A month before my 52nd birthday in October 2005 I was involved in an accident on my motorcycle which nearly claimed my life.
When the car pulled out in front of me I was travelling at 40 mph. The collision was enough to rip open my pelvis, bowel and bladder and catapult me 20 metres into the road. I broke both wrists, smashed my lower right leg, broke my left foot and damaged the nerve in my left ear.
Although I was conscious throughout I remember nothing, and have only managed to piece together my story through meeting and talking to the people who saved my life that day.
Thank God a nurse and doctor were travelling in cars behind me, and were able to administer a pain killing injection. I was taken by Air Ambulance to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
At hospital I underwent 5 hours of surgery and used 42 pints of blood over 3 days when I was given a drug called Novoseven which stopped the bleeding . With little expectation that I would live, I was given the Last Rights and existed on the edge of death for over a week.
I was unconscious for more than 3 weeks and in hospital for a total of 13 during which time I underwent 4 more operations, one to repair my pelvis and two trying to repair my bottom. When I left hospital I was in a wheelchair and had crutches. I was told that I would always need to rely upon a chair and that it would be 3-4 months before I could walk again – I did it in 4 weeks. Today I regularly walk 10 miles or more.
During that first year following the accident, I had 106 medical visits which included 2 more operations on my bottom. They weren’t successful and I was forced to contemplate living the rest of my life with a colostomy. Of everything I had dealt with thus far, all the pain and suffering, the prospect of life with a colostomy had the greatest impact on me.
At this point I was referred to Professor Williams. With him I underwent the Electrically Stimulated Gracilis Neosphincter operation, a procedure which he pioneered through Bowel & Cancer Research some 10 years previous. This involved augmenting what was left of my sphincter with Gracilis muscle from my thigh and re-training it to keep me continent with the help of an electrical pulse generator. After about 3 months I was checked out and passed suitable for a colostomy reversal. I count this as the first day of the rest of my life.
It hasn’t been easy; there have been lots of things to put up with and getting my body to know how to function again has taken time, but my life is my own again and things are so much better. My confidence has returned and I feel great. This is down to Professor Williams and his team. Nothing I could do could ever repay them.