REAL LIFE - REACH & RECOVER #1: Triumph Over Injury
Last updated: 9.38am, Wednesday 21st October 2020
Here we launch our 'Real Life - Reach & Recover' blog series with our dear friend, clinic champion and true survivor - Angela McShane (Triumph Over Injury)...
Looking back, if someone had said to me you are going to be in serious road traffic incident and you are going to have to learn life's basics again, i.e. learn how to feed myself, how to dress myself to the biggest obstacle of all - learn to walk again, I could not have pictured it at all.
As I look back, I had no worries at all other than getting to work and meeting up with friends.
The day of the incident was like any other. I got to work early and enjoyed a positive day. When I headed home, it was the same as any other, same bus stop and the same bus route.
When my bus stopped at the end of my road, I got off and said goodbye to the driver. Again, just like every other day. It was just normal.
Until I found myself lying in the middle of the road...
I was found by a nurse called Sharon who was on her way home from her shift at the local hospital. It was my fiery red long curly hair that was blowing in the wind caught her attention. How lucky did I get - to be found by a nurse?
I died three times! Three Times...
Incredibly, I was brought back to life and taken to the local A&E department, where I spent 16 hours in theatre. My family was prepared for the worst, they waited all that time in a small room, not knowing.
During my time in theatre, Police Scotland informed my family that I was involved in a hit and run incident. I was hit by drug & drunk driver, hitting me with his van at 70mph in 30mph zone. There was a witness who saw him get out his van, stand over me, saw the injuries I sustained and decided to get back in his van and drive away. He never called for help. I was left dying on the road.
16 hours later, I came out of the A&E theatre and was made comfortable after my life-saving operations. My family were informed to go in one at a time to see me. But they could not recognise me. My face was so badly swollen, the only thing that told them it was me was my red curly hair!
I was unconscious for several weeks. I did not know what had happened to me. My mind and body in a deep sleep, trying to heal its self from all the trauma. As the weeks went by, friends and family visited me, still an almost unrecognisable person.
Then one early afternoon, I wiggled my fingers and I could feel tubes on my hand. I tried to move my legs but I could not feel them or my arms and I tried to speak by my jaw was wired shut. I tried to lift my head off the pillow but nothing. Yet I could hear a familiar voice, my older brother, telling me “You have been in a serious road traffic incident and you will walk again.”
I did not know what those words meant but I feel what he meant - you WILL walk again! From there, I went to 4 different hospitals, had 36 operations and spent a full year in a hospital bed recovering from this incident.
My injury list is very extensive, I suffered over 16 separate life-changing injures. The biggest of those stayed in my mind during that time, the ones I wanted to change - you may never walk or live independently again or be able to have children.
I found it hard understanding all my injuries. Yet, I thought if I worked really hard at physio and learn to walk again then anything is possible
I only have a few pictures of my recovery, when I came out of the hospital. I did not want to take pictures of myself in the hospital. It did not feel right. I think the reality of seeing myself so badly injured back then would have hindered my recovery.
Yet the few pictures I do have to tell a story of how ill I was and what I lost from the road traffic incident - my heart and spirit was crushed too.
From leaving the hospital and spending over 10 years learning to walk again with the intense physio at Glasgow Queen Elizabeth NHS and Hampden Sports Injury Clinic (HSC), I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without the dedication and determination of our amazing physio community - they never gave up on me.
Even when I could not see the results or I was in too much pain to keep going in the session - “Keep going” they said, “Just one more, you can do it.”
And I did. At one point I was training twice a day with physios at HSC. I would work out in the morning, have lunch, then do another session in the evening. I was so focused and determined to walk again.
I started at HSC in a wheelchair, then sitting on chairs with sticks to learning to walk with crutches and finally taking my first steps without those aids. It was only a little step but we did it.
So my journey of reinvention began. Those small steps told me anything is possible - keep going, so I did.
I could never have dreamed of what would happen next...
Thank you for taking the time to read the first edition of our blog series and I look forward to sharing more over the coming weeks and months..
Love Angela x