Woke up early last Friday and went to get some groceries. At 07:50 as I was pushing the trolly past the bread aisle I felt a sharp twitch in my right hip…these things have become almost normal in the last 12 months but this one was special.
12 months ago, on Thursday, April 7th at 07:50 that Blue Skoda had hit me.
How do you mark that moment? How do you process everything that had happened since that moment? How do you take all the bad and place it in a drawer, and how do you choose all the good, respect and cherish it?
What about the driver? He said sorry when he stood there next to me, but that was the last we’ve seen of him. The poor guy had 3 points added to his licence and had to spend a whole afternoon doing drivers awareness course. Is that enough? Will that make him more careful when he sits behind the wheel? Was he on the phone? Was he texting? Not enough coffee? Did he do something special on Friday? Does he know what happened to us since the accident?
Do we really care about him? Should we be angry with him? We all make mistakes and we all want to move on. Maybe he’s moved on and had chosen not to deal with the consequences.
What could have happened had I not decided to stop & turn Right at the junction? Maybe he would have caught with me 2 minutes later on Crew’s Hill and hit me from behind?
Would we be going on holiday during spring break as we were planning to? Would I be in Paris and Copenhagen for work on the following week, as I was supposed to? Would we all be having the Passover Seder with our friends like we always do? Would we be flying off to Florence to watch the MotoGP race? Would we be celebrating Alma’s 4th birthday in our garden? Would I be riding the #RideLondon 2016 for the BHF? Would we be going on our summer holiday? What about work? What about the most basic things such as going to the toilet or not having to rely on huge amounts of pain killers just to get through the day?
And how do we thank all the people who have supported us through this journey? Family, friends, colleagues, neighbours…what about the doctors and nurses? Where do we start?
In my dreams I saw myself celebrating that 1st anniversary on my bike, on a nice spring day ride. But as I realised this was not going to happen I came up with a different plan.
My brother-in-law, Doron, came over with two of his boys. Over the last year he has been a tremendous help and was here to support us in the worst moments.
They’ve made some very special t-shirts for all of us, with our names on the back. The weather was fantastic and we set off on a family walk from our home in Finchley the the junction on Theobalds Park Road in Enfield where the accident took place.
16km through the streets, parks and fields of North London.
A couple of ice cream stops, some snacks and sandwiches and we made it to the junction!
But the main event came on the following day. The London Air Ambulance has recently signed a 3- year partnership with the Saracens and to kick it off they’ve chosen #DerbyDay. We were invited to play an active role and to help raise funds and more importantly, awareness. Of course we had our own fan club who had joined us! 4 families who have all been there for us, visiting me at the hospital and helping Yael and the kids in maintaining their daily routines, cooking, babysitting and keeping Yael’s sanity as much as they could.
The charity had put a piece about the event on their Website with a cool short video on it.
For us and for me this is all about payback. I owe my life to them. Without them the kids would remember me only from photos!
This is Dr. Simon Walsh who treated me at the roadside. I’m one of hundreds who were saved by Simon. We want the charity to continue saving lives and keeping families together
These are some of the images that were displayed on the large screens at the stadium during Simon’ interview with me.
This week we had 12 months follow up appointment at the Royal London Hospital and we jumped on the opportunity to go up and visit the helipad one more time:
Little Alma brought her class’s mascot, Lex, along. There’s a school tradition where every weekend and holiday another child takes Lex home and get his album updated with his adventures and pictures. We think that after this holiday they will have to look for a new challenge as he’s been on live TV and on a helicopter !!!
As I wrote to the team after the game, we have never met a group of people who are so professional, so dedicated and passionate about what they do and who provide such an amazing support not only when they treat you, but also in the long months following that, when you and your family go through such tough times.
In the coming months, as part of my on-going physical and psychological rehabilitation I will be seeing patients who sustain injuries similar to mine, who are starting their journey to recovery and who can benefit from my advice on what to expect and how to cope with these difficult times.
After the accident, because we did not fully understood the situation and how long it was all going to take, I told the London Air Ambulance that I’ll join their #RideLondon 2017 team. As we now realise I will not be cycling on the road for a while, Michael Marks, my friend, has taken it up and will be riding and fundraising for the London Air Ambulance. It requires £7M each year to run their services, so every penny and every pound count!