I’m a Runner

As the time draws nearer to the anniversary of that day the same feelings return to the pit of my stomach. It’s peculiar as I don’t so much think about the actual accident itself, the memories that shadow my thoughts now are of the days after. The look on friends and families faces when they came to visit, the fear in my sons’ eyes, the inability to scoop them up and cuddle them and promise that it would all be ok. Will the memories ever fade? Will I ever get to a point that the day will pass and I won’t remember? The boys have no recollection of the aftermath of Mummy living in the front room or of Nicholas (the cage), Charleigh’s memories have become faded with time, for these facts I am grateful as their minds are so young and pure and I don’t want them filled with bad, only the good.

I sometimes think that only I will ever remember the true moments from that time. Perhaps a little part of me will always be filled with it, but I will learn to keep that door closed.

I am determined to use this frustrated energy though and put it to good and not let is turn into a wasted emotion. I think we are all capable of directing our emotions onto a path of our own choosing. Our destiny is ours to make of what we will.

It is true that that time is a healer and despite the door to the dark side being slightly ajar at present, I can see the positives that have come out of something awful and I will try and focus on those.

The main positive being my desire to run. My training is well under way for the half marathon madness that I signed up for! I am stronger, physically and mentally, than I ever thought possible. I am learning to push myself to limits I once only ever thought would be out of reach.
These legs, despite the lumps, bumps and metal, are doing me proud.
James and I took part in the London Winter 10km run last weekend as part of my training plan. Surrounded by the beautiful sights of London down at South Bank, polar bears offering hugs (I kid you not) and the cold, cold air, we set off. I wanted to complete it in 55 minutes – a target that meant I had to push myself harder than ever before. At 5km the cold was hurting, at 7km I wasn’t even convinced I would finish the course and a 9km I knew I wouldn’t stop. With the encouragement of James next to me, my amazing trainer’s (the actual person, not my footwear!) voice in my head ‘think results’ and with a deep determination I didn’t even realise I had,  I completed it in 54:40.
I shed tears of absolute happiness at the end and traveled home on a cloud of delight (with a well-earned Costa Coffee in hand!). I do have a confession though, at the end of the 10km a realisation hit me that when it came to the half marathon I would in theory have to run that again. To say I was a little struck by fear would be an accurate description. How on earth am I ever going to run 13 miles? Although this time last year I wouldn’t have even been able to run 5km let alone 10km so things can only get better. I won’t use the work ‘easier’ as there is nothing easy about this. My legs are not what they were, there is weakness and metal that aggravates – but they are the only ones I have so I can either give in to ache, or fight and work against in the desire to succeed. (medical disclaimer : I am not doing anything that will cause me injury, if at any point there was pain other than that caused by hard work I wouldn’t push it, I am being sensible)

So happy! x

So happy! x

Well earned sit down :)

Well earned sit down 🙂

Told you ;)

Told you 😉

I am lucky to have had people come into my life because of this journey, some of whom I wouldn’t have got through some very dark days without. The internet gets bad press but without it I wouldn’t have found support in strangers when I most needed to connect with someone who knew exactly what I was going through. I know I have mentioned it in a previous blog but I would have been lost without the people I talked to who had the Ilizarov frame at the same time as me. From the USA, South Africa, UK – you helped me when I felt alone, angry, fearful, sad …. I am looking forward to meeting up with (some of) the Ilizarov Forum crew this weekend – you guys all rock!

Sometimes I forget that that there are actually people out there reading this. This is just my little therapeutic bubble, so I am still a little shocked when I get a response from someone other than friends or family. I received a lovely email recently from a lady who is on her own journey and facing battles that I only know too well.

To think that my words and my journey may help someone just a little is truly overwhelming.

More Surgery …. and an angry rant

As I write this the sun is blazing and I have just enjoyed a fabulous afternoon with my gorgeous boys at he farm. I should be feeling content and happy, but alas I’m not. I am sat here with a knot in my stomach, trying to contain the rage and desperately trying not to cry …. again.

The plate in my left leg is continuing to niggle me, I can feel it there reminding me of it’s presence and still regularly swelling up just for good measure. Surgery for the removal has been set for 30th May. In all honesty I am not worried about the surgery itself, it’s very straight forward, one night stay in hospital and I should be up and walking relatively quickly. At least once it’s out it’s out! Just got to hope that the screws stay where they are don’t try escaping!

The gym has been amazing for getting my legs back to a good level of ability. In the past week I have finally been able to advance from speed walking to jogging – a huge achievement! It is an odd feeling if I am honest, my right leg protests to begin with with threats of giving way but once it realises that it wont win the fight it gives up and lets me carry on. I can manage two miles so far and hopefully that will continue to increase. Now, if I could stop eating so much cake (and the person who keeps buying said cake knows who she is!) then possibly this new found love for the gym may have a positive effect on my slightly larger waist line.

And so the reasons for the angst I am feeling.
It would appear that the law is an ass. Perhaps if I was a multi-millionaire footballer and someone happens to say something nasty to me in a newspaper then my multi-millionaire solicitor may not have much trouble in securing me a few extra million to add to my bulging bank balance.
However, little old me (sat here typing away on my three year old laptop in my modest little family home in Oxfordshire, whilst my husband is working a ‘proper job’  to support us) is having a somewhat troublesome time trying to secure compensation for the accident that broke my bones.
Let me explain as that view maybe a little one sided 😉
After the accident James took a sabbatical from work so that he could look after me and the children. During this time he wasn’t paid and so we borrowed money from family. This money paid the mortgage, the bills, fed us etc. On top of this we claimed Employment & Support Allowance – a benefit that is designed for people who cannot work due to an accident/ill health – exactly our position. We were awarded £100 per week.
Obviously the legal side of things has been and gone (remember the £90 fine and 6 points – yes, that legal ‘justice’) so all that is left is my civil case.
So apparently (according my very own solicitor) James should never have taken a sabbatical and forgone his salary as we cannot claim for his full loss of earnings. We should have put the boys into full time nursery (for which we could have claimed the full costs back) and I should have had a carer to look after me (for which we could have claimed the full costs minus 10%).
It would seem that the fact that my daughter witnessed me getting run over, the boys having to come to terms with Mummy not being walk, having a scary cage attached to one leg and being bed bound in the living room for some 7 weeks isn’t relevant. Life should have just continued with the addition of the boys finding themselves in nursery 8am-6pm Monday -Friday (not forgetting the fact that we couldn’t have actually transported them there as James is out of the house 6am-7pm) How silly of us to put the emotional needs of myself and our children first.
The benefit that we claimed will need to be paid back to the government by the defendant and so will be deducted from any money I am to receive (this I do understand as otherwise I will have been compensated twice).
However, the whole this is just leaving me drained, angry, upset, tired …. this list of emotions could go on and on.

I have been fighting for a year and it’s still not over. I may not be worried about the upcoming surgery … but it’s still another thing that I have to do. It’s still not over.

And on top of the physical hurdles to face we are facing not even being compensated financially what we feel we deserve.

We are not greedy people. I am not asking for millions of pounds so we can live a lavish lifestyle.
I do not however think I am selfish for wanting to be compensated (after all, I didn’t receive justice in court) for the trauma, physically and emotionally, that me and my family went through. I may have have the broken bones but I can assure you that I was not the only one affected by this. WHY should we end up in debt after this?? That is the way this is heading.
And do you know what is making me furious to the point of screaming …. she is totally unaware. She is out there living her life with no consequence what so ever.

My daughter is still nervous in car parks.
I have video of Archie screaming in terror when I was learning to walk with my zimmer frame.
I have the memories of my boys not wanting to  approach me, let alone cuddle me when I was bed bound for almost two weeks.

I may be a small fish in a big pond but to me, this was a tsunami and it’s still coming.
I’m all out of breath though so keep myself afloat.

 

 

‘Justice’ Is Done

Today was the day that we had been waiting for. The time had come for her to come up against our legal system, face what she had done and hear what her actions have caused my family and I.
Unfortunately things did not go our way.

Sitting in the waiting area, after a complete sleepless night for us both, James and I were exhausted. We kept ourselves busy with reading, music, iPads and phones.
There was a mixture of nervousness and anticipation.
This was a whole new experience and I had no idea what the outcome would be. I kept expecting to see her appear from somewhere but as the case was called after a two hour wait it became apparent that she was hidden away in a side room.
Seeing her there, in front of me, didn’t bring the reaction in me that I thought it would. I wasn’t scared, angry or upset. I felt totally numb. This was the woman who had turned my life upside down and I felt absolutely nothing. I couldn’t see her face as she was facing the Judges. I could however see the faces of her relatives. Her son looked smug throughout the entire hearing. Occasionally he exchanged words with his partner that resulted in chuckles. What could they have to laugh about? Me sitting there nervously waiting? The fact that my leg was encased in a metal cage? Whatever their reasons it filled me with disgust. Do they have no shame?

The CPS read out their argument first, failing entirely to read my victim impact statement (for which I am going to complain) and then her solicitor had his time.
Apparently, at the time she didn’t realise that it was actually her that had run me over. It has only been since the evidence has been presented to her that she realises that it must have been her. According her solicitor she is ‘deeply sorry and full of regret’. Well, how nice of her. Who exactly is she sorry to because I sure haven’t received any of her apologies.

She pleaded guilty to driving with undue care and attention.
Hearing her say those words bought a blanket of relief. I breathed easy for the fist time sitting there.
My ease was short lived though.
Because of early guilty plea they dropped the charges for failing to stop and failing to report an accident.
She was fined £90 plus costs and given six penalty points.
That’s it. Our legal system has performed ‘justice’.

I don’t want to rant about how the system has let me down. I do believe that we are lucky to have a legal system in which everyone has the right to a proper defence and trial.
However I do feel incredibly let down. Sitting there in court today and listening to what was said, I don’t feel that a true account of what happened on that day was given at all. All they’ve heard is that she ran me over accidentally and is apparently really sorry. They didn’t hear about the true extent of the injuries, the hours of pain I have suffered, the anguish my children have been through as a result.
How is that justice? Someone, please explain it to me as I am totally and utterly lost.

My head cannot process the fact that you can be charged with three offences, and just because you plead guilty to one of them (as though you are being the helpful one) you can just be let off of the others. It doesn’t make you any less guilty of them so why shouldn’t you be punished for them?

On reflection, the CPS solicitor was utter rubbish. He mumbled his way through, wasn’t sure of his facts and acted as though he’d rather be anywhere but there.
Should I have employed my own solicitor? I wasn’t even told if that was an option?
I feel totally and utterly cheated.
Through no fault of my own I was run over, both of my legs broken leaving me and my family distraught and lost. She has received no punishment that will have any affect on her.
How is this fair?
You can run someone over and callously leave them there and all you face is six points and a pathetic fine.
I will be left with this for the rest of my life and the memories will always haunt me. The nightmares, the panic attacks, the pain, the fear ……

I think she sleeps soundly at night.

I am trying really hard not to be angry as I know it will do no good however I am failing. I have never known what true anger is until now. It is running through my bones and I cannot stop it. I am fighting back the tears as I am too scared that they won’t stop.
Until now I didn’t, but right now I actually despise her.
What kind of vile human being is she?

How do I move on from this with the knowledge that she has suffered nothing yet I am still suffering today, almost 13 weeks later and still have a long journey ahead?

I feel so unbearably distraught.

Ten Weeks On

Ten weeks doesn’t sound a lot. You wouldn’t think that you could achieve very much in that time. Or maybe you could, I mean how often do any of us really measure an amount of time and judge what we could have done? How often do we set ourself goals and be able to say that we have achieved them? Maybe some of you (assuming anyone is reading this) do do this, but it wasn’t something that I was good at.

But in the last ten weeks I have been to hell and back. I’ve had my legs broken and half fixed, am in the process of now learning to walk properly again and have realised what really is and isn’t important in my life.

My sense of time would normally revolve around school holidays.
How many weeks until half term?
How many weeks until they go back to school?
We are just starting the six week summer holidays. Usually I would enter this phase with a small sense of dread. No more toddler groups to entertain the boys plus an active 10 year old to amuse as well.
But this year I look at the next six weeks as the end of a very difficult journey and the beginning of the next phase. I am unsure how I feel. Excited? Nervous? Sad? Angry?
Probably a little bit of everything.
There is still a bit of me that is definitely angry. Despite the large part of me that is able to look upon this as an amazing opportunity to do something fantastic, there is still a small fire of anger for the fact that I am even having to go through this. But I think that we all need that little fire to keep us focused and strong and able to see the brighter future we can have if only we open our eyes and hearts to the possibility.

I am so proud of what I have achieved, the human body is a remarkable thing. I have come so far but I am under no illusions that the next chapter will be an easy ride.
I still get very frustrated and I am so hard on myself, every time I reach a new goal it is never enough. I want more. I am just so desperately unhappy with this cage stuck on my leg, with its pins and screws invading my bones that nothing is never enough to ease the emotional suffering it brings along side the magic it is working on the breaks.
It hasn’t even been a week yet that I have been able to walk around confidently with my crutches and quite often without them, yet already I hate their presence and feel so upset and despondent when it hurts too much to not use them. I am fed up with my feet swelling up and I hate the involuntary spasms in my legs. Honestly the list could go on!

But carry on I shall for defeat is simply not an option.

Today is the first day in ten weeks that James and I have been apart. I have felt like my right arm has been missing. How did it become that I couldn’t even last a day without my husband? Crazy!
So I sit here in bed, in my old bedroom at my Mum’s house, waiting to hear the key in the door, trying hard not to cry (even though I am not entirely sure why I even want to cry) and think about the next ten weeks and what I want to achieve.