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All stories of recovery

Shabnum's story

Mum-of-three Shabnum was taken to the Major Trauma Centre at Leeds General Infirmary after being knocked down by a car while out walking.
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"After two years, I'm still not over it"

Shabnum suffered internal bleeding, and broke her wrist, pelvis and the C7 vertebra in her neck. She knew her condition was critical when she woke from surgery in hospital to see her mother, who had travelled from Pakistan to be by her bedside.

"That made me realise it was really serious. I couldn’t remember what had happened – I thought I’d just hurt my neck – but when I first woke up I couldn’t feel my legs.

"I didn’t want my children to come and see me because I wanted to protect them, but my eldest came the day after my surgery. I cried when I saw my son because I didn’t want him to see me that way, but he said, ‘Mum, you’re still here. The biggest thing is that we still have a mum'."

Shabnum’s health still affects life for her and her family two years after the incident.

"I’m a strong person – I don’t normally let things get to me, but after two years I’m still not over it. I do get bitter and angry – there’s no way to move on from what happened.

"Physically when you see me, I look fine, but inside I’ll never be the same. I am able to walk, but sometimes the bolt in my pelvis puts pressure on a nerve and I lose sensation in my legs. This means they just give way beneath me. I never know when it might happen. I recently fell in the shower and had to call my son to come and help me. He called my husband who came home to help me up. When I can’t even get myself up it makes me feel like I’m failing again and again.

"I’m always jumpy around cars, I can only drive locally now, and I’m so scared when someone else, like my husband, is in control of the car; on edge in case something will happen.

"My biggest achievement is driving to collect my son from school. It’s a big deal for me, and I need the roads to be really empty before I’ll pull out.

"The incident has affected my state of mind – now whenever anything bad happens, I link it back to my incident, asking, ‘why did I have to go walking that night? Why did it have to happen to me?"

Shabnum gradually recovered, but even after she left hospital, her recovery journey was ongoing. That’s when Debbie, a Day One Peer Support Volunteer, got in touch.

"The support I got from Day One was amazing. I’ve got the support of my partner, children and my brothers and sisters, but because Debbie has been through it herself, I have trust in her. I know she will be straight with me and tell it like it is. I asked Debbie whether the pain I’m still in, is part of my life now. Is it something I just have to accept? And she said, ‘yes it is, I’m still in pain too'."

"Just knowing that my Peer Support Volunteer has been through what I’ve been through and she’s living her life and that it gets a bit better– I just live for the hope that it’ll get easier, and that I’ll get stronger."

Thanks to Day One, Shabnum’s life is gradually getting back on track.

"Through Day One, I’ve spoken to Lauren from Citizen’s Advice who helped me with my finances and claiming benefits I didn’t know I was entitled to. I also had help from Day One to access legal support through Irwin Mitchell. They’re helping me process my injury claim.

"The support from Day One has been amazing. If I’d been taken to another hospital, without that support, I wouldn’t have known what to do or who to turn to. The support Day One is giving me is unbelievable – if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I’d be here. I think it’s something that needs to be available in every hospital."

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