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.