Way back on 13 July 1999, I nearly died.
A few choices I made, nearly ended my life too soon.
Lucky for me (and us), I survived. ;-P
It just shows how the choices we make can affect our lives. Forever.
Some choices we make every day, what we eat, what we drink, where we go.
Other choices we make not so often, but still have an impact on who we are and what we become.
14 years ago I made a few choices which could have killed me:
Here’s my story:
That weekend, I’d decided I’d drive 300 miles for a night out with friends.
Aged 19, I was in the process of growing up and finding out who I was.
I felt amazing and felt like I was invincible.
I didn’t know it all, but I was full of confidence and feeling great.
Nothing could stop me.
It was a warm day in July of 1999.
After working hard all week at my Summer job in a bar,
I decided it would be a good idea to drive 300 miles for a night out.
300 miles there, one night out, 300 miles back – how hard could it be?
My Dad said it was a stupid idea, but I knew better.
The morning after the night before.
9am: It was a wet July morning in the West coast of Scotland,
And I had a 6 or 7 hour drive ahead of me.
Hungover, I chose to get into my car, and drive.
I felt fine, I was a good driver (?), and I’d be fine.
How wrong was I?
I cranked up the tunes, opened the window for air, and drove.
I was on roads I didn’t know, and the rain was pelting down.
I felt fine and was trying to do everything right.
The roads were really windy and challenging, and I started to enjoy the drive.
Still being careful, but taking this corner and that, and probably driving too fast.
Going around another corner, I felt myself lose control of the car.
I tried to correct it, but I over steered and lost it.
In a flash, I went from driving fast on the wet road,
to heading off the road and straight for some bushes.
I woke up, disorientated and fuzzy, with my car back in the road, but facing the other way.
My drivers window was smashed and not even there anymore.
The music was off now and I was finding it hard to think what I should do next.
My windscreen was smashed so I couldn’t see out if it.
I could see blood all over the place,
on my trousers, and all over the interior of the car.
My face was aching, but I could hardly feel a thing.
I didn’t really know what had happened.
My car was blocking the road and cars were starting to queue.
I was struggling to see what had happened to me.
To my face, car and limbs.
I couldn’t see my face clearly, and was worried I’d broken myself, forever.
Then I had the oddest thought to take a photo of myself,
And use the screen on the digital camera to see how badly my face was injured or disfigured.
I was really worried and really not thinking clearly.
After a time, people came along to help me and I ended up at a local hospital.
My car and everything in it was abandoned and written off.
I hit my face off the steering wheel, and broke my nose.
I lost two of my front teeth and cut my lip, elbow and head badly.
I got out of the car and suddenly felt cold and weak.
My body was fighting for survival, and it was shutting down to protect itself.
I survived with what were really only a few cuts and bruises.
But it was an entirely traumatic experience for me:
From having to rely on Drs, Nurses and emergency workers,
To having my car smashed up and being left to my own defences in the middle of nowhere.
To having my mouth, head and elbow stitched up in hospital,
And having to find my own way home when my (wise) Dad decided to (rightfully I realise now) teach me a lesson.
I had black eyes and had to spend days in hospital, miles from home.
I was fortunate enough to stay with my sister in Glasgow where I’d been taken to.
I wasn’t able to eat for a week,
And had to sleep for the week to recover.
Once I was well enough I had to get a bus home and face my Dad,
Who had not much sympathy for me as he’d ‘told me so’.
After it, I vowed always to drive to the road conditions,
Never to speed, and never to drive hungover ever again.
It just shows you how much impact a few decisions can have.
I look back and remember how great I was feeling before the accident.
And how one little thing nearly wrecked my life forever.
Now I have a squinty and dented nose,
My smile is slightly off symmetrical.
I went through having two dental implants put in.
I have a scar on my elbow and head.
I’m a little damaged, but who cares? – I’m still alive!
Ever wonder why I’m so up and positive?
Why I’m ever so happy, enthusiastic and motivated?
Why I don’t worry about this and that, the little insignificant things in life?
I’m lucky to be alive.
Lucky to be here,
Perhaps getting to know you and helping you.
I’m not invincible.
But I do feel happy and amazing and I appreciate everything in life.
I’m so grateful for everything I have,
everything I am and everyone I know.
And I want to go on and continue to be fit and healthy,
and go on to live for as long as I can.
I’m going to take a minute to explain some of the gruesome pictures in this post.
It was 1999, I was doing a Fine Art Degree, and I’d just bought my first ever digital camera.
It was one of the first digital cameras to show you the photos you’d taken.
I used the camera not to take the photos below for memories sake,
I took the photos because I was worried what I looked like.
I wasn’t really thinking too clearly, and i couldn’t see what I’d done to myself in the mirror, so I used the camera to check.
Then as days went on, I used the camera to see my recovery and help me to realise I was getting better
(And it wasn’t the end of the world)!
Finally, here’s photos of my recovery:
(Sorry if they scare or upset you, but they really did help in my recovery to see how bad it had been and how much I was recovering):