What a difference a day makes…

I haven’t blogged for a few weeks because on the 16th of February, I got a phone call that turned everything on its head. It had been a great start to the day as it was Other Half’s birthday, we had been out for a meal the night before and then woken up to card and present opening. He was off work for the day and I was planning to bring home a luxury M&S cheesecake as his birthday cake after work. The day carried on as normal and while sitting in Starbucks at lunchtime, I got a call from my brother, he told me my parents had been involved in a car accident and were in hospital. To get such unexpected and shocking news out of the blue was almost unreal – we discussed it later and all our first reactions were to feel strangely calm about the situation. It wasn’t until we had finished speaking on the phone and I was walking back to work that it suddenly hit me; I could have had a call to say my parents had been killed in the accident. Everything was starting to rush into my head, how to contact my sister, what to tell them at work, had I got enough petrol to drive straight back up north, what did I need to pack..? I rang Other Half who was reassuringly calm and didn’t ask questions, he just said he would be waiting for me when I got home.

Work sent me straight off and I packed some things, gave Other Half a kiss and a promise to finish his birthday properly when I got back and set off on the longest journey of my life, I kept stopping on the way as I received answer phone messages from my brother, sister and the hospital and just tried to mentally plan what needed to be done. I finally arrived at the hospital around 8.40 pm as had my brother who had driven back from his holiday in Skegness. My sister had not long gone home to break the news to our Grandma and all we could do was just sit and wait. At 10 pm, a theatre nurse found us and told us that both parents were out of theatre and in the recovery room, and my Mam was awake enough to be worrying that we should be at home, not hanging around hospitals! We went in to see them both and it was such a shock to see them lying there, dazed from both pain and anesthetic, looking like a fragile version of the parents we knew. After a very quick visit to exchange I love you’s, we were sent home for the night.

The next 2 weeks were a jumble of hospital visits, contacting the Police, Car insurance people, paying bills, caring for my Grandma who became ill (and then for myself when I caught it), visiting my Grandpa who lives in a care home, keeping friends up to date, organising a new boiler to be fitted, it was a mad task only made possible by us pulling together as a family and helping each other out as much as we could.

For my parents, it was and still is a slow road to recovery. My Mam broke 7 ribs, bruised her lung and has a broken eye socket. A week after the crash she was sent home with a view to returning the following week for her eye operation. It was subsequently discovered that she has a heart problem (something which may or may not have occurred since the accident) and could not be risked under anesthetic at this time without a different medication, she is now at home for another week before they attempt the eye operation again. My Dad had to be cut out of the car and the Police later told me it was one of the longest extractions he had seen for a good while. He was flown by the amazing staff of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to the hospital and treated for a smashed right elbow, dislocated right hip and bruised lungs. 2 weeks in and he has had surgery on his arm to pin and plate it together along with a skin graft from his leg to help it heal and a plaster cast, 4 surgeries to his hip which has managed to dislocate itself after each one and at least 6 weeks of bed rest. The Land Rover driver who hit them full on and crumpled their car like a tin can was ‘shaken but unhurt’.

If you could see into the future, you would think it an impossible task to cope with all that needed to be done. In reality, such a situation binds you together as a family like never before and proves you have the mental stamina to cope with anything that is thrown at you.

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