I had a lucky break – I broke my neck and am lucky to not be paralysed.
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So, what happened?
Waves come down with tonnes of force.
Bit like a pile driver.
This wave ripped me off my body board and drove me headfirst into the seabed.
There were two loud snapping sounds – like gun shots – and a grind in my neck.
I knew I had injured myself badly.
Messages flew calmly past in my mind as I was thrown around in the water: “I could be paralysed. I could die.”
When I came to the surface, my right arm was paralysed, so I did as all good swimmers do and waved to the people on the beach to attract their attention using my other one.
No one came to help me.
Later, one told me that he wondered if I was a friend waving to him from the sea.
Not the ideal response to a cry for help!
I know that I shouldn’t have got up because of my neck, but no one came.
So, I walked over and stood stock still in front of the first person, and said, “I’ve injured my neck. My right arm is paralysed. Please call an ambulance.”
He looked at me blankly and said, “What’s the number?”
Unbelievable – I had managed to get the only person on the beach who didn’t know the number for an ambulance!
A humbling experience
The experience has been humbling.
It was a spectacular day in Looe in Cornwall – clear blue sky, strong wind from sea to shore, whipping up the waves.
I was humbled by a freak wave: the sea can be so powerful and overwhelming.
Since then, the depth of care by the nurses, doctors and others in the NHS has humbled me.
The love and support of my family, friends, colleagues and employer has been humbling.
Getting over my neck injury
I set myself an IMPACT Goal to get back on my feet and recover fully my neck injury as soon as possible.
It was easy to integrate it with my core values – and in fact made me realise one that wasn’t on my list, namely health.
Good health enables us, poor health limits us.
In my next blog, I share my IMPACT Goal for my recovery from my broken neck.
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