As many readers will know, my wife Ladan – who is in a minimally conscious state – became seriously ill on the night of 17th October (Wednesday) and I was also shocked the following morning by the news that a very good friend was in a serious car accident at much the same time that Ladan became unwell. I was contacting Diana (his wife) and other people to find out what was going on. I soon became reassured that my friend was doing well and that his manager, Bryan, seemed to be doing a sterling job of looking after his needs. But it was reported to be a very serious accident
A few days into our hospital stay I also had a little car crash of my own, I was driving up toward a junction on an A road where the oncoming traffic can turn across the main carriageway onto a central motorway when the road is clear or the traffic lights display a green arrow. The lights were green for me and I saw a car pull up to the lights in the lane for turning across me ahead. Having two sets of lights green in front of me and knowing I had right of way I proceeded at about 50mph toward the junction but as I reached it I saw that the other car started turning into the road. I have previously seen the results of other accidents at this junction and they have not looked good. Not only was I about to hit a car at 50mph but there were also a bollard and a lamp-post to the side of the road that I have seen other cars damaged by. I have also had a similar accident, many years ago, at 40mph and then I was knocked unconscious for a while, suffered temporary amnesia, and was in a lot of pain for about 5 months. “DON’T DO THAT!!!”, I shouted at the top of my voice as I slammed on the breaks unsure that I was going to see another thing in my life, feeling it ironic that my friend had just had a car accident a few days earlier. If you have never been in a car cash there is a strange sensation that you may be unaware of, and that is that time almost stands still for a few seconds. I swerved to try and get in front of the vehicle to avoid the passenger who was in my initial line of travel, then realising that, in spite of having had some kind of impact, I could still steer the car I looked for the bollard and lamp post and aimed the car for the kerb such that I thought it would not hit either, but knowing that the kerb was unavoidable. Kerbs can throw a car over or send them into dangerous spins, sometimes into other traffic. One last deep breath. A terrible smell of smoke. The road was louder, but I was sitting, the wind had been knocked out of me but I was still okay in my car, conscious, half on the kerb, the right way up. The other driver admitted it was his fault and seemed thankful that I had managed to manoeuvre such that everyone was okay. The other driver was planning to drive back to Cambridge following the crash so I hope there was no serious damage to his car. It was a very close call, the car is almost certainly a write-off, even though it drives, the side is dented from wheel-arch to wheel arch and the door is bent out of place at the top, but with everything that was going on the last two weeks I haven’t taken it to the garage yet. Ordinarily this would have been a frightening event in itself, but under the circumstances I just drove back to the hospital where I spent the rest of the night by Ladan’s side, which I enjoyed doing on the occasions I did it in the hospital, I would pray and just enjoy being quietly together through the night. A few hours of near-normality!