I don’t think any of us at that time and throughout really knew the severity of what had happened or what injuries I had sustained, just something bad. I just felt numb and a tadge uncomfortably the whole time. The guys had kept me stable and immobile throughout those hours on the woodland floor and only time would portray what a life saver those actions were, at worse stemming off a real possibility of paralysis of some degree.
Bumping gently over what I now know was Woburn Golf course was the most direct access point to get me out of the woods and on my way to MK General Hospital. Still numb but not in any real pain time had become irrelevant, the last check in the woods was 22.30 and I hadn’t a clue what it was now as my view changed from ambulance roof to a brief waft of night air before A&E ceiling tiles. It all started to become a bit of a blur, tiredness aiding to that sensation. “Ok were going to get you to have CT scan” (a computerized tomography (CT) or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan combines data from several X-rays to produce a detailed image of structures inside the body ) So nerrr nerrr… In safe hands now!
Into the CT polo and back out again into trauma ward. Still non the wiser as to what I had done to myself but getting used to ceiling tiles in various formats now and finding grit, sand leaves and twigs in various places that my hands could reach and still dressed in my full riding kit. Coughing, moaning, distant shouting, muffled voices of nurses, doctors going about their duties, I just lay there still taught and stiff, hungry, tired, mind just a wash of thoughts about what had transpired that evening; why me, what did I do wrong, why can’t I move my neck but things seem to fine everywhere else, how was Anita, where was Anita? Vitals being checked all seemed fine and part of the course, a senior doctor introduced herself and advised my wife had been informed of my current status (haven’t a clue on time at this juncture) 2am it transpires, initial reports from the CT scan look promising she advised and they were looking at getting me comfortable with an adjustable collar, with observations overnight and we can get you home in the morning. A warm rush of relief washed over me, I think a little smile too. In safe hands now!
How quickly that can change as the medical safety carpet was suddenly pulled from under my feet as the same senior consultant came back to see me. I could make out in the dimly lit ward lighting a totally different persona, that optimistic look had gone replaced with an almost tear teetering serious face “Hi Mark I’m so sorry but after several more in-depth consultants have reviewed your scans we think you have some serious fractures to some of your neck vertebrae we are transferring you to St John Radcliffe in Oxford tomorrow”. My happier mindset draining away with every word, being replaced by a mirror image of the senior consultant serious face but soon overtaking her in the fast lane of emotions with fear, uncertainty, distress and floods of tears trying to be held back “because that’s what blokes do eh”. A comforting hand , more reassurances and sorrys did nothing to quell my current state “I just wanted to hold my wife x” In safe hands now!
Anita had been in and dropped off some essentials but due to Covid-19 restrictions was again unable to visit directly, heaven only knows what she had been dealing with mentally and emotionally. Drifting in and out of sleep states, vital checks, noises of the ward, pain killer drowsiness – emotions running riot in my semi-dream state, Covid test, MRSi test, more vitals and senior doctors talking all seemed blaa, blaa, blaa, blaa they could have told me anything laying with just my thoughts for company. Apparently Anita was told all this at 4am not that that’s any comfort as I’d lost track of anything. I managed to get my spd cycling shoes off by now and my knee pads off my knees before crashing out through exhaustion. Woken by another vitals check and nurses offering some kind of wash only to find more squirrels bedding; Woburn sand literally and a few twigs. Most of that day was a blur to be honest up until the ambulance crew arrived to carry out the transfer to SJR, paramedics and staff getting me onto the clip board and spine board, more straps and head blocks, plus the added face mask to complete this year’s transfer catwalk look. In safe hands now!
Greeted by a warm summer’s day and light breeze, change of ceiling tiles again as I was extracted from MK General to the awaiting ambulance, a quick journey brief and we set off what on a good run was approximately an hour. Tried to play inside my head the game guess the road were on but soon lost interest and the mild excitement of another ambulance ride and transfer lost its appeal to be replaced bumpy minute by minute discomfort laying prone on these boards the ambulance going a smoother speed as feasible prolonging the discomfort, that an hour plus in changed to anxiety as breathing deepened and overwhelming nauseous sensations started to kick in, inducing those tears once more to the point they pulled over to offer some rest bite, install a cannula into my arm to administer anti sickness drug as the cool sensation trickled into my vein systems and 30 minutes later I was back on some sort of level to continue. Transfer taking some 2 hours 40 mins before another glimpse of the summers evening sky and warm air and a new set of ceiling tiles ending up on West Wing Neuro Green ward. In safe hands now!