A little different than the story I have told some, but this is how my life changed forever. If this story differs from the version I told you, then I apologise profusely. I'm sorry.
I was living in Pontardawe, Wales. My Father had married another welsh girl and moved in with her. Living in a freezing house with no means to wash clothes or heat water (aside from on the stove) was taking it's toll on my health and outlook on life. But I would never have wanted today to happen as it did.
After a half day at Neath technical college studying basic computer science, I zipped home on my Yamaha DT 125 motorcycle to a lunch of instant pasta and coffee. I tried to dry my jeans on an airing rack in front of an electric bar fire, but the plastic rack melted and stained the jeans. This little disaster almost reduced me to tears, but I muddled through. (cue violins, I'm sure) Once the afternoon had passed, I stopped playing X-Wing and switched off the PC. Strange that I considered myself to be so mired in poverty - I had a PC and a four bedroomed house. Just nothing to put in the house or to heat it. Let me give you all this piece of life advice; showering in freezing cold water in the middle of a welsh winter is no fun.
As always, friday night was Dungeons and Dragons night at a community centre in Neath. The friends I had made in college were mostly geeks, so this was a regular hangout for us.
After the standard arguments about power gaming and cheated character rolls, the evening came to an end around 10pm. Promising to join everyone for the 36 hour video/junk food (free!)/D&D marathon tomorrow, I kicked the bike into life and headed for home. Not wishing to argue with the speeding traffic on the main road to Neath, I turned right instead of left to find my way to the city centre. Looking back, a bad decision.
Turning left means riding along a crowded residential street with cars parked on both sides of the road. The speed limit is 30 miles per hour, but the fog, darkness and proximity to parked cars reduced my speed to about 20 miles per hour.
A few hundred yards down the road, after passing some cars heading in the opposite direction, I made a mistake. To this day I don't properly remember whether I simply rode straight into a car, or whether I swerved to avoid another car. I certainly think there was another car, but that may not have contributed directly to my accident.
Whatever the reason, I still crashed into the escort saloon van parked on the left of the road.
The tip of my left foot, so safely enclosed in leather bike boots, hit the rear right corner of the car's bumper. The impact shocked me to the core as my leg went numb and I lost control of the motorcycle.
I kept it upright for about 10 yards, falling to the side as the bike travelled on for a few feet in front of me. I don't really remember hitting the ground, although I was lucid enough to realise that I was badly hurt.
The sound of my bike hitting the tarmac brought several people out from their houses to help. At this point my being was comprised of several key elements: The overwhelming desire to rip my crash helmet off, the total mind numbing cold I was feeling and perhaps the worst of all, my leg. My left leg seemed to be completely relaxed, with my left foot laying flat against the ground even though I was lying on my stomach. I tried to move the foot and was greeted with something I had thankfully known little of up to that point: Pain.
Horrible bone grinding flesh tearing blood dripping pain. Beyond the boys slapping my sunburn, or shoving my hand though a glass door. Excrutiatingly awful pain. So much that all you know is pain, you exist just to feel it. I was pain.
The Ambulance arrived in due course. I was in shock at this point; I didn't care about the paramedics cutting my now blood soaked jeans from my legs, not caring that my last piece of unruined clothing was gone. I couldn't breathe in enough to make the gas work, little fast shallow breaths that made my thin body look like a frightened animal's. Apparently one paramedic pushed a thick needle full of some sort of local anaesthetic into my leg, but I didn't even feel it.
The Hospital. Cold grey stone slabs and a rusty metal beds with a mattress apparently made of ice. Asking me what blood type I was.
Telling me to stop screaming.
My father arrives, and a doctor starts an ultrasound scan of my leg. Not a baby scanner, just some weird buzzing thing with a light that goes on and off in random sequences. I'm told from a distance that I can keep my leg as there is still blood flow into my left foot. I have a compound fracture of my left tibia and fibula, a couple of inches above the ankle. The doctor ponders how my left knee and ankle didn't shatter.
No one is listening to me. No one wants to give me a big injection to stop the pain.
My Dad asks for my Mum's phone number. I give him my Mum's current boyfriend's number, knowing that I will be shouted at later for such a blatant transgression of the Post Marriage Parental Secrecy Code. Dad leaves to find a telephone. He didn't hug me. I don't remember him ever cuddling me.
An X-Ray. The nurse taking me into the radiology department chats to the doctor there. A question is asked "Are you pregnant?" I know I've got some long hair, I'm thin and androgynous, so I answer "No" without even getting upset. The doctor and nurse smile at me and take the pictures. I see one of them, my left leg 4 inches shorter than it should be, the top (or was it the bottom) two broken bones driving into the flesh, the other two ends poking out from my leg.
Blood arrives, so it's time for a drip. I'm in shock. Deep shock where everything is happening elsewhere and time moves like frogs hopping through gelatine. Slow and Fast, jerky and smooth in all combinations. Shock means that blood doesn't flow to the extremities, so it takes about 6 prods in different places by 3 different doctors before the drip is in.
Blood is hooked up, so are other things.