By Penny Melville Brown
It was an untimely end for me and Baking Blind: in France just before Christmas scoping out more cooking opportunities, I was involved in a serious car accident.
I had to be cut out of the car before being rushed to A & E – pretty close to death. Ribs and sternum were broken but, most importantly, fractured vertebrae in my neck put my spinal cord at significant risk. It took some two months in intensive care, including 5 weeks in an induced coma with life support systems, before I started to surface. The breathing tubes stopped me talking so communicating with the French medical team was a challenge for all of us and even more complicated by my total blindness – but we all got on outstandingly and there was a great cheer for my first attempt to stand.
Now I’m in a specialist rehabilitation unit in France with physiotherapy to build my strength until my neck is properly consolidated with the bones reconnected. I’m stuck in bed but cycle on a sort of horizontal pedalo and stretch muscles as hard as possible. The move has meant learning lots of new people but they too are great in putting up with my shattered French and using their variety of English skills.
I am waiting for the next scan to discover if the neck has fused and I can start to learn how to sit, stand and walk again. So it is all likely to take at least a month or two.