Triumph over Injury - Taking on the #FatalFour
Just over a decade ago Angela McShane’s life was changed forever after she was seriously injured in a collision with an intoxicated driver. Angela is now helping ScORSA raise awareness of the #FatalFour - the most common causes of serious road incidents.
Although it was more than ten years ago, I can remember very clearly the moment I was told I may never walk again.
Earlier that day I awoke, disorientated and deeply confused in a hospital bed. A doctor came into my room and informed me that I had been involved in a serious road traffic incident. Anticipating my questions, the doctor leaned in and gently told me that I had suffered major injuries and that I wouldn’t be able to feel my legs.There was more.
The doctor said “I must tell you, that you may not ever be able to walk again, live independently, or have children. You have many surgeries ahead of you and we will take everything one step at a time. Meanwhile, we will make you as comfortable as possible.” I could hear all the words, but nothing made sense. I could not understand why or how I could be involved in a road traffic incident when I did not drive.
It was explained to me that I was hit at 70mph in a 30mph zone by a driver high on drink and drugs. They were driving without a license or insurance and, worse still, they drove away, leaving me at the side of the road to die. It would later emerge that the person behind the wheel was driving for work. Since working with the Scottish Occupational Road Safety Alliance (ScORSA) I have learnt that it’s estimated more than a quarter of collisions involve somebody who is driving as part of their work.
It took six weeks for the magnitude of my situation to really sink in. As I lay in that hospital bed, staring at the ceiling and barely being able to move my body, the thoughts of what I was unable to do started to stack up. I couldn’t walk, feed or dress myself. I feared I would never be able to dance the night away at my favourite club again, or feel the music vibrating under my feet.
The tears came streaming down my face. Reality had finally hit me.
But even in those darkest of hours, I remember a small, still voice within me saying “No, this cannot and will not be it.” That was the start of my struggle to reclaim what had been stolen from me - it was the beginning of my reinvention.
The first stage of my journey back to health was going through a course of physiotherapy. My initial challenge was to be able to sit up slightly in the hospital bed. It took months to achieve this but I will never forget the flood of happiness I felt at seeing out of my small room, as I had grown well and truly sick of looking at that ceiling.
I had laid flat in the bed for so long that all my muscles had wasted away or become very weak. I had also suffered major trauma and injury to almost every part of my body. So, when I moved one part of my body another part would hurt. I remember being terrified that the physiotherapy would not work. What if I couldn't walk freely again?
I wouldn’t be spoiling the story to tell you that to say that I now have full use of my legs, a gorgeous daughter and a loving husband. After all, journeys are comprised of many small steps and I will be sharing more about how I rebuilt my life at the ScORSA webinar on Thursday, 25 November, 2021. I am now a road safety ambassador and I’m working with ScORSA to raise awareness of the ‘Fatal Four’ - the four most common causes of serious and fatal collisions. If you aren't already, I would encourage you to become a ScORSA member and access their free advice and resources for you, or your fleet, to reduce the risk of experiencing a road accident. I hope that sharing my story leads to positive change and safer roads for all.