I instinctively put my hand on my thigh (I don’t recall there being any sensation of pain) and it felt icy cold. I lifted it up to have a look but that’s all I remember; although I remained conscious (I found out afterwards) everything from that moment on is a blank.
My next conscious memory is of lying on a gurney in a small hospital room (several hours later) waiting to be taken through for surgery. The door opened to admit a British soldier, a colonel. He came in, closed the door behind him and stepped forward to introduce himself.
It turned out the woman driving the car was married to a colonel in the British army (I will withhold his name) but that didn’t become clear until a few hours later. I can remember her approaching me out of the darkness – she had a small wound on her forehead and there was a small trickle of blood coming from it and running down the side of her face. I looked up at her and said, “Did I do that to you?” at which point she became slightly hysterical and said, “don’t worry about me, what about your leg?”
The accident had smashed me up badly; the vehicle, when it had hit me, was travelling at one hell of a speed (judging by the distance I was flung) so the parts of my body that had made connection with the vehicle were crushed between two solid objects. My foot was mashed to a pulp between the bumper and the block on the bike and the bonnet had struck my femur, which caused a severe compound fracture.
My only recollection of the incident was sitting on the road in the dark after it happened. It was confusing; it felt surreal
I can’t count the number of times I have been asked what it’s like to have a missing limb. You’d think the answer would roll off my tongue considering how often I’ve been asked the question but sometimes I sense my stock answer isn’t satisfying enough; quite often people will want to know more.
Usually I’ll say, “Well, most of the time it’s not too bad although I must say I do struggle a bit when I’m showering; it’s difficult to wash my feet”, and that checks the box. Sometimes, but only if I’m very lucky, I get asked why.