01st Jun 2021
“I’ll tell you what I can remember. It was the beginning of June 2019 – I think the 5th – and my partner Sharon and I had been in Derby for the weekend visiting my in-laws for their 50th wedding anniversary. We came back on the Sunday afternoon.
Some friends of ours were still celebrating Liverpool winning the Champions League, so we went over and stayed for a couple of hours. It was a warm day and everyone was in the garden. I was driving so wasn’t drinking. It got to about 9pm and we decided we’d head home to get ready for work as we’d had a long weekend. That’s the last thing I can remember.
I’m told I went inside to use the toilet upstairs before we left. I must have missed a step as I came down and I fell from the top to the bottom of the staircase; about 16 stairs that come round a corner. I ended up in a heap at the bottom.
My head took most of the impact so I was knocked unconscious and had blood coming out of my ear. My friends heard a thud - they found me and called an ambulance.
A road ambulance came and I was taken to hospital in Ashford. On the way there they did some tests, including the Glasgow Coma Score which is used to assess brain injuries.
I’m told it’s at that point it was decided the air ambulance would be needed to take me to London. The helicopter landed at William Harvey Hospital to meet us and flew me and Sharon from there to King’s College Hospital in London.
I had fractures to the front, both sides and rear of my head, but fortunately the bleeding stopped by itself so I didn’t need an operation.
I had to have a CT and MRI scan, and the doctors performed checks to see if I could remember my name, date of birth, children’s names etc. The funniest part was the first time I remember talking to a doctor they asked if I knew where I was, and I said "Vegas!" We’d been the year before so it must have been a memory coming back to me, I’m not sure.
Then they asked if I knew what day it was and I said 4th or 5th June. When they told me it was in fact 12th or 13th June and I’d been there for 10 days I thought they were making it up! I don’t remember anybody else being there, even though my children (I have two girls aged 23 and 19 now) had travelled up to see me the day after it happened. But I remember absolutely nothing, not a thing. Even now, I thought it might come back to me over time but I still don’t remember anything.
I wanted to go back to my work as a Building Control Surveyor as soon as I came out of hospital, but it was Sharon who convinced me I couldn’t.
It was quite frustrating because I’m an active person; sports wise I enjoy football, badminton, cycling etc. but when I first came out I couldn’t really walk to the end of the road and back without being completely exhausted.
It took about 2-3 weeks before I felt ok again. I still suffer a lot with headaches and tiredness more than anything else. They reckon the right side of my head took the main impact and my ear was damaged, so I have permanent tinnitus every minute of every day. You get used to it though. Thankfully I didn’t break any bones in my ear, but I did damage them so I lost maybe 25% of my hearing in that ear. I also get sciatica in my hamstring and calf which is a bit strange.
To be honest Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) is probably one of the only charities I’ve ever given to. I’ve seen them land on football pitches to take people away, and you never know when you might need them so I’ve always donated.
Having an accident like mine makes you realise how lucky you are; if it wasn’t for KSS I wouldn’t be here. The impact it would’ve had on my partner, children and friends if KSS hadn’t been there doesn’t bear thinking about. Now I want to give something back, as much as I can.
On 25-26th September 2021 I’m going to be doing a 155-mile cycling event called Dulux London Revolution with a friend to raise money for KSS. I’ve got a smart trainer set up in my house for my bike so I’m doing about 2-3 hours a day to prepare. It’s a big challenge having to do 100 miles on the first day, but I’m looking forward to it.”
“Trev’s accident happened in June 2019. Nobody actually saw what happened. The friend whose house we were in was in the kitchen and all he heard was a massive bang, and next thing I knew he was calling “Shaz I think you better come in here.”
Trev was lying on the floor at the bottom of the stairs, with blood pouring out of his ear. He was clearly agitated too, but we had no idea what had happened. Trev’s quite tall, and our friends have got a low overhang on their stairs, so we don’t know if he made it up the stairs or if he was coming back down, but he must have hit it with some force and then knocked himself unconscious.
He’s quite a big, tall person and it was quite a small space that he fell into, so how he managed to do it – well, he was the only thing that got damaged in the process.
It was hugely scary. You feel so completely helpless. He was trying to communicate with us but nothing was coming, and you’re just sitting there trying to keep his head still because you don’t know what’s happened. Fortunately, because there were a lot of us there, I could concentrate on Trev while others called the ambulance.
After that it gets a bit hazy. The emergency services arrived – it felt like there were a lot of them – I just kept still holding Trev as much as I could to keep him still.
At one point on the way to hospital we pulled into a service station at Hythe which is probably about the halfway point in the journey, and I think that’s possibly because they were concerned that Trev’s statistics were not good. I’m not sure if that was the point where the decision was made to call in the air ambulance. It’s a bit of a blur.
The air ambulance landed at the back of William Harvey hospital in Ashford.
I wasn’t sure I’d be allowed in the air ambulance with Trev. One of the strange questions I got asked was what did I weigh? I hadn’t thought about that side of things but thankfully they were able to take me as well, which was a relief because it would’ve been a bit scary to try and drive to London from Ashford in the state of mind that I was in.
We were taken to King’s College Hospital. Trev was in an induced coma for five days, and then he was transferred to a ward once he came to. I think he was there for 12 days in total. He came out on 15th June.
Trev has made an incredible recovery. I think today no-one would know because other than suffering from tinnitus, which in the context of things, although I’m sure it’s very irritating for him at times, looking at what could’ve happened, it doesn’t bear thinking about. We’ve been very lucky.
In the past we’ve always been quite keen advocates for KSS because you never know when you can use them, and that really rings true now. We’re very committed to doing any sort of fundraising we can to support KSS because it’s an amazing service, and we have a lot of be thankful for because of them. They make a complete difference to people’s lives.
Trev and I would both really love to visit Redhill and meet the crew but obviously with COVID it hasn’t been possible yet. It would just be nice to say thank you personally to the crew who helped us.
We are really grateful, and thankfully Trev is back to his old self which is amazing. I have to say the aftercare that KSS provides as well has been fantastic. I know KSS have so many commitments and are busy so it’s lovely that people have taken the time to follow up on Trev and me as well.”