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Sharon’s Story

Sharon’s Story

What you are about to see and hear is not a story.  This is as real as it gets.  If you ignore your warning signs…..IT COULD BE YOU!

Driving has become a necessary part of our lives.  So your attitude towards your responsibilities while driving is also a major part of everyday living.  A bad attitude or lack of understanding your illness can result in killing or seriously maiming yourself, or a complete stranger.  Could you live with yourself?  A lifetime of regret, watching your loved one, suffer each heartbreaking moment.  Whether it’s because they are taking care of you, or even worse that someone else is going through the pain every day, because of you!

Please consider, not only the trauma that faces our emergency services staff, but also the innocent victims of our road carnage, the witnesses….Let’s not forget these people are the first on the scene.  They are the ones who are unprepared to face what is in front of them.  It will stay with them for the rest of their lives.  You may say to yourself, that in time they will get over it…but let’s face it, could you!

We all have a story to tell, and until you get to know someone, you really have no idea of what your lack of responsibility on our roads can do.  My accident had an enormous impact on hundreds of people.  We all tend to forget about the ‘ripple effect’.  Take a good look at your own life….what would happen if you were suddenly taken out of the picture?

I was a single mother of three teenage children.  All of whom I was very proud of.  Even though, they did come with their own trying times.  I can honestly say that I was still Sharon Whitchurch and her childrentrying to understand the makings of a teenager…Yes they did come complete with their own set of split personalities…Being on my own for 15yrs, I had no regrets.  My kids relied on me 100% for everything in their lives.  Over the years I had many hats to wear, just like all other single parents…

My children were born with a rare blood disorder which required monthly blood infusions, while they were growing up.  Over the first 18yrs of their lives, they had over 150 admissions to hospital between them.  As if this wasn’t enough to have to deal with.  When my daughter was 6yrs old, she was hit by a car.  While she was standing on the footpath, with friends, a car came around the corner way too fast.  The lady had pulled out into oncoming traffic and had to put her foot to the floor, in order for her to escape the impending crash with another car.  While she was looking in the review mirror, she mounted the footpath, collecting my daughter.  Throwing her 20m, into oncoming traffic.  Her bad decision landed my daughter in hospital with multiple fractures and internal injuries.  After spending 8 weeks in traction she was allowed to go home.  But it took a further 18months before she was ok.  So you can imagine how important I was to my children, and with no father to fall back on…I was their lifeline….

MARCH 13, 2006

Life was great!  My daughter was studying full-time dance.  Despite all her life challenges, was well on her way of achieving her life long dream. To become a famous dancer, which she has since achieved.  She has travelled the world dancing and has recently married and started her own dance/circus school.  My older son had just started his Tafe course, to begin his career as a mechanic. To which he has also completed.  While the youngest, my baby, was in his final year at primary school.  We were all about to embark on new stages in our lives.  Who would have ever thought that a lack of understanding diabetes, could have ever caused so much heartache, and life changing consequences for so many….

The day began like any other….

Breakfast, showers, making of lunches and getting ready for school and work…. This is where I have no recollection, but apparently we all went off on our ways, to where we were meant to be that day…

I can see my daughter looking at me through a window….come on mum…..she says….she’s crying….Mum I Love You…PLEASE DON’T GO……

My dad washing his hands at a sink….he’s looking at me….he’s crying….

My sister sitting beside my bed….she’s crying and saying that she’s sorry for not being the sister she should have been.

Sharon in the hospital, recovering6 weeks later I awake in ICU.  I can hear machine noises, I cannot talk, I am seeing double.  I cannot move as I am stuck to the bed with numerous tubes and wires coming out all over me…I can hear the noise of a machine breathing for me, I start to cry…As I am now terrified of what has happened..The look of sheer heartache on my family says it all.  I am at that point told that I was involved in a head on car crash while on my way to work 6 weeks ago…My family was told that I was not expected to live…..

I look down to my stomach, to find that it is still wide open, and had that stuff on it that they use in the butcher shops to soak up blood while displaying meat…My stomach remained open for a further 4 weeks, as the doctors had to keep going in to operate on me.

My injuries were that bad, that nobody had ever survived, what somehow I managed to survive…

My face was torn apart and had numerous fractures, including orbital eye, cheeks, nose, jaw and teeth.  The doctors stitched me up and pulled my nose out so that my family could look at me…It wasn’t until 2008 that I had facial reconstruction done. I had to have a tube in my throat for me to breath.  I had several broken ribs, puncturing my lungs on both sides. My sternum was fractured causing damage to my heart.  I had several operations on my liver, trying to save it, but we lost the battle…I now have only ¼ of my liver, it won’t regenerate because of all the damage, but it is really healthy and I can survive with it.  I lost my gallbladder, appendix, ruptured my spleen and had part of my bowel taken out.  There wasn’t any part of my inside that was not affected in some way….

I broke both hips, pelvis and fractured my right femur causing degloving to my leg.  To which I have had to have pinned, several skin graphs and cosmetic surgeries on, in order for me to walk. My leg was 4.8cm shorter than my left leg. (Due to complications as time has gone by I have just recently had some more corrective surgery done on my leg and have had it lengthened) I also had 2 fractures to my lower spine and trauma to my upper spine.

My fractures to my hip and pelvic areas were of major concern, due to the rupture of the main arteries that run through that area.  I received the most amount of blood ever given to one patient, draining all of southeast QldSharon in the hospital (2)and northern NSW’S blood supply. I have now had 49 operations to date.

I can only imagine the heartache my family, friends and most of all, the trauma my kids went through.  I believe I nearly died so many times before they even got me out of the emergency department…My family was only given a 1% chance that I would survive.  And that if I did, the possibility of me being disabled was very high.

My children all reacted very differently, my daughter would curl up in foetal position and would cry for hours, not allowing anyone to comfort her…my older boy, took his anger out on anyone that came near him, and my youngest till this day doesn’t talk much at all…

Outrage is a word that can only describe the way I feel…How can anyone do this to someone…Does the driver of the other vehicle have no respect for themselves or anyone else…

How do I feel now you may ask?

I was very angry to find out that the driver was never charged for his blatant disrespect on our roads, and my rights to drive safely to work.

I pushed and eventually he was charged and was set to go to trial, only to have the Department of Public Prosecutions drop all charges, because this man has diabetes…He could not be held criminally for his actions…only civilly…. As he had complied with the new conditions of reporting his medical condition to the Dept of Transport Qld, this then took all responsibility off him…As per the new ‘Jets Law’.

In 2006 research showed that when driving with a medical condition, there was only guidelines for people to follow…Nothing was law…It came down to the responsibility of each driver to act according to their condition.  The realization was that most diabetics didn’t understand the consequences of driving with diabetes.  Such as the man who hit me, didn’t know that while he ignored his warning signs of his disease, he not only was placing his own life in danger, but everyone else who was on the roads as well.  Including myself. This man had no idea that his diabetes could cause anyone else so many traumas.

 

DIABETES IS NOT A LIFE SENTENCE….IT’S A LIFESTYLE…

We have approx 180’000 diabetic drivers that we know about, on our roads each day.  These drivers are from all works of life.  Everyday people getting on their own lives….teenagers to grandparents, truck drivers to police, the list is endless…

Our government each year has spent millions of dollars, just to keep people with a medical condition alive…Take a moment just to think of what it costs to keep a person from New born to 18 alive and well.  Along with the money and resources that is put into advertising, to keep our teenagers safe on our roads.  And yet to our precious special people of this world, (those who have a medical condition) we give them a driver’s license without even blinking an eye about educating them on the extra dangers that are there for them, and their loved ones. Or what they can do to someone else a complete stranger. Your driver’s license is a privilege – not a right!

I feel that I have survived this horrific ordeal, in order to warn those of us who care, about the dangers that we all face on our roads. I feel that education is our greatest tool. With the help of volunteers and donations from community service groups, I will enhance the knowledge of all diabetic drivers and make them aware of how diabetes affects themselves and others.

Let’s face it….Do you believe that you have the right to drive while you are affected by a medical condition? What is the difference of driving while affected by drugs, alcohol, and peer pressure, anger or just sheer stupidity on your part. I beg you to take a long hard look at your own driving habits and those of your loved ones…as you too could be sitting in my place one day. You could cause death or serious harm to yourself, a loved one, or a complete stranger.

Are you going to be strong enough to cope?

The road toll only shows the dead…Modern car technology today means that more people are surviving bad crashes, but with horrific injuries. Brain injuries wards are filled with men and women trying to rebuild their lives. Simple tasks such as eating and talking, just to name a few. Rehab wards see the harsh reality of those who have to learn how to walk again or to master a wheel chair. You may survive but life as you knew it will be gone forever…

Living is the best revenge. If you want to rebel against the system or God for giving you such a condition…Good…Survive…Outlive us all Enjoy your life no matter how bad you think you have it. There is always someone else worse off….

You’re so precious to so many. You’re someone’s son or daughter, much loved grandchild, best mate, husband or wife. Please give them the respect they and yourself deserve.

SURVIVE THE DRIVE….PLEASE “STOP! HYPODRIVE®

 

Contact Details

Hypodrive
PO Box 3369
Victoria Point West 4165

Phone: 0408 232 049
info@hypodrive.com.au