Motorbikes and Breaking My Back: The Accident and Aftermath

*warning – a tad of strong language follows. But I broke my back so I think it’s okay!

The accident

It’s a day like any other. Work, family, jokes, laughter, plans for my practice later, plans for dinner with my husband, enjoying the challenges of day to day life. I leave work at about 1:30, grateful to finish the day early and get a longer time to myself for my yoga practice. 

The accident is a blur. One moment I’m swinging my leg over my motorbike with the familiar feeling of excitement for a fun packed 2 wheeled journey. The next moment, I smash into the side of a van. I’m in excruciating pain, in the middle of the road with the impending threat of a shouting van driver. So..much..pain. The van driver is screaming and shouting. I’m in the middle of the road with surrounding traffic. My bike is making unhappy noises. And I have this looming threat of being called a “stupid woman” in the back of my mind (at least that seems to be the tone of the van driver in the moment).

A lady wants to call the ambulance but I’m not sure. I have to move, but my back won’t let me. I drag myself as close to the curb as I can before giving up and laying in the road, in direct sunlight.

Sinead sitting crouched in the lane, eyes closed.

Now the pain REALLY sets in! Wow my back. Fuck. Seriously. Ouch. Yes call the ambulance because I can’t move anywhere without making a serious situation even worse.

The friendliness of so many strangers is the theme of my next hour. The van driver is nowhere near as scary as he sounded in the moment of chaos. He is concerned. As is the lady that rang the ambulance. As are two first aiders. Same as a pregnant doctor. And same as a cheery neighbour, who brings me water, a cushion for my head, wheels my bike to wait safely in his garden until collection time. Even a homeless guy comes to help.

My dad arrives. And then my husband. And then the policeman. And then one excruciating and squirmy hour later the ambulance arrives.

The next hour is a bit drug fuelled. A hugely welcome situation in my current state! Gas and air, a cannula for injecting paracetamol and morphine. Lots of morphine and lots of gas and air.

Wow the paramedics are amazing. They are taking such good care of me. I’m like royalty! So warm, caring, friendly, responsive, professional and attentive. I feel like broken royalty.  Thank you NHS!

Long wait at A&E. A broken hip in an old man. A lonely man having attempted suicide. Plenty of others with sad stories. It’s so busy that we all have to wait in a corridor in some mishmash line of broken people. I have my husband and my brother to keep me company. I’m lucky. But I’m still in pain and I’m not sure if I can wait any longer.

I ask a nurse rather desperately as it’s been 4.5 hours wait and 7 hours since the crash. We almost argue, I think she sees my desperation and 2 minutes later I have a doctor.

X-rays. CT scans. And some more X-rays. Morphine that I eat and morphine that gets injected. The male nurse is talking about jaegerbombs an awful lot?! And then I vomit.

I have a broken L1 vertebra. I’m VERY lucky. It’s at the front of the bone. The doctor is throwing around situations that I narrowly missed; paralysis, spinal cord damage. All the scary stuff!

At midnight I’m sent home. Thank god for bed! And THANK THE UK LORD FOR THE NHS!

The aftermath

What a mix of feelings over the next few days. I’m in denial. Almost morbidly excited. I feel scared. I feel lucky. Sad. Incapable. Fearful. Hopeful. Fortunate. Grateful. Loved. Confused. Shocked.

Really shocked.

Wow that was bad. And wow that could have been so much worse.

What the fuck happened?

And what now?

Sinead and family at the table eating out.

The path to recovery

I’m a self-confessed workaholic. I’m lucky enough to love my job, love the place in which I work and love the people I work with. The accident was Wednesday 1:30pm. It’s Monday and I’m opening up the laptop to get back to work. It hurts. But I can’t not. I love the studio too much, I care a hell of a lot about the work getting done.

Sinead sat wearing back brace on laptop.

I’m getting so many messages, phone calls, visitors, cards and gifts. It’s amazingly heart-warming how much people care. And at the same time it’s frightening. The more that people show they care, the more I realise how serious my situation is.

Ross (husband) is working from home when he can and coming home early on other days so that I’m not left alone too long.

Now I just need patience. I just have to rest, wait and heal…

At lease there’s plenty more to yoga than just postures! Hot Yoga is great, and I cannot wait to get back in that room. But for now, my yoga practice is meditation, pranayama and nidra, as well as extra study.

Missing you all at the studio! I’ll be back before you know it. Keep up the hot yoga practice and I’ll keep you updated with my recovery!

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