Rose breaks her fall (and her back) #Essex

As our staff and apprentices know, our Trainer, Rose, fractured a vertebra in her back following a serious fall at the end of last year.  Now she’s back fighting fit, we asked her how it happened, what she’s been through and all about the road to recovery….. over to you Rose.

What happened?

On October 21st 2013 I decided to put away the cushions from the garden furniture into the loft. My daughter and granddaughter were there and we were all about to have lunch.  I opened the loft hatch, pulled the ladders down and, as I climbed up, I asked my daughter to hand them up to me once I was there.  But I just about got to the top, about 10 foot off the ground, when the ladder fixings came away and I fell, wham, right down onto my back.    Luckily, I did not knock myself out and in my shock crawled into the bedroom, where I lay in pain.   I knew I could feel my legs, so I was already grateful I was not paralyzed but I knew I could not get up from the floor and asked my daughter to call an ambulance.

At the hospital

When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics treated me as if I had been in a road accident and a collar was placed around my neck to prevent my neck and back from moving.  I was moved onto a board, into the ambulance and off to A & E.   The journey seemed to take forever and the roads were incredibly bumpy, I could feel every shake, rattle and roll!    After waiting around in A & E, long enough that my husband arrived from work, I was eventually sent to the X-ray department to see what damage I had done.   With the X-rays taken I was back in A & E awaiting the results.   When we did get to see the consultant, I couldn’t see a thing because I was still lying flat, but my husband could see the consultant looking at the X-rays and, when he called a colleague over for a second opinion, I knew I wasn’t going home in a hurry!   I had a fractured T12 vertebra and a possible fracture on the T11, needing an MRI scan to confirm.   The consultant told me I would be out of action for at least 3 months.   I was devastated.   It’s amazing how one minute everything is great and in a flash it is all taken away.   However, I quickly accepted there was nothing I could do and worrying wasn’t going to make any difference.   Even at that very early point I had decided to not let it get me down and to fight all the way back up again.

What happened in hospital?

I was moved to a ward where I had to lay on my back without moving for 4 days.   4 miserable days!  Hospital life is not good.   They are short staffed and, even though I was lying on my back unable to move, on only two occasions did a member of staff help to feed me.    I kid you not, food arrived and was plopped on my chest and I was left to get on with it!   I ate shepherd’s pie with a spoon and hot jacket potatoes with my fingers, aaghh!!!    I had the MRI and was told that I had no compression or shattering of the spine so they were going to get me in a body brace as soon as possible.  Being brought up to a sitting position was probably one of the most painful experiences I have ever encountered (yes, I have had 2 children!) and I had to be administered with morphine to help get me through this!!

Up and at ’em!

Once up there was not stopping me, albeit at a much slower pace than I’m used to!   After 4 days I was allowed home and from that point on my family and I were really on our own.  Sleeping was difficult in the body brace – it is full of metal rods and I had to wear it 24/7.   I couldn’t get out of bed on my own.   I was only managing about 2 hours sleep at a time so I would sleep and then get up for 4 hours and that is how the days went.  I am a busy person and hate being idle so within days I was doing work on my computer – standing and walking were difficult but sitting I could do, and with the help of ITEC I managed to complete my Digital Social Media Diploma, a social media for dummies courses and keep track of my candidates on Learning Assistant.  The time at home went incredibly quickly.    ITEC were very supportive and I have a lot to be thankful for.   After 6 weeks I went to see the consultant who asked “where is the patient?”   By this time I was walking well and had already started to ask about exercising in my body brace.    He told me I could do anything I wanted as long as I didn’t bend!

Back to work!snoopy

Being a fighter I was back to work by the beginning of January, earlier than expected.   I have been doing lots of swimming to strengthen the back muscles and ITEC have allowed me to fit swimming into my working week.   When I first got in the pool I could have cried, I couldn’t even lift my legs off the floor, but now I am swimming 20 lengths on my back 5 times a week, I am dancing again and, apart from the muscles in my body, I am almost fully fit.   I have a lot to be grateful for, I feel I am blessed as it could have been so much worse!

Rosemarie Bowers

ITEC Trainer and Guest Blogger

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