The day my life changed

David | November 2018 | 7 minutes

On 16 February 2001, during my penultimate term at university, I went out for some drinks with friends. I was in bed by 11pm in readiness for my job as a rental car delivery driver the next day. By 9am my life was in pieces.

We will never know for sure if I was over the limit when I drove at 8am, but all the anecdotal evidence suggests I was. I had crashed into another vehicle and my car had exploded.

Thankfully, the driver of the other car was relatively unscathed. For me though, it was a totally different story. What’s the worst part of it all?

It’s not the 40% burns.

It’s not the year of my life I spent in hospital.

It’s not the amputated foot.

It’s not the nerve damage to my right arm that causes excruciating pain every day.

It’s not the constant regrets.

It’s not the skin grafts.

It’s not the endless medical appointments to prevent my health getting worse.

It’s not the inability to perform even the most basic of household chores at times.

It’s not the flashbacks to the 10 days where I was fighting for my life in the Intensive Care Unit.

It’s not the pitying smiles.

It’s not the people who stare at my prosthetic leg.

It’s not the strain I have put upon my friends and family.

It’s not being unable to run any more.

It’s not being unable to just walk into the sea.

It’s not the people who think they know what I’m going through because they hurt their knee and couldn’t play football for nine months.

It’s not wishing that I hadn’t survived.

It’s not the 30+ operations.

It’s not the 40,000 pills I’ve taken since the crash.

It’s not the lack of dignity involved in being unable to wash myself whilst in hospital.

It’s not the wasted years as I watched my friends start careers, travel the world and start new chapters in their lives.

It’s not the terrible hospital food.

It’s not crying in the bath when I saw my legs for the first time after the crash.

It’s not wondering how my life would have turned out if things had been different.

It’s not putting a smile on my face when all I want to do is hide in bed.

It’s not finding it difficult to admit how scared the crash made me.

It’s not the effect it had on my career before it had even begun.

It’s not avoiding certain situations because I feel so self-conscious.

It’s not the people who have said I deserved it.

It’s all this and more. Every day. For the rest of my life.

About David

In 2015, David set up a company to visit schools and universities to educate young people who are learning and just starting to drive about drink driving. He hopes his story will make a difference.