Not your usual pre-trip nerves
30.03.2010 - 30.03.2010 10 °C
As my car spun wildly out of control at 70mph on a busy dual carriageway on the way to work, many many thoughts went through my mind. In real-time, this couldn’t have actually been very long, even though witnesses suggest I spun 5 times before crashing into the central reservation. I don’t remember the whole crash itself but my thoughts were vivid and I recall them with clarity. My first was OMG I am going to die. The second was about my nearest and dearest, including my brother and how he must have felt as terrified when he had a serious car crash a few years earlier (hint: do not drive when there is a Spink on the road!). Finally my thoughts turned to irony. Incredible irony that I had planned for years to enable the time, finances and personal situation to follow my dreams of travelling round the world only to die/be seriously injured in a car crash on my second to last day at work before my 1 year career break. I completely assumed this was game over for me along with the leaving cakes I had on the back seat!
For as long as I remember , I have always dreamt of travelling the world extensively. With every vacation/short trip/random business trip overseas my hunger for this has increased. I had already travelled extensively around Europe, US, Canada, Latin America and Asia but not for extended time. I had not lived it. However much I adore science, I could not ignore this urge. There are other ways of life out there, a whole world to explore, I had to do this for myself and was prepared to risk my career to do so. As it turns out though I was extremely lucky as business situations within my company meant that I was able to negotiate a return to my job after this year away, and back to the career in drug discovery. I felt so lucky and so grateful to have this opportunity.Those terrifying moments in the car though I quickly realised that this particular journey was tragically just not meant to be.....
So you may have gathered as I am writing this blog, I am very much alive and kicking. More than that, I am rocking! I must have blacked out for a bit or has been erased from my memory as a stressful event, but my car crashed at speed into the central reservation of the A2 and stopped. I wasn’t dead. I wasn’t dead. I was actually concious blimmin heck. Ouch ankle hurts, ouch head hurts, ouch chest, ouch neck but I feel OK. Can I move my feet? Yes. Any bleeding? *touches head* no. Must phone ambulance but iphone has fallen on the ground. I bend down to pick it up, realising I shouldn’t do this incase I have any spinal injuries but I figured I needed to phone the emergency services.
Within seconds I was joined by ‘wonderful random stranger’ number 1, a guy who started asking me loads of questions about how my back felt and insisted I didn’t move. He said he was a trained medic, I caught a glimpse of his ambulance by the side of my car, phew how lucky was that! Few seconds later random stranger 2 turned up and asked me to speak to somebody (I think on 999 switchboard) on his mobile. Random stranger 3 diverted traffic away from my car. Other randoms were there offering support and advice, I really felt i was in good hands. Quickly realised I was actually trapped inside my car as the door had buckled badly and wouldn’t open. Random 1 then to my surprise said ‘don’t worry the ambulance is on its way love’. Emmm WHAT, you are here already,there is an ambulance??? Confused? Well I was.. What he didn’t mention before that he did not practise medicine any more and the ambulance was for transporting people to hospital or something? Either that or he was a complete random driving a fake ambulance (fancy camper van?) one of these people who got a kick out of dramas!
I had this huge feeling come over me that I was pretty sure that I was OK, I felt fine. Goodness knows how this happened, from what I could see the car was pretty mangled, but i really felt all would be fine. MY TRIP WAS TOTALLY MEANT TO BE... Paramedics, firemen and police turned up all at around the same time, closely followed by the Kent Air ambulance!!! Rock on, am I going to hospital in a copter? Sadly this adventure was not meant to be as according to the paramedic they should never have turned up and never do when you actually need them! LOL (I did!) The medic didn’t believe me when i said i was fine so decided to cut my clothes off!! I was trapped in the car with a guy sat in the back seat holding my neck in position and to take my blood pressure they felt it was necessary to hack away at one of my favorite jackets and my top. Even my shoes got hacked at! After a ‘debate’ on whether they need to cut off the roof of the car to get me, (the firemen just wanted to use their manly powertools on me i think ooer matron!) they cut off the door and my gearstick then stretched me out on a spine board. I had been trapped in my car for over an hour with a whole tank of petrol on the road ready to ignite at any moment! BUT I WAS OK
Taken to hospital, consultant checked me out, nothing. My brother was shortly able to pick me, I just needed 48 hours observation because of my head trauma. Police told me that just before my accident they were going to close that part of the road as it was so badly flooded. They didn't get there in time for me to happily drive into this at 70mph thinking it was just a bit of surface water, aquaplaned and totally lost control of the car. That morning, although I think I lost at least 8 of my 9 lives (see pictures of car), I felt like the luckiest person alive. I had been agonising myself with thoughts on how selfish I was being leaving people in my life for a year to do something just for my own benefit. I mean completely taunting myself with this horrible feeling that I should take responsibilities more seriously at my age and not be so selfish. These thoughts paled into insignificance when I realised how if things had perhaps happened slightly differently in the car that morning I would be leaving everyone, everything behind FOR GOOD. I had been training hard to climb Mt Kinabalu in May and have never been this fit before. I truly believe my fitness helped me come out of this with only minor injuries. I just could not believe it. YAY LET’S EXPLORE THE WORLD!
So maybe not what you might expect for a pre-trip entry for my blog. I also fully expected to be complaining how difficult it is to pack so lightly for a whole year, how I am going to miss everyone, what the hell am I doing at my age blah blah blah.... Well hold onto your bunsen burners as against all the odds this trip is ON! If you still have the stomach for this adventure, already a bumpy ride even before I leave the UK, you are very welcome to join me by following. Please feel free to subscribe to this blog with your email address to get updates and to comment if you like, I would love to hear from you. I will aim to update this blog approx once a week or when I have something interesting to report. And yes, as I am now writing this from Kuala Lumpur, leaving Scott, friends and family was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I completely failed at the packing light thing but am working on it and still dont know what the hell I am doing but I am sure it will be an experience WHATEVER HAPPENS!!