December 16th 2017 will always be etched into my mind. It was the big day of my charity walk for Walking with the Wounded. I had arranged my own charity walk with 5 friends, walking 26 miles along the Cleveland Way. It was a gorgeous, fresh but very icy day. The day started off so well, everyone in high spirits, laughing and joking. Every so often one of the group would slip and fall on the ice, laugh and get back up. Looking back, I should have cancelled the walk for a sunnier day as it really was black ice everywhere.
At about the 3 mile point, I tried to cross the footpath to the grass on the other side where I slipped and landed badly on my wrist and hand. I knew straight away it was serious. I cannot describe the pain, I cried and screamed in agony. My hand and wrist were all misshapen with an obvious break in the bones. I was so upset, could not believe this had happened. I remember my poor husband Tony frantically dialling 999 and giving the operator the GPS coordinates of my location.
My good friend Andrew Smith sat next to me and just held me as I sobbed and screamed in pain. Passers by started to give me their coats as I was lying on the snowy ground and was freezing cold. At one point it looked like I needed the air ambulance because of my location but I was terrified and begged them not to fly me!It was decided that North Yorkshire Mountain Rescue Team would be sent out but they were actually doing a sponsored collection for money in nearby Northallerton.
It took them about an hour and a half to get to me. It was so cold the ladders on the top of the rescue land rover had frozen solid.The mountain rescue were fantastic though. They placed a little tent around me to attempt to keep me warm and gave me gas and air. The land rover was having a tough time reaching me but eventually I was stretchered off and took to a main road where an ambulance was waiting to rush me to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.
X-rays confirmed that I had badly broken 2 big bones and I would need surgery.Doctors had to pump me full of morphine whilst they pulled my wrist back into place, but it was still pure agony.Two days later I was admitted and had surgery. The break had severed and damaged the nerves in my hand leading to my fingers. I panicked so much when I lost the feeling in my fingers, a result of ulnar nerve damage and no-one could say if this was a permanent disability.Only now 16 months later is the feeling slowly starting to return. I was discharged the following day but was rushed back in on the 23rd December as my hand had swollen massively.
This was my hand –
I was allowed home late on Christmas Eve, feeling ever so upset as I felt I had ruined Christmas that year. My husband made the Christmas dinner the next day and looked after me like a queen.
That was 16 months ago. I would love to tell you all that after a few weeks rest I got up and went running but unfortunately that did not happen. The fall had massively knocked my confidence. I was embarrassed about the appearance of my hand with my bent misshapen fingers and I was scared I would trip and fall whilst running.I rarely left the house and was unable to drive and living in a secluded farmhouse meant I rarely saw people.I comfort ate and put on 3 stone.
I could see myself wallowing in self-pity and I could quite easily have stayed in that state without giving myself a good talking to!Slowly but surely, I started to run again.Yes, I had lost a lot of fitness and was now 3 stone heavier but I knew, if I didn’t do something about it now I could easily have seen myself back at 18 stone and I was not going to let that happen! I therefore did what any other sane person in that situation would do – I entered a 100k race for later that year – The Thames Path Challenge.
Find out next blog to see what happened – would I finish it?