that if the only person she has hurt is herself then where is the blame to assign? However, if she has caused damage to another vehicle she will need to pay. Equally if she is not at fault, she is currently off work unpaid and has new teeth to buy (she has just started a new job and is not currently eligible for sick pay).

I was busy with work last week and whilst I wanted to see her, I didn’t really understand how I could help other than look at her and be there (plus she had a house full already) – I didn’t really understand her injuries at that point. Then I caught a cold and was told to stay away. The last thing she needed was a cold, plus she was under strict doctor’s orders not to blow her nose or she could put her cheekbone out of alignment. Feeling much better and a lot less contagious on Friday morning I boarded the plane to London, I was spending the weekend as my parent’s were going home to have a break and her boyfriend was flying to New York to run the marathon – which he did in 3 hrs 42 mins 58 secs – uhmazing!

I did not realise or I would have been there sooner.

(although not sure how I’d have dealt with the cold).

Externally she looks ok, her cuts and bruises had more or less gone, quite a few of the stitches in her lip came out while I was there and the swelling was going down. Her teeth still look terrible but it will take time for her jaw to stop aching (think she hit the ground, jaw first, with quite a clatter) she is fed up of mashed potatoes.

What I had not appreciated and had not been fully explained to me (trying not to worry me) is that she is constantly exhausted – I thought this was because of the bruises and the aching but actually, her brain is just tired, it took a big jolt.
She struggles to cope with more than one conversation at a time and found my parents and me chatting around her exhausting because she could not follow the numerous threads. She hasn’t managed to watch the TV although we did try watching Strictly Come Dancing – the movement of the screen, the bright lights and the noise made her incredibly tense, she frowned at the TV and tried to back away into the sofa. She struggles to use the computer for long periods because the flickering screen makes her head hurt. She doesn’t like going into the kitchen because the fridge is noisy, as is the dishwasher and washing machine and the clatter of the dishes. She is a wreck whenever she leaves the house, being in cars is extremely scary and even walking along the pavement because she feels everything is so unpredictable. We did go out for some walks and she is trying to go out more as she feels rather trapped inside – but it is taking small steps and she is a quivering wreck if a cyclist passes her.

Mum has been with her practically since it happened, leaving this weekend to have a break and only because she knew I was there – she is coming back on Thursday. Thankfully, Mum is a clinical psychologist with forty years experience so she has seen many, many victims of road traffic accidents and is putting all her skills to good use trying to build up #2’s confidence.

Having to leave her yesterday was just heart breaking as it was the first time she had been left alone since the accident, it was just for a couple of hours as her friend came in to make her food but she was in floods of tears. Trying hard to be strong but not really managing it. She is also feeling guilty that she cannot just snap out of it and get on with stuff.

It is obviously going to take time for her to recover and we will need to see whether she gets any memories back. Being the baby sister I am not used to having to be the strong one – not sure I like it much. Looking forward to having her fit and well again, no matter how long that might take.


  1. Your poor sister. I'm glad she is 'ok' in the broad sense and is being well looked after. It must have been horrible to see her like that x

  2. thats so terrible i hope she gets better soon she must be in total shock. I the baby sister two and it complete throws me if the other two have prolems. i hope your ok and thinking of you and your family

  3. that's awful. my thoughts are with you and your family. hope things are better soon!

  4. Richard can't blow his nose either atm because of a cheekbone fracture, and we've had some drama over the last week (everything's morealess ok and he'll be fine), and of course one's blog ("one's", get me) takes a back seat.

    It must be awful to see your sister so emotionally troubled. Brain injury is a terrible thing. Have you read Richard Hammon's autobiography about his accident? I cried pretty much the whole way through, most of it was written by his wife who is amazing. I think the strain of suppressing one's own feelings of upset in order to be strong, present a positive face and try to hold things together is so tough and so often overlooked.

    Our capacity for healing can be astonishing, I hope your sister's recovery goes well, and I'm so glad your mother has the expertise to help her.


  5. Oh my goodness. My thoughts are with you.

  6. not a tweeter so had no idea.. how, how scary..

    blog friend hugs coming your way and all thoughts will be with you and your family. Sounds like your sister has a good team around her. time is the most amazing healer and you're all clearly lucky to have each other.

    more blog friend hugs x x

  7. I'm so sorry to read this honey.

    It must be a really hard time for you all, but I'm sure with time and all of your support, she'll be back to herself soon. Sounds like your Mum is doing an amazing job too.

    Thinking of you lots and sending all my wishes your way! x

  8. Oh, honey, I'm so sorry. Very glad your mum has experience with this sort of thing, though it's probably hard since it's her daughter she's watching. I hope your sister continues improving and is patient with her progress. It can take a while for things to come back and feel more normal.

    Biggest hugs to you and your family. xoxoxo

  9. This is where doctors sometimes suck and you need clever people like your mother.

    She needs to be told and appreciate that a bang on the head is far more than just the visible bruises.

    Brain bruises take just as long to heal. 6 weeks is optimistic. The symptoms she is experiencing are completely normal and she is also needs to know that she will get better.

    I know it must be incredibly frustrating but time is what she needs.

    And hugs, obviously.

    (Also hugs to you, it's just as hard on those around her.)

  10. P.S.
    If she fancies a visitor, I am not far away.

  11. Poor you and your sister and all your family. A horrid scary time and goes to show how vulnerable we all are. Like Wellies said big huge hugs to you all. Your sister will get better but it takes time.
    Love Noo-noo x

    PS A special hug to your Mum I'm a nurse and because of that people think that it's easier for you to cope. It's so different when it's family especially when you are the Mummy x

  12. Oh my gosh, your family is in my thoughts and prayers!

  13. So sorry you guys are going through this! Hang in there and things will get better. Love how you all are pulling together! Thinking of you!

  14. I am thinking of you and your family lovely. It is really really crap when stuff like this happens, but one thing i can tell you is that your family seems close enough to deal with anything, and she'll get better and you'll all be ok. lots of loves xxxxxx

  15. Oh... I got total shudders reading this. Your poor sister – and poor you. God, the words "her cheekbone out of alignment" are so horrible, and not being able to remember anything must be so stressful for her (and everyone else). I remember when you tweeted to say she'd come off her bike – I just assumed it was a wee tumble (like when I came off the bike in SF) not something that had hurt her this much. I'm wishing her a quick recovery and that she gets some of her confidence back soon. Huge huge hug xxx

  16. Just to say im thinking of you all; it sounds so horrible and frustrating for your sister. At least your mum can help.

    Wishing her a speedy recovery and I think it calls for alcohol on Saturday!


  17. My love and prayers for a speedy recovery

  18. oh gosh, I've only just seen this (i'm so behind on everything...) and I'm so sorry to hear this, your poor sister.

    I remember falling off my bike when I was younger (though not to the same extent) and it took me a while to regain my confidence around the roads again. I hope she feels much much better soon x

  19. Oh my, I hope she gets well soon, and I hope you're ok. What a nightmare.

    I take it they can't do any dental work until her jaw and cheeks settle down?



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