Moped Accident | How Not to Die on Holiday

I realised that we’re
going to crash. My bone sticking out of my leg. I had four infections.
One of them was a flesh-eating one. The surgeon told me
I had to have my leg amputated. I started having really,
really vivid hallucinations. I remember having the thought,
like, “I am dying.” I decided to go to Thailand
after I finished university. The plan was to travel round
Southeast Asia on mopeds. I had probably the best 1,000 miles
of my life going up to the mountains and seeing wild elephants.
I had such a good time. I started off doing a TEFL course because I wanted to teach English
out there. I did scuba-diving, hiking. A lot of drinking, as well,
was involved. Aimie and I were staying
in the same hostel. We hit it off quite quickly. We had planned to go to a party
out in the jungle. Aimie didn’t have a moped
so she didn’t have a helmet, so I took mine off
and gave it to her. She asked me, was it OK that I was
going to drive without a helmet? And I was like, “Sure, we’re only
going up the road, it’ll be fine.” It was quite dark
and the roads are so windy. It was kind of like exciting,
but it did feel dangerous. We were just driving along a road, I just completely misjudged
a left-hand turn. I became hyper aware in that moment and realised that
we’re going to crash. CRASH And I had to take a moment
just to make sure I was OK. I walked over to him
and I saw him lay on his back. If there’s a road accident,
call for help immediately and don’t move the person
unless their life depends on it. If their spine is broken, even the slightest of movement can
make all the difference. Check the casualty is breathing, place your ear above their mouth
looking at their body. If the person is unresponsive
and not breathing, attempt to open their airway. Put your finger tips on the angle of
the jaw and gently lift to open the airway. Don’t tilt their neck. This could damage their spine. Look,
listen and feel for ten seconds. If they are still not breathing,
begin CPR. His leg, it was, like,
bent in quite a funny position and the bone was sticking out. If the casualty has an open
fracture, cover the wound to
protect against infections. If you don’t have
a sterile dressing at hand, use any piece of clean fabric.
Ripping part of a T-shirt is OK. Apply pressure around the wound to
reduce blood loss. Don’t touch the bone.
Keep the casualty still. Support the injured area from above
and below the fracture to stop it from moving and place padding around the injured
area for extra support. There was quite a lot of blood. I
told him to focus on his breathing, just to take his attention
off his leg, cos that was something that he does
not need to see right now. I could see him drifting into
unconsciousness. The casualty may have
gone into shock. Loosen any tight clothing
around their neck, chest and waist and cover them
with something to keep them warm. Reassure them
that help is on the way. I’m not sure how long it was until
the first person came past, but they were Thai so they could
call an ambulance for us. As soon as they did, I kind of just broke down,
cos I felt like I could. The first thing I remember was
waking up in the ambulance, like, screaming in pain. I could see my bone sticking out
of my leg, which was pretty grim. That was like a three-and-a-half,
four-hour drive. I was bleeding out and in complete
agony and they had to knock me out. I woke up to the surgeon
trying to tell me that I was going to have to
have my leg amputated. That’s a really hard thing to hear,
especially in broken English. I called his parents. Just imagining being
in his parents’ situation and getting a call from halfway
across the world. Having to say that to somebody
was… It was horrible. Yeah. For three, nearly four days, a
surgeon was trying to convince me to have my leg amputated. He couldn’t tell me why
because he didn’t speak English, so that was really difficult.
I was basically saying no. Little did I know,
I had four infections. One of them was a flesh-eating one
as well. I think my words were, “Suck this up
and let them amputate your leg, “because you can live without your
leg but we can’t live without you.” I ended up going into shock
because sepsis took over and I started having really,
really vivid hallucinations. I started seeing aggressive dogs
barking at me, all my monitors going off
and my heart rate going up. We had a two-hour gap in between
the two connecting flights and we knew then that Ross’
condition had severely deteriorated. I remember actually having
the thought like, “I’m dying.” Like, “I know that I’m dying.” Even though they weren’t there,
I said it in my head, like, I told my mum and dad
that I love them and that I was sorry about
what happened. We were just glad to see him alive. It was obviously devastating that
I had had an amputation, but I genuinely was
grateful to be alive. Quite quickly I realised
he needed more specialist care. My insurance company agreed to
pay my medical expenses, so I got moved to a private
hospital. The amputation didn’t take away
the infection properly, so they took another 10cm off. I had something like 13 or 14
surgeries. To help the healing process,
they put, like, a vacuum on it, which takes out
all the bad bacteria. I was put on loads of medication. I had weeks of just feeling so low
and depressed and looking into the future and seeing what I was going to have
to deal with. As an amputee, the thing you want to
do is get back to walking again. Those first few steps were
absolutely incredible. And walking wasn’t
just about walking again, it was getting
that sense of independence. Ross had had these, like,
very much life-changing injuries. I did feel the onset of depression
and anxiety. I feel really, really guilty. I absolutely believe that if Aimie
hadn’t have been on the back of my moped whenever I crashed,
that I wouldn’t have survived. She was so amazing. Psychologically
it was hard to accept sometimes. You know, I get sore because I’ve
been walking for so long. The physical part, for me,
is the easy part. The harder part is just the guilt
of feeling like I put my family and friends through
so much pain and emotion. The turning point for me was being offered to play
wheelchair basketball. It completely turned being in a
wheelchair into something amazing, and to be around a load of people
who have been through sometimes harder things than you
just kind of humbles you and brings you down and makes you
realise you’re not alone. I was fortunate because I was
wearing a jacket that day. It’s really important to make sure
that your clothes cover you. Because I wasn’t wearing a helmet,
I actually had a bleed in my brain. You’re not just
protecting your own health, you’re also protecting
other people around you that you could possibly hurt
through hurting yourself. Avoid getting on a moped abroad. There will always be safer
alternatives. If you do take the risk,
wear a helmet, protective clothing and make sure your arms
and legs are covered.

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