Tomorrow (the 20th of July), it will be 10 years since I fell off my bicycle, in France. Ten years! I was in a coma for a few weeks, and Churchill Travel Insurance paid for me to fly home in a LearJet. I was in Intensive Care, for a couple of weeks, I think. Once I'd woken up, then after a while, they moved me to a rehabilitation hospital.
My husband would bring our toddler and a lovely little baby into hospital, but I didn't know that the lovely little baby was ours (and then, the next day, we'd have the same thing again: "What a sweet little girl. Who is her mummy?" "You are - and I told you that yesterday!" ). My first proper memory is at Christmas (6 months after the accident!), when I was able to go home overnight, although I stayed in the rehab hospital on-and-off for another couple of months.
I think I have to celebrate having survived that accident. I mean, I could easily have died, but also I could have been far more badly injured. I am most certainly not 'normal' - I am officially blind (although, thankfully, I would only say that I am 'visually impaired' - I mean, I certainly can't drive, and I regularly bump into things etc. - but the optical doctors call me 'blind', and hey, because of that, I get money off my train fare, and free bus rides, and money off my TV licence, and I get some money as Disability Living Allowance ...), my right side doesn't work too well (my handwriting is horrific!), and my voice is horrible (although, apparently, other people don't notice the change as much as I do) - but hey, I manage most things, most of the time. Very importantly, I was able to go back to my old job. I am really, really lucky: I am a university lecturer, and the university decided that, although after a few months, they wouldn't pay my salary as sick pay, they kept my job open, and when I had had 18 months off sick, they said that, I could 'try' it out, going back, and we'd all see if I was well enough to have the job back. Luckily, we all agreed that I was!
Since the accident, I have made it a tradition to go back to the rehab hospital, each year, to celebrate my anniversary. I sort of 'woke up' in that rehab. hospital. The staff there were lovely, and they helped me so much! Physiotherapy, Speech And Language Therapy (SALT), psychological therapy... Most of the staff have left, now, to be honest - my consultant retired soon after I left the hospital, my psychologist moved to another hospital, and I have just heard that the lovely receptionist has retired, too. However, it is lovely to go in, each year, to see all the nurses who looked after me. On Friday, I rang up to check that it was OK, and the guy who answered the phone was really keen.
"You may not remember me, my name is Pam, and I was a patient there is 2005/6..."
"Oh yes, of course we remember you, Pam!"
So, that is my plan for tomorrow. This morning, I bought a couple of cakes, and a load of paper plates, from the supermarket. I plan to arrive there mid-morning, to provide them with some elevenses.
Then, on my way back to the station, I will buy a bottle of champagne. I always feel that Mr Flump and I have to celebrate my survival, with a bottle of bubbly!