Sunday, 2 December 2012

The calm after the storm


Since leaving hospital nearly every day was packed with appointments and check ups.
I had to go to physiotherapy for fittings, for hospital check ups on the progress of my healing. for further operations, then more physiotherapy.
Then there were the phone calls, none stop from Solicitors wanting things, and to do home visits, Occupational health doing welfare updates, and the police updating me on the court case.

It's now been 6 months since i left hospital, and everything has stopped.
On Mondays I just have a physiotherapy case worker coming out to the house for catch up, who has referred me to an exercise club called PALs, so soon her visits will stop.
On Thursdays i have a half hour session with a physiotherapist on my wrists to ease the Carpel Tunnel, and that's it.  i get the odd phone call from the Occupational health for an update but i don't have any more appointments. Just odd ones when i need my leg re-fitting if anything is wrong.

You would think i would be glad to have a bit of peace and quiet, but I'm not.
I miss the attention, and the goals to set, and break. I miss impressing people and encouraging others. Apart from this blog that was my therapy as well, and now i feel lost.

My mood has dropped, and i miss being around 'people like me'.
I don't like taking drugs to cover up a problem but i thought i would try Amitriptyline for a bit (it's a drug for depression). I've also asked my Occupational health worker to sign me up to a loca physiatrist to see if that can help. But as i have said before this is my therapy and i feel that talking to some stranger about my childhood won't change anything.
I have also asked to be signed up to an outdoor rehab group, but that's not going to happen until summer next year. So i have to try and find something else to keep my mind active until then.

Because everything is so quiet now for the first time since my accident i now have time to sit and think, and i don't like that at all. Like i have explained in previous posts, i don't have nightmares because i remember everything in vivid detail, and when i sit and think my mind plays over different parts of that day and my mood drops to the floor. I can't stay on drugs for the rest of my life, and i have to learn how to deal with whats in my head, perhaps the Physiatrist can help, i will let you know.    

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The long road to walking


Hi all

Sorry i haven't posted for a while i have been waiting for my leg to be adjusted again. You will find that it needs tweaking all the time.

My leg
The bucket part might need re-shaping and the leg part might need lengthening or shortening. In my case it needed shortening because when i tried to walk normally i was dragging my toe on the carpet and had to hitch my hip to walk, this started to cause back pain. If you feel any discomfort report it to your prosthatist.

I have had the leg on now for a week, and in that time i have fallen twice. You will fall there's nothing to be embarrassed about, your learning to walk again and at the moment your walking with basically a stiff leg, that doesn't have a tilting ankle so going up hill and down hill you will find you are walking on your heel to stop you tipping forward.
But i have been told i can't have the flexible ankle until i have learnt to use this basic leg. That's very frustrating but you have to build up your muscles again to learn to take the weight. You will get back ache, and muscle ache but its just like going to the gym. That first week is a killer but after that you find you can do more and more. I have managed to walk 100 yards to my post box and back. That was a great achievement and even though i walked at granny speed i got there. Just do a little bit each day and keep practising your new way of walking.

The only thing i find annoying at the moment is the lip that my bum has to sit on to stop me sinking into the bucket part of the leg.
This is fine when you are standing up, but when you sit down you will need to have a big fluffy pillow as its like sitting on a brick.
My prosthatist has assured me that this will be thinned down with time and slowly i won't need the straps around my stomach. So its a a case of gritting my teeth and getting on with it.

Below is a film of me walking for the 1st time with crutches, i am now walking with 2 sticks.


Thursday, 27 September 2012

If you need to talk?


If you have questions you don't want to post on here, or you just need to talk to someone who knows what you are going through and will try to support you the best i can my details are:

Keep smiling

Suzi x



I have posted these photos to answer questions that other amputees have asked, and i want to help as much as i can.

Many people have asked me, what does your injury look like? Is it like mine? How long will it take to heal? Do you have any bones sticking out? Does it hurt? When will i be able to walk again?

Top of left thigh

This is a picture of the top of my left thigh, it has had a skin graft over bare muscle. as you can see i am missing the layer of fat and layers of skin you may still have. I also don't have any pores/ hair so when i get hot my leg just feels warm.
It's been 5 months since my accident and believe it or not this has greatly improved. The skin colour is slowly going to more pale pink were as before it looked like a beef burger. It is still sensitive a bit like if someone strokes the underside of your foot, but not painful. Those lines you can see are veins under the skin, that's how thin the skin is but it will thicken with time and fade. Also the skin on the left top is still swollen and i have very poor sensation in it which again will go down in time. (E45 is a god send use it day and night it makes your skin nice and flat)

To answer your question:.
1) how long will it take to heal? 
 Well my legs not going to grow back, but the scaring will fade. I have a scold on my chest with a skin graft which happened when i was 1 year old I'm now 33 and it is nearly flat and fading, just looks like a rash in hot weather. So 5 to 10 years to really start to fade.

2) do you have bones sticking out? 
When they took off my knee they had to saw down the thigh bone so that my muscle could be folded over to cover my bone. So on the top at the right end edge of my bone is close to the surface and feels like your elbow under your skin. except mine is under a thin layer of muscle. Unfortunately when i put on my prosthesis it can rub and sometime make a crunching feeling. i guess this will settle down with time.

3) When will i be able to walk again?
My accident was 5 months ago since then i have gone from a PAM aid to a starter prosthetic leg. It still needs tweaking and rubs in private areas but i am able to walk (with sticks) only short distances. But i will build this up and once the prosthetic is comfortable i will be able to do a lot more. If you still have your knee and you haven't had any complications with surgery then i have seen people get there prosthetic and they are walking without sticks within 3 months!. So it's all down to you really.

You've got to laugh


I went in for a small operation at Leeds General to have the bone in my fourth toe removed because it was loose and trying to work it's way out.
I also i have had a small spot on the side of my stump that wont stop bleeding/ oozing so i asked them to look at that whilst i was there. The theory was it was one of my deep stitches trying to work it's way out and the surgeon was just going to cortisone it.
Well the local anaesthetic injections hurt and it felt so weird having them pull and chip away at my bone with out feeling any pain.

Then they had a look at my side, they had an X-ray of my thigh on the light box next to me and i noticed little white blobs and a big white blob next to my bone and asked what they were.
The surgeon said they were road debris and assured me that when they removed and tidied up my leg after my accident great care was taken to remove all those bits including the big one to stop infection.
So he injected my side and then began to cut in, then after a while he said 'well it's not a stitch but there is definitely something there'.....then he pull out a large stone!
He said straight away 'i am so sorry, i am medically embarrassed i was so sure we looked all over your leg before putting on the skin graft i don't know how we could have missed this'!'
I was just so glad to have it out of me, and that explained why the spot wouldn't stop oozing because the rock under it was trying to slowly come to the surface!
So I'm now at home with stitches in my side and my toe and told to rest and not weight bare, so no practising on my leg for a while.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

not all days are good days

I hope so far my posts have been informative and even though i seem like everything is fine just like you i will have bad days.

These usually come after a nice dream about running and jumping and i wake up and pull back the blanket to go to the toilet and realise I'm missing my leg  or on a sunny day when i cant just pick up my dogs lead and take them for a nice long walk in the hills.

Its perfectly normal to cry, your life has now dramatically changed. I would talk to someone, anyone. A friend, or a professional. Personally i don't like talking to psychiatrists Ive found all they can do with their degrees is stare at you and ask you how you feel. But they cant possibly understand what Ive gone through, i would have felt more comfortable if they had lost a limb. But whoever it is you choose to talk to is fine, never bottle it up.

Also never think your alone, you have me for a start and when i can finally walk again i will be up that mountain with your support.
There are also disabled outdoor activity groups so you can hang around with someone who you know understands what you are going though or have gone through.

I am a very impatient person and want everything yesterday, that's why even when i have finally got to the point where i have my starter limb I'm upset because i cant walk with out using the bars for support. but just like with the P.A.M aid i will get down to two sticks its just going to take time. I have to keep reminding myself it has only been 4 months since my accident and i have only been out of hospital for 3 of them, my leg is still very tender and bleeds in places and my right foot still hurts so i do need to start listening to professionals and slow down, but when you have the chance to walk again waved in front of you its hard not to run at that goal!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

My Left Leg!!


I went for another prosthetic fitting today having everything crossed that it would fit this time.
This was the second time I had gone, and you may have to go for more it's best to get the fitting right you don’t want it to rub.

They decided rather than shrinking and cutting down the plastic liner to fit my cone shaped leg. They would build it up with rubber gloves to make it square shaped (like a stump should be if I had skin on it.)

It felt like pulling on a wet suit but was not uncomfortable. Then he brought out my leg!
It had my trainer on the end and was just the bare metal parts. It also has a strap that goes around your waist to hold it on.

Be warned ladies and gents if you are an above the knee amputee the plastic cup your thigh sits into comes all the way up to your groin. They do bend it outwards and put soft rubber around the lip but it’s still right up in there when you walk.

So he showed me how to strap myself in and I stood up for the first time in 3 months it was ace. I then took a step and couldn’t believe how heavy it was, and as my prosthetic had a loose knee it flicked out when I stepped forward, which looked really weird.
After some more adjustments he then went away and put the cosmesis over it. (the foam skin.) This adds more weight to the leg, and do not get it wet as like a sponge you will be dragging even more weight around.

I was really excited and wanted to wear it home, but wasn't allowed I had to take it home and then take it with me to my next physiotherapy session, where I will learn to walk on it.
Of course when I got home I put it on and stood up in it, and when my mum saw me she burst into tears, bless.

I have been told that at the end of the physio once you get used to the weight of the limb you are then referred back to the prosthetics unit, and they will give me another leg more suited to my day to day activities, i.e. walking, cycling etc. This one will be waterproof, but I have felt that covering and boy is that heavy!!

Also when you get this first leg you will find that when you sit down the leg sticks out and you have to physically push it under you. This is because of the foam; I have been told the trick with this is to store the leg in a bent position to get a crease in the foam.
Also when sitting down the top of the leg (the cup) does dig into the underside of your bum,  this unfortunately you will have to get used to.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Just another hurdle to get over

Since my accident I have been using my hands a lot, they bare my weight on my crutches, and they help me get around on my wheelchair. But if I have been using them a lot during the night they start to go numb to the point where it becomes very painful.

I had tests done at the nerve clinic; there was a strange doctor there who looked after the electric shock machine. He put metal loops around my fingers and then held them in place as he shocked me. Of course I was twinging all over the place and he said 'don't worry soon it will become pleasurable.'
I just looked at him and couldn’t get the picture out of my head of what he would get up to with his little hooks and clips on a night. I was glad to get out of there.

Unfortunately I was diagnosed with moderate to severe Carpel tunnel Syndrome.
This is where the carpel nerve gets trapped in the wrist, causing numbness and pain.
The only way to relive this is surgery.
Both are done on local anaesthetic, and can either be open surgery. (they make a slice from the bottom of your hand, to the middle of the wrist.) Or key hole surgery, I would prefer keyhole, as I didn’t want my favourite tattoo destroyed.

Another problem is recovery time, this can be up to a month and in the mean time your hand/wrist is wrapped up in a sling. This is not good news for someone who relies heavily on their hands.

There was no way I was going to be reduced to one arm and one leg, so I have decided to be put on the waiting list until I have finished my physio and get my leg, that’s more important. 

suzie's angels


I finally got to meet Alison and Natasha today, the two ladies who stopped and helped me.
All I remember of them was Alison's big bushy hair, but both of their faces were a blur.
It was so nice to see them and to show them that I was okay. They gave me some beautiful lilies, and we sat and talked through what happened that day.
I hadn't realised how other people would be affected by my accident because I am dealing with it so well.
As I have said I remember everything clearly, and I think because of this I don't have flash backs or nightmares.

But Alison told me when she saw me it was like something out of a horror film, and to this day if she sees a cyclist she is nearly causing accidents trying to stay away from them and always looks at their ankles.

Natasha was also amazed at how no one else stopped. They noticed one man a few cars back that got out of his car and looked like he was going to help but just watched.

Whilst they were explaining how my accident was still affecting them my mum said that she still gets anxiety going down Manchester road, because the first time she went down it she saw the police tape still in place and markings on the road where I would have landed, and of course this upset her. This was the first time I had heard this story and when I asked why she hadn't told me this before she said she didn't want to worry me.

I don't know if I have been selfish thinking if I’m dealing with it, everyone else should be okay because I’m the one who had the accident. But now I know they are acting normally to an horrific situation. I guess I’m strange in that case, that I can just put this behind me so quickly and look to the future.

Anyway my angels stopped for me that day and even though they saw blood and horror, one held my hand whilst the other called for help and I will be forever grateful. I hope seeing how well I am getting on eases their anxiety.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Nose to the grind stone

I wanted to get my life back to as normal as possible, and this meant returning to work.
I returned on Wednesday 8th August, 3 months after having my accident.

As I work for a patient transport company it wasn’t a problem being collected and taken in.
There was a buzz of people around me, and my first day back mainly consisted of telling my story for the hundredth time, and reassuring people that I was okay and doing fine.

Even though I had been given shorter hours it was still mentally exhausting and I soon began to get tired.

I have been very fortunate working for Bradford Council in that they have been very accommodating with my adjustments. Even going as far as building me a ramp to get into the office, and fitting bars and an emergency cord in the toilets. I tried to keep the mood light and stated that the only time I would pull that would be if I ran out of toilet roll!

You do find that people will stare; you probably did when you were able bodied. It’s just a natural curious human reaction. They want to ask 'how did that happen.' but daren't, however get used to small children asking you all sorts of questions.
My 1st day back from work

Prosthetic Fitting Part 1

I was asked to go to Seacroft Centre to have my first fitting of my prosthetic leg because I had gone as far as I could with the P.A.M aid and I was really excited.
You have your measurements two weeks before then you are asked to go for a fitting.

I arrived at 9am and was told to bring my other shoe. The prosthatist then brought out my leg.
I don’t have a picture yet but when I do I will post it.

It looked so strange my whole leg with a shoe on the end in a plastic bag. He gave it to me to feel the weight of it, and I couldn’t believe how heavy it was.
Apparently it weighs just under a stone! But if you were able to weigh your own leg it would be heavy, you have just grown up with the weight as it’s grown. So to have it missing for 2 months, then have it given back to you was really strange.

I was able to stand up in it but couldn’t walk, as the fitting wasn’t correct. Because of my injuries all I have is a lump of muscle covered with skin, and then a layer of bandages, which ends up being cone shaped.  So when I put the prosthetic on my 'stump' slid into it and the end was touching the bottom, which it shouldn’t. You should never have to bare any weight on the end of your stump. If you find this is happening the fitting is wrong.

Also I realised the top of the prosthetic went right up to the top of my inside leg, and when I took a step the plastic, even though it was padded banged against my pubic bone.

The prosthatist was very thorough, and wanted to take it off and tweak it to get it right, this meant taking it away and re-moulding it whilst I was there. 4 hours later and it still wasn’t right, I was very disappointed, as I wanted my leg now I had seen it. But I also knew because of the shape of my leg it wouldn’t be right first time and probably will need lots of tweaking before its was correct. My next fitting was due in 2 weeks time, in the mean time it was back on the P.A.M aid.

The P.A.M Aid (Rubber leg)

After living for a few weeks without a leg, and slowly building up my strength in my right leg I was given the P.A.M Aid leg to practise on.

This is basically an inflatable leg, your stump, thigh or residual limb as the experts like to call it sits inside. Its then pumped up around you and a strap goes over your shoulder taking most of the weight.
Not me, borrowed photo

It takes a few goes to get used to, the trick is not to lean on it. Its not a leg and will burst. You need to do a kind of hop walk whilst putting most of your weight through your hands on the bars.

This does make your arms ache, but your strength will build up.

My mum was allowed to come and see me walk up and down, and at first I had my back to her and when I turned she was crying holding her mouth. Bless.

It does feel good to be upright again and to have two legs (technically) Then when you have mastered walking up and down the bars, you then walk out side the bars with one quad stick, then on two quad sticks.
By then you will have mastered distributing your weight as you walk.

Don’t rush that’s the key just do what I did chant in your head. 'Left stick, right stick, foot, foot, left stick, right stick, foot, foot.' Then after a couple of weeks you will be swinging the sticks and your fake leg out together and striding through with your good leg with out even thinking about it.

The Orange Man Part 2

I had been out of hospital a month when the Telegraph & Argos wanted to do a catch up story with me and Martin Copley. They met me at my house (which I missed) and took some photos. We were both embarrassed and glad when it was over but it was nice to see him again.

The following is the clip from the T&A the description of my injuries is wrong but hey ho I'm     here anyway :)

‘He is my hero’, says young woman who cheated death thanks to former soldier

A woman who cheated death in an accident with a lorry has hailed as her hero a roadworker whose military training saved her life.
Doctors told 33-year-old Suzie Unsworth she should have died from shock and blood loss at the scene in Manchester Road, Bradford, due to the severity of her injuries.
Her left leg was so badly crushed it later had to be amputated (Leg torn off at scene) and her right foot was so mangled that the bones were embedded in her other foot ( i didnt have another foot for my bones to me mangled in to, silly).
By chance 45-year-old Martin Copley, who served as a soldier during the Northern Ireland troubles, was working on the construction of a bridge nearby when Miss Unsworth, who was cycling to work, ended up under the wheels of an articulated lorry in April this year.

She said: “I was lying there still with my rucksack on when I just saw this man in orange. He jumped over road barriers and dived across me. He told me not to touch my leg, my hand was right through it, there wasn’t anything there. He told me to hold on to him instead, to look at his face and scream as much as I wanted to.”
She added: “He is my hero. It was only luck that he was there at the time and had his military trauma training. Doctors told me I would have died then and there if it hadn’t been for him. I only had a ten per cent survival chance but he kept me focussed.
Only five weeks after the collision and being airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary, Miss Unsworth, dubbed a ‘miracle lass’ by surgeons, was out of hospital, amazing her medical team with her positive attitude and sheer determination to get on the mend.
“They told me at first to expect to be in hospital for at least six months but it was only five weeks. I got in a wheelchair, helped do things for other patients on the high dependency ward, made my own bed then got them to show me how to change my own dressings – so they had to let me out,” she said.
Twelve weeks on she has been fitted for a prosthetic leg and plans to be back at work with Bradford Council’s Patients Transport Service next month.
Of Mr Copley she said: “We managed to track Martin down and he came to see me in hospital. We just hugged and hugged and cried. He’s the loveliest man ever.”
The Telegraph & Argus has again reunited Mr Copley with Miss Unsworth at her home in Wyke .
Recalling the incident, he said: “I remember seeing traffic backed up on the day and something like a high-vis vest lying there.
“I just shot off up the road and saw Suzie. I’ve seen terrible bomb blast injuries and shrapnel wounds in Northern Ireland but nothing like that day. I will never know how she survived it. I’m full of admiration for her – she fought for her life and won.
“It’s her who’s a hero – not me.”
Two other women also stopped to help at the scene while Mr Copley’s workmates helped slow traffic until the emergency services arrived.
“I am meant to be here on earth. I feel very strongly there is a purpose for me still being here,” said Miss Unsworth, who has now challenged herself to climb Ben Nevis for charity.

Me & Martin

Home Sweet Home?

All my things had been moved to my parent’s house whilst I was in hospital, including my two dogs and two 3ft fish tanks. It was strange being back in my old room after being away from home for over 6 years, and as you could imagine there were a few tense moments as I settled in. But the fuss I got from my dogs when I got home was worth the wait.

I am so independent and did everything myself including DIY, walking my dogs in a morning and evening, climbing and camping. Now I was sat in my room watching my mum get pulled down the road by my dogs.

I was so weak that I couldn't hop up the stairs to bed, and had to go up on my bum, and then get someone to help me on to my feet at the top.
I also have a commode, or porta loo as I like to call it, and a zimmer frame. You associate those kinds of things with old people, and part of you feels ashamed at having to be forced to use these devices but you have to. In the middle of the night that porta loo is really handy, and its bad for your leg to stay sat down all the time, so using the zimmer is good for building up strength in your other leg and stretching as well.

From the moment I was discharged I had out patient appointments everyday, then physiotherapy every Monday and Thursday. It took a while for my sleep patterns to sort themselves out as I was so used to being woken late at night for meds and early in the morning for blood pressure tests. Then I had to set my alarm for appointments, and give time to put on my dressings.

You will find that everything is twice as hard and frustratingly longer to do. Something’s you will not be able to do at all. Like walk into a shop and pick up an item and take it to the till. (Your hands will be occupied with your crutches). But in the end you will be able to do this.

I have a wheelchair, which has changed to a smaller model (still an NHS special) and you will find you scrap door frames, couches and ankles. I found taking off the foot pads at the front help. Also get yourself a pair of padded gloves, they are good for physio and pushing your wheelchair. And don’t do what I did and think you can wheel yourself up to the shops, unless you have bionic arms you will only strain them and get exhausted half way.

The meds will make you feel constantly tired, I do but I carry on. 'Never Give Up'


No matter how had things get  Never Give Up!

Meeting the 'Orange Man' & Breaking out

During my recovery i had asked my mum to find 'the orange man' because that was all could remember of the work man who stood over me and kept me focused on him.
At first my mum thought it was the drugs talking, but as the days passed i was able to give more details.
Soon there was a man hunt for him, involving Bradford Council, my family and work colleagues, and eventually they found him.
Then the day was set for him to come and see me on the ward. I was so nervous and had in my head what i was going to say. I was going to tell him thank you for saving my life, and being there for me.
But as soon as i saw him come on to the ward and i saw his face, and he saw me i just burst into tears and so did he and we hugged. We talked for over an hour and Martin Copley turned out to be a lovely, caring and modest man who happened to have been a ex soldier, who knew how to deal with trauma.
What were the odds of someone like that being there, there was definitely someone looking out for me.

As the days went by in the high dependency unit, the nurses noticed that i was becoming less reliant on them, making my own bed, and doing my own dressings. I was still very tired as i wasn't able to get much sleep as the other patients, who were often old ladies who had broken something, arrived from nursing homes with dementia, and would scream in the night for a nurse, or shout 'where am i, where am i.' 'Help me, help me.'
It really was like living in an asylum.

So when the nurse came round with her clip board saying to each bed, dependant, dependant, then got to my clean made bed with a my clean dressings. She said 'okay, you are now independent i will inform the doctors.' I was so happy and couldn't wait and packed my bags.

The doctors came round signing me off different things' and the nurses sorted me out with medication and the wrappings i would need. Then as i was finishing my lunch a doctor came to see me and said.
'i'm glad i caught you before you were discharged, i just wanted to meet this miracle girl they are all talking about.' i said i wasn't a miracle, and he said 'ho, yes you are lets start with your leg. If some one is a straight up amputee, the nerves and veins are severed and there is a risk of high blood loss, and so you are given a 50% survival rate. In your case you had a de-glove where the nerves and veins were stretched and torn over a distance, that sort of trauma put you in the 10% survival rate.'
At this point my folk had stopped half way to my mouth. 'Then the other miracle is your foot, in your toes are even smaller veins and nerves and these were badly crushed you should have lost those last three toes but you didn't, you truly are a miracle.'  I put my folk down and blushed and all i could say was thanks I'm just glad to be alive.
They told my parents i should have been in hospital for 6 months, then reduced it to 3 months, i was out in 5 weeks.

My first day back at my parents

Monday, 13 August 2012

Getting Out and About

As my strength grew I became more determined to do things myself. I would shuffle around the bed on my elbows, doing the physiotherapy I had been taught to do in bed.

But still i was in a warm, stuffy bed, and the windows wouldn't open fully for safety. So i could only watch from my bed as nurses stuck their hands out complaining of the heat.

Then i got my wheelchair, My skin still felt like it was sun burnt but i was determined to get in that chair and wheel myself to the toilet. It was painfull and slow going but i did it, no more bed pans!

As the days passed and more friends visited i convinced each one to come with me to Ben Nevis next year.
I wasn't frightened that i had lost my leg because of the brilliant prosthetics i knew was out there and could wait to get well enough to use one.

Then when my parents came next i asked them to taken me outside, that blast of fresh air when the outside doors opened was wonderful, and just to sit there feeling the sun on my face made all little petty things in the world pale in to insignificance. I sat there as long as i could just feeling the sun, and sighing and every day after that i would wheel myself down the ward and out side.

Physiotherapy kept making their rounds and tried getting me to stand on my foot, trying to slowly build up the muscle. I was told i could loose the last three toes as they were badly damaged and black, and physio didn't want me baring weight on them.
But stubborn as i am i kept rubbing them, working life back into them, and then i had a cast made so that i could bare weight. Once i was able to stand i kept practising everyday, and then one day i saw a zimmer frame in the bed bay next to me and used that to stand up with.

I then began hopping up and down the ward and told the nurses who saw me not to tell physio. He soon found out though but was amazed at how fast i was progressing.

Then the day my parents were due I phoned my mum and told her to wait at the end of the corridor as i had a surprise for her. I then got on the zimmer and hopped to her, she burst out crying.

Suzie in Wonderland Part 2

My parents came to see me everyday, all the way from Huddersfield on the bus/train. My work had done a collection and raised over £300 pounds!!.

Also the weekend before my accident i had just done an absail for the Lord Mayors Appeal and that week i received a letter and a bunch of flowers from her, i was well chuffed and showed them off.

Me, My Sister & Frank
I was also amazed by how many cards and well wishes i got, some from complete strangers. Cyclists who i had just passed on a morning, or evening and said hello to, had some how found out my name and wished me well. I was over come with a feeling of love, and this made me more determined than ever to get better.
In June i was suppose to do a climb with friends to Ben Nevis in Scotland. I had already done the 3 yorkshire peaks for charity, and had climbed Snowden. But then i had my accident, i kept telling everyone no matter what this time next year i will be at the top of Ben Nevis. I was just so glad to be alive.

Because i missed my dogs, my parents baught me a toy dog to watch over me which i named Frank. I was also starting to eat real food again.

Then I had another operation on my leg, I was under anaesthetic for quite a while so my paranoia trip really went wild from the moment I woke up.
Apparently as I came around I accused the nurses and doctors present of being devil worshipers and Satanists. I was convinced they had put me in a van and taken my unconscious body out into some woods and done unspeakable things to me.
I had really bad stomach cramps and wanted to go to the toilet, and as they wheeled me in and left me alone I could hear them arranging another gathering, and talking about 'how much fun they had, had with this one' and 'which one they were going to pick next'. It was at this point that I was so frightened I stood up to run and realised I didn’t have a left leg and no muscle in my right and fell to the floor.
The nurses came rushing in to help me, but all the way to the ward I was convinced I could hear them whispering, 'do you think she remembers what happened, you will have to keep an eye on her'.
I even rang my mum; this was 9pm and told her if she didn’t get over there straight away I was going to call the police. She of course told me I was hallucinating and to wait until tomorrow, but in the mean time stick my fingers in my ears and close my eyes.
I did this and only opened them once during the night when a light came on in a bed across from me, as a male African nurse was giving a patient her meds. (That’s what happened in the real world) what I saw was the nurse come in pull the curtain round the patient and begin putting candles and voodoo stuff around her bed and begin chanting. At this point I think my sanity kicked in and I stuck my fingers in my ears once more. In the morning I had a lot of apologising to do.

Post from Telegraph & Argos

Below is a clipping from the Telegraph & Argos, my mum set this up to cheer me up, it did.

Courageous bike crash victim ‘an inspiration’


The parents of a cyclist who lost her leg in a horror smash have spoken with pride of their “gutsy” daughter who has vowed to climb Ben Nevis for charity next year.
Catherine and Eddie Unsworth have put their 33-year-old daughter’s survival down to her sheer determination not to give up on life.
And they have thanked passers-by who were first on the scene of the collision, as well as police and paramedics who all “kept her hanging on.”
Suzie Unsworth had been cycling to work along Manchester Road, Bradford, at about 8.30am on Monday, April 30, when she was involved in a collision with an articulated lorry, ending up under its front wheels, and had to be airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary.
“There were two women in a car and a road worker who got to her first, holding her hand and talking to her. They kept her hanging on,” said Mrs Unsworth, 56.
Me hooked up
Workmates at Bradford Council’s Patients Transport Service in Shearbridge Road were so worried when she failed to turn up for work they arrived at her home in Wyke just as police walked up her path to try and contact family.
“She was always on the dot like clockwork, so when she didn’t appear they just knew something wasn’t right.
“They were able to give police our details and that got us to hospital just in time to see her before she went for surgery. She couldn’t speak, but when the surgeon told her she might lose her leg she mouthed to ask if everything else was okay and when he said yes, she gave him the thumbs up and she’s been fighting ever since,” said her mother.
“She likes to think she’s 5ft 2, but she’s nearer to 4ft 11. She’s just tiny, but she has masses of courage. She’s a gutsy girl and we are so proud of her. Everyone says she is an inspiration.”
Miss Unsworth has had four operations, including skin grafts, and had surgery on her crushed right foot, with surgeons managing to save her toes.
“She wasn’t going to lose them. She kept wiggling them for the surgeon to see, even when she was going under the anaesthetic. She is in good hands, her surgeon is a marvel,” said Mrs Unsworth. “She’s got a long recovery ahead of her, but she’ll do it. She’ll get a prosthetic and when she comes out of hospital she’ll still be the same little person, but just with a plastic leg. She won’t let it stop her from living her life to the full.”
Miss Unsworth, who has raised thousands of pounds for charities, was due to climb Ben Nevis, in Scotland, in June, but has now vowed to do it next year. “She’s so positive, so focused. It’s a miracle she’s alive, she’s our little miracle and we can’t thank enough everyone who made that happen.
“They are all our heroes,” said Mrs Unsworth.  

Morphine my friend & Baptisum of Fire

As the days passed and I became more lucid then the pain came with it.
I had, had layers of skin taken from all around the top of my right thigh and under my right butt cheek, also from around the very top of my left thigh and butt cheek, and stitched on to what was left of my left thigh muscle.

Evey movement felt like I was cracking raw sunburn, and the throbbing pain from my thigh and right foot kept me awake most nights. They filled me with as much drugs as possible during the day but the nights were the worst.

When you woke up, because everything had worn off, and you squeezed that alarm button hoping someone would come soon. These where the days when i was at my lowest.
I was bandaged from the waste down, and so weak. My once strong frame was reduced down to look like someone who had been battling anorexia. I was told that this was the bodies natural way of surviving once the fat had gone it started to use my muscles as energy.

All i could do was lay there on a morphine drip, being forced to use a bed pan. (which i might add your body natural wont go whilst you are layed down in bed, it had been taught not to for 33 years, also when you do finally pee it splatters up wetting the sheets, so you are left with urine smelling sheets. Or worse you have to do a number two and there was no way I could hover with one leg in bed so you end up sitting on it as you are doing it, i can tell you i was not a happy bunny.)

The worst part was the healing of my skin graphs, both legs would leak fluid through the wrappings in bed, and if left for more than one day would stink. I would cry a lot due to the pain and lack of sleep and just generally feeling unclean. Even though i would give credit to the nurses and cleaning staff. They did make sure we washed everyday, and changed our bedding everyday. It was just the weekend where it was like a ghost ship.

Then one day i was wheeled down to the dressings clinic, and was asked by the doctor as this was a teaching hospital if i didn't mind having some students in to see the wrappings done. I said yes, figuring they would have to see this at some point in their career.

So i was layed on the bed, with three very nervous students stood next to me and the doctor slowly unravelled my leg. This was the first time i had seen it and i think i did very well to keep the look of horror and shock off my face. It was dark black and purple and looked and smelled like a piece of rotten meat. I turned my attention to the students who were looking and then suddenly had great interest in the floor. So i smiled and asked them if they had any questions and said it was okay to have a look. They asked the usual stuff like 'does it hurt'. 'how did it happen' etc.

Then the doctor cleaned it up and put the wrappings back on, and thanked me for being so open and honest with the students and wheeled me back into the ward. Where i was greeted by more doctors and physio after that and a psychiatrist and an occupational therapist and a foot specialist and a drugs specialist and on and on, so i didn't have time to react just answered questions followed orders, boom, boom ,boom. then night time, no sleep and it starts all over again the next day.

Suzi in wonderland

What i am about to tell you is bits of information from various loving people who were around me during my first week in Leeds Royal Infirmary.

My parents and sister were collected by the police from their places of work, and were only given the vague information that 'your daughter has been involved in a serous road accident'. 'no, I'm sorry i cant tell you more'. My sister to this day now hates the sounds of police sirens.

They got to me as i was being wheeled down the corridor all wrapped up, my mother told me i had mouthed 'is it just my leg?' she had nodded and i had raised my hands to give a thumbs up, then gone unconscious.

During my first two days i was put on a life support machine whilst they performed surgery on my left leg and right foot. I was told later that they had tried to save my knee about my vitals kept dropping, so instead the surgeon took off the knee bone and filed down my thigh bone, then folded over my thigh muscle to protected the bone.

Whilst on life support it was the first time i had heard my father cry, and at one point my sister and mother were discussing my achievements in walking and climbing and what i was going to do next when i opened my eyes, and tried to take the tube out of my mouth. The nurses came rushing in and knocked me back out explaining to my mother that i wasn't ready yet to come round. 

Me as a fighter

The rest of that first week was a blur, but i do remember a surgeon asking me where i wanted my skin grafts taken from. hazily i told him nothing below the knee as i still wanted to wear skirts, and not show scars. I already had a now faded scold covering my chest from burns as a baby.

After my operation i was wheeled back onto the high dependency ward. That's when the hallucinations began. (apparently i am one of the 10% of the population that is allergic to the drugs they use to knock you out.) 
I was laid in bed all dopey when i noticed the old lady in the bed who was across to my right had gaming dice on her desk. I didn't think nothing of that until the nurses went through a glass door on my right to a patient in a room next to me in their uniform and began getting changed into role play clothes. i.e. fancy dress, warriors, wizards etc. yes i know it sounds insane now but bare with me.

I thought isn't that nice the lady is so upset next door they are dressing up for her to cheer her up, and i managed to get the attention of one of the nurses and said 'that's nice of you, doing role pay for her.' the nurse looked at me odd and said 'what are you talking about, go back to sleep.' I just thought right it's a secret don't want to get anyone in to trouble in fell asleep.

The day my life changed forever

It was a normal Monday morning, I had just finished my usual routine of walking my dogs, then getting dressed for my bike ride to work. As I pushed my cycle out of my driveway I said my 'good morning' to my neighbour, popped my head phones on and began listening to Terry Pratchett's Discworld book.
The morning was clear and not too cold, and I was quiet relaxed cycling down Manchester Road in Bradford.  It was only this year that i had picked up the nerve to drive on the road as i had found traffic always came a bit too close for comfort. But i stuck to the cycle lanes and if the road looked a bit too busy i always nipped onto the pavement.

As i was concentrating on the road ahead i didn't pay much attention to the traffic at the side of me. I carried on cycling when i heared a clicking sound, like the sound your cycle makes if you put a playing card under the tyre as a kid to make it sound like it had an engine.

The sound started to get more repetitive so i looked to my right and my vision was filled with a wall of white. (the side of the arctic truck) It was inches from my face.

What happened next took only seconds, there was a blur, i felt myself flung backwards. There was a sensation like a tight ring was wrapped around the top of my left leg and travelled quickly down to my ankle.
Then i hit the floor on my back. I was still wearing my yellow high vis ruck sack with my lunch box and other bits in and landed with my back arched.

(Just a warning what i am about to describe is really graphic) As i lay there i knew something was wrong with my left leg, and i went to grab it with my left hand, and my hand went right through my thigh bone and came out the other side. My Lycra legging had been ripped off and all i could see from the top of my thigh to my knee was a red bloody mess. Then with horror i saw from my knee down there wasn't anything just a flob of tissue that hung down like a rag. That's when the pain rushed in, and all i could do was tilt my head back and scream. Breath in and scream, breath in and scream.

Then there was movement, from my right two ladies, Alison McAuliffe and Natasha Copeman had stopped their car. Even though what they had seen must have been horrific Natasha told me to hold her hand whilst Alison called an ambulance. All the while all i could do was breath in and scream out.
Next to my left came a work man in an orange suit. He knelt over me and told me to 'let go of your leg sweet heart and hold on to me, you scream as much as you want, just hold on to me.'

All i wanted was the pain to stop and managed to say between screams 'knock me out, please knock me out!' I couldn't understand why i hadn't blacked out. The workman kept saying 'your going to be all right, the ambulance is coming, i cant knock you out sweet heart, you are being very brave.'

What seemed like hours was only minutes when i could hear the sirens of the ambulance behind me. Then i was suddenly surrounded by medics. The work man began to stand up and i managed to say 'dont leave me'.  it was then that i noticed my hands were covered in blood and had stained his orange jacket leaving bloody hand prints. He said  'i have to stand back so these people can do their job, but i wont leave you I'm right here'.

I then began to scream again and the medics did their best to try to ask me my name and address. i managed to say 'Sue' but couldn't say anymore. They then began to cut up my high vis top, up each arm and up my chest. 'i managed to cry 'KNOCK ME OUT, GOD PLEASE KNOCK ME OUT!'.
One lady said calmly 'we are going to love, your going to be alright'.

Whilst they began sticking needles and tubes in my arms i noticed between the legs of one medic stood over me my right foot. It felt sore so i managed to flick off my shoe, my Lycra leggings were still intact on that side. It was then that i also noticed the back end of the large arctic truck that had collided with me, then that's all i remember.