Tuesday 20/5/2014

After 3 weeks working in Roma, I finally got to go home for a few days R&R, I departed early, I was on the road by 6 am. I had a look around Roma, then drove south to Surat. At 7:31in Surat, I had a 24 minute phone conversation with my manager while stopped on the side of the road.

Next I drove down the road heading South, it was a cloudy but dry late autumn day. I remember driving through St George, then on down the road to Dirranbandi, which is a small farming / agricultural commnity, I noticed that the same tribe as in Walgett lived here, the Kamileroi name was written on one of the buildings. There was nothing to look at and the flies were way to friendly. So I continued on down the road, I had a packed lunch with me and started eating this as I left Dirranbandi, about 25 minutes later at 10:15 am, I had finished my meal and put the container on the back seat. As my eyes returned to the road in front of me i saw a Kangaroo and swerved hard to the right to avoid a collision, I also slammed on the breaks, and with ABS, was able to steer the car while slowing down. The car started to slide, as it verred across the road and went of the road on the right hand side. as it left the road the back end swung around to the right, until the car was completely at right angles to the direction of motion, at this point the tyres on the driver's side both came of their rims and the rims dug into the gravel, this caused the car the flip. It completed one complete roll over, during which time my right ear received a cut and some bruising, at this point i realised that it was pointless the hold onto the stearing and i let go and put my arms around my head to protect it. during the second roll over my right shoulder was bruised. The car landed on its wheels and I got out unassisted, after undoing my seat belt and partially opening the door.

I remember that there was a lot of dust about and it took about a minute for it to settle. I walked around the car, assessed the situation and checked myself for injuries. About 3 minutes later a car came along and stopped and an elderly couple got out and checked on me and my car. I asked the lady to look in my right ear, to see if any liquid or blood was coming from the inside of the ear, she told me that all she could see was dust in my ear.

I can recollect the entire accidently clearly, yes in slow motion, this proves that I did not lose consciouness, after the accident I did not have a headache or dissiness, so my self diagnoses was that I did not have a head or brain injury.

Soon more cars passed and all stopped to offer help. I asked one of the drivers to go into Dirranbandi and call the tow truck for me, as there was zero phone reception at the accident site. During the next hour I collected all the tools and other personal items which had been thrown from the car during the roll overs and started thinking about replacing the 2 deflated tyres with my 2 spares and pushing the winscreen out and while wearing safety glasses drive the car home. I ran this idea by the elderly couple keeping me company and all they could do was suggest that I sit down, I think they were shocked by the idea, I actually got the impression that they were more worried about me and my car then I was, a common theme for me for the next few days when dealing with family and friends, people seem to find it difficult to accept that I was not seriously hurt and just wanted to get on with my life!

Ironically Chris the good semaritin who collected my car and took it to his place in Hebel, used the precise approach I had been planning! ha, so who is the crazy one now! It goes to show all us bushies think alike!

After an hour an ambulance and a fire and rescue vehicle showed up. The Ambulance officer quickly rounded me up and convinced me to lie down on a stretcher, they completed an emaination and put a cervical coller on me, they said just a pre-caution, oh boy big mistake! The doctors refused to remove the cevical collar without a CT scan, the nearest CT scan was in Toowoomba, 300 km away. The ambulance took me to Dirranbandi Hostipal, where the doctor gave me check up and generally agreed with my assessment that there was nothing wrong with me, BUT insisted on a CT scan, so he organised the air ambulance to come and collect me. The pilot said that he didn't have enough flying hours left today to drop me at Towoomba Hospital and instead decided to take me back to brisbane, to the Princess Alexandria Hospital just south of the city. at Dirranbandi they put me in an immobilising stretcher and offered me pain relief and anti nousia medication, i declined both.

Oh yes, before i could get on the plane they put a catheter in my arm, a week later this is still the most significant injury I have resulting from the accident! And they insisted that I empty my bladder or they would insert a Catheter to do it for me! I did not fancy this idea at all, I asked if could get up and go to the toilet, but was not allowed because of the cevical collar, ARGH!!! so they gave me a bottle and asked my to pea in that while lying down on a bed in the middle of the emergency room with a video camera stairing in my face, well I am a private person and found this extremely difficult. I made three attempts to empty my bladder, the first 2 failed, I simply couldn't relax enough to allow the urine to flow. I tried everything, even meditation, to no avail. Then my good sister came to the rescue, she rang me and while I was talking to her on the phone I finally managed to relax enough for the pea to flow. During our conversation I filled the bottle and felt much better for it. I again thank her for not hanging up while I was doing my business, her phone call distracted me suffeciently from my surrounds to relieve myself, thanks sis!

The Royal Flying Doctor service plane landed in Brisbane about 5 pm and an ambulance took me to the hospital. At the hostipal 2 doctors and a team of nurses gave me a full work over, even taking x-rays of my shoulder neck and chest. These doctors like the one in Dirranbandi pooked and prodded my intestines, but could not find anything wrong with me. After the CT scans I asked if i could be released, the doctors really wanted to keep me for observation, they were worried about possible internal bleeding in the brain after the accident, however, as I had not passed out, was not dizzy nor had I taken any medication all day, they decided that a 2 hour observation period would suffice, I reluctantly agreed to this. I was put on a bed in the short stay department, a nurse gave me a meal, chicken, I can't eat chicken, so just ate the vegetables and the desert! I then called all the relatives and let them know that I was OK and in Brisbane. Then I called our company travel agent and made arrangements for a room for the night and a flights home the next day.

The doctors in Brisbane told me that I had a level 1 or 2 tear of my AC Ligament in the right shoulder, the CT scan showed that the bones had not seperated, they were still in their correct position, so the tear was only minor resulting in some pain when physical contact is made with the shoulder. This injury does not affect my ability to lift things nor does it impede free movement in any way. Only time will heal this.

After a while I was getting impatient and asked the nurse if i could be released, she said well its another 5 minutes before the 2 hours is up, but I will call the doctor. another hour went by, in that time I talked to both doctors and convinced them to release me. The nurse reluctantly removed the catheter from my arm. I pointed out to both the doctors and the nurse that I could not get a good nights sleep at the hospital because of all the noise there, constant beeping and alarms. Further, I was still covered in the dust of the accident and really wanted a shower to clean myself up.

I walked out of the hostipal at about 9 pm and went around the corner to the Chino motel where I got a room for the night. Next day a taxi took me to the airport and I flew back to Dubbo where my father collected me and returned me home.

Next day, Thursday, I drove to Dirranbandi and collected my possesions from the police station and the hospital, I also dropped in at Chris's place and thanked him for his help.

Photo time:

This is where it started, you can see i was just on the left edge of the road

This is where the rims dug into the gravel

This is what the car looked like after the roll over

This is what the ambulance, nurses and doctors did to me, the Catherter in my left elbow is not visable:

my right shoulder had a few bruises on it, photo of mirror

and my right ear was quite red:

I wasn't hurt that much by the accident, I walked away from it, the cruiser did its job of protecting me and i thanked it for that, now i have to wait for the insurance company and hopefully i can buy another 100 series cruiser soon.