I have written many very personal and sometimes distressing true tales for my blog. Through my eyes, the one you are about to read is the worst. During this event I experienced the most terrifying moment of my life so far.
WARNING – EMOTIONAL POST
I will take you back to a me when my children were nine and eleven. This period was a strange part of my life as I’d recently left their dad and had a new partner, Keith. He proved to be a good father figure, so I am grateful on that score, but our compatibility was low.
At this point we were at the start of our relationship and I thought I loved him.
So, there we were a reasonably happy looking family unit off to the bowling alley for my birthday treat. The quickest route happened to take in one of the busiest motorways in the southeast of England, during rush hour.
I was in the passenger seat with my eldest daughter, Miss N, sitting behind me and the other, Mona, next to her.
In front of us – a massive foreign truck. Keith, a careful driver, waited for the right moment before he indicated and steered into the middle lane, ready to overtake.
I remember glancing round at my girls. Mona, all curls, rosy cheeks and smiles was dozing and behind me Miss N was busy tapping away on her mobile phone. Turning, eyes ahead, I experienced a moment of dreadful foreboding. And then it happened.
Looking to my left I momentarily thought – that lorry is awfully close. Indeed, it was. The driver was heading into the same lane as us! We hadn’t quite finished overtaking so when the force of the truck rammed into the car it smashed the back passenger door. This was happening too quickly to say a word. Keith was forcefully trying to keep the car moving in a straight line and avoid hitting any others.
The lorry was now pushing us, passenger side on, along the motorway. The sight before my eyes was beyond what my brain could endure and I passed out. Swooning I suppose. So, the next section was told to me after the event.
The lorry braked – hard. Which allowed us to go shooting down the verge. Apparently the car turned over a few times before eventually coming to a standstill with its roof on the grass bank. We were upside down. Motorway cameras caught all the action.
Mona – I looked over at Miss N and had to laugh as we were upside down, held in by our seat-belts and her really long hair was hanging the wrong way. It was like we were on a fairground ride.
Keith – When the car finally halted I looked over at May and felt her neck. Alive but obviously not conscious. I opened all the windows and climbed out. Knowing she would want me to get the girls to safety first I undid their belts and one at a time pulled them out of the car. Leaving them further along on the bank – I then came back for May and laid her motionless on the grass beside the girls.
Miss N – I couldn’t quite understand why Mum wasn’t talking or moving. I thought she was dead.
I came round just as the emergency services arrived. They were incredible. A that time I lived in a village with it’s own fire station and these guys were first at the scene. My kids had been to tea with their kids and vice-versa.
The paramedics talked to us all and made a rough assessment regarding our physical and mental condition. We were taken in pairs to the hospital. Myself and Miss N were deemed injured in some way. Keith had a minor knee problem and Mona had slight whiplash. The lorry hit the vehicle along the passenger doors so it was understandable why Miss N and I needed more treatment.
My injury was to my left shoulder and even though I’d been unconscious it seemed I hadn’t received a bang on the head. But Miss N had. And soon after we arrived she began to talk and act as if she was taking drugs. Her speech was confused. We could tell she was also having difficulty seeing properly so the consultant ordered an emergency MRI head scan.
I sat waiting, already having signed myself off from receiving any more treatment, so I could be with her.
Quite soon after the doctor who had assessed the scans came over to me. Her face was full of angst. The first thing she said was,
“Mrs More. I’m afraid it’s very bad news.”
My eyes started to fog over. I thought I was about to pass out again. Felt sick. I wanted to die. Me.
Looking back at this, the worst moment of my life, I think perhaps the Dr should have chosen her words more carefully. But I can’t fault her actions. Miss N had a bleed on the brain which was causing pressure in different areas. A sub-dural hemorrhage . The condition was critical so the first available ambulance immediately took us directly to the specialist ward at St Thomas’s hospital in London.
Upon arrival Miss N was taken to the intensive care unit and monitored.
The following day involved a second scan before a decision could be made regrading an operation. Thank God the bleeding hadn’t increased which meant there was a possibility it may begin to disperse. The operation was put on hold.
We were moved to a children’s ward. I stayed in the hospital with her for a week while they monitored her signs for any change. It appeared the bleeding had stopped. Now we had a new problem. She had always been slender but because of nausea her weight had plummeted. They let me take her home before she lost any more.
She slept in with me and I gave her all her favourite meals 😉
Miss N recovered well. For a time she didn’t want to go out at all and we both suffered from the idea that it had been our time – meaning we thought we’d cheated death in some way. It would come for us in the near future. Not rational, but unsurprising considering what we had been through.
All involved received counselling.
Now she’s a young woman. One who struggles with the concept of life. She suffers with anxiety and doesn’t like to be involved in stressful situations. But she is alive and the kind of person who feels deeply and loves hard.
This Near Miss belongs to Miss N not me, but it felt like mine.
We were lucky that day.
- The car was a diesel Volvo. Very robust and it is only petrol cars that burst into flames.
- The motorway hard shoulder/verge didn’t have any barriers. Crash mats may have caused us further complications.
- Keith kept his head when needed and miraculously didn’t hit any other cars.
What can I say? Miss N became the most precious thing to me and we all learned that day LIFE IS FOR LIVING…
Image from Pixabay – but looks very much like Miss N now.