On Sunday May 20th 2018 Colin was taking part in a triathlon in Nottingham. It was a Half distance triathlon which meant he had to do a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and a Half Marathon. He was excited and apprehensive as he had been selected for the Elite category and had been given a Gold Swimming Cap at registration the day before. He was hoping for a PB as he informed me it was a ‘fast and flat’ course. We saw him come out of the water, get on his bike at transition and waved him off ready for his 56 mile bike ride.
Col had an accident whilst out on the bike course where he came off his bike and suffered a head injury. Right now as I am typing he is currently in Intensive Care at Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham. We are on day 11 and each day I am amazed by the care shown by the staff on the unit. Nothing is too much trouble and they really are shining stars. I leave the unit every night comfortable in the knowledge that I know Col will be in the safest of hands.
Being on intensive care for both the patient and their loved ones is just like being on a rollercoaster ride. One day you have a positive day where you think you are moving forwards and the next you are being told bad news from a consultant or Col takes a backward step with an infection. It’s definately a case of one step forward two back but we’ve come to expect that and to focus on being happy with the step forward rather than being upset at the step back. The team also prepare us for ups and downs so when it happens we try and take it in our stride.
It’s emotionally, mentally and physically draining and never have I been in a situation where the outcome is so unknown and out of our control. However, the team in intensive care are with you every step of the way helping you over the next hurdle - being a nurse, doctor, surgeon, consultant, neurologist, pharmacist, nutritionist or family liaison but also a shoulder to cry on and talk to and those familiar faces you see when you walk into the hospital and onto the ward not sure how the day is going to pan out just make it that little bit easier.
I tell them about Col I tell them about his zest for life and competitive streak. I tell them about our holidays our memories, show them our photos hanging up on his photo line and tell them of his sheer determination. I tell them he is a fighter and never lets anything get the better of him and he is going to be the same in this situation too. Anyone who knows him will say the same.
Even though Col is asleep he can hear me. The squeezing of fingers and holding of my hand confirms that. He even enjoyed his favourite song from Hue and Cry when I played it to him by wiggling his toes. They maybe little things but it gives us as a family and his friends some hope everyday and that hope keeps us going onto the next day. I bribe him to do more promising him a cappuccino and a take away from our favourite restaurant Pho once he is better. He also seems to do more when I offer him a kiss...
Until something like this happens to you, you think it’s one of those things that just happens on TV or to somebody else or just simply something you don’t need to worry about. The truth is you may need the help of intensive care at any moment. Life could change in a split second just like ours has and even what we thought would be a great and memorable day out at a triathlon event with Col doing what he loves and does best, we end up needing to rely on the team at Queens Medical Centre Nottingham to make him better again.
I’ve called the page ‘What Would Col Do’ as Col inspires me everyday to be more daring, challenge myself and not always just play it safe. We should all be more like Col in life. He grabs challenges and thrives on them, mixes it up and takes it to the next level at every opportunity and whilst he is recovering in QMC and forever more, I hope to be more like Col.
The picture for this JustGiving profile is from last year when we climbed a volcano in Santorini. You can see the crater in between us. Another thing Col Would Do (and I was petrified of). Whilst he hopefully gets stronger and stronger everyday I am going to be doing the following events as our way of saying THANK YOU to the Intensive Care team at QMC. As soon as he wakes up I can’t wait to tell him what I’ve been up to. I also want to thank everyone for all the support, outpouring of love and best wishes shown to Col throughout this journey.
UPDATE - 13th June Col has now been transferred to QE in Birmingham. He is still in Intensive Care but it feels like we are one step closer to home. He now manages to keep his eye open on his right side for large parts of the day and is responding to commands such as wiggling fingers and toes, squeezing hands, doing a thumbs up, sticking out his tongue, scrunching up his nose, frowning, blinking, and even wiggles his fingers to wave goodbye. I am so very proud of him and his progress to date and although they are only tiny improvements everyday, to us they are big things. I’ve told him we need to do one new thing everyday and his physios at QE will certainly be putting him through his paces to make sure that happens. He even gave his physio a smile yesterday so he seems to be enjoying it. Keep Going Warrior
UPDATE - 29th June Colin has now moved to the neuro ward at QE. This is a great step in the right direction as they will now be more focused on his recovery. He is getting stronger everyday with his movements on his right hand side and he is wiggling his toes on his left foot which I’m hoping will continue up the leg. He responds to commands and these things also get better everyday.
UPDATE - 20th July We are waiting for an inpatient bed at the neuro rehabilitation centre. Col will have an individualised weekly therapy timetable which will hopefully maximise his progression. We will then get a better idea of the recovery he will be able to make and the timescales we can work to until we can get him back home again. In hospital, he is working on maintaining a good sitting balance on a plinth. Speech therapists are also working with him on strengthening his voice and working on his swallow so he can start to eventually eat and drink again
UPDATE - 27th August Col has now been in rehab for over a month and is improving
UPDATE - November 2018 Col leaves rehab and comes home. HEY WARRIOR, Keep Going.
Great Midlands Fun Run - Sunday 3rd June I ran the Fun Run with one of Col’s running friends who successfully guided me to a PB. I did a 7 minute 25 last mile so definately had Col’s legs on for the final mile as I am not normally so capable of such speed!
QMC Big Charity Abseil - Saturday 9th June 100ft abseil off the highest point of QMC
Shenstone Fun Run - Sunday 8th July 10k run in Shenstone which we did together last year. It was 30 degrees and no shade but it was a lovely run.
Nottingham Inflatable 5k - Saturday 14th July My friends from school organised to do an inflatable 5k to raise money for Nottingham.
Market Bosworth Middle Distance Triathlon (Relay) - Sunday 22nd July Col had entered to do the Bosworth Triathlon Race but I would not be able to complete that for him by myself so we made a relay team with Col’s friend Andrea doing the 1.2 mile swim leg, Col’s friend John doing the 56 mile bike leg and me doing the Half Marathon so we can completed it for him. Team Col finished in a very respectable 5.00.34.
50 miles for Col - w/c 30th July Col celebrated his 50th birthday on 30th July. For the week of his birthday I ran 50 miles in total from the Monday to the Sunday.
Nottingham 10k - Sunday 12th August Organised by Nottingham Hospitals Charity and I ran a PB of 53.11
Finish for Col - Sunday 26th August I cannot thank people enough for coming to cycle and run and give up part of their Bank Holiday weekend to do so, especially in such wet and miserable conditions. We didn’t let it stop us though and between us cycled over 50 miles on the bike and splashed through 13 miles on the run to complete the Outlaw Half for Colin. It was lovely to meet everyone and I am feeling very overwhelmed and humbled by the support especially from the people Col and myself have never met before and who went out of their way to attend the event. It means so much. A positive day to tell Col about and I will enjoy sharing the stories and photos with him of the day we have all had. I’ve got the bug.....but that’s definately what Col would do! #WhatWouldColDo #FinishForCol
RSCAC Little Aston 5 (LA5) - Sunday 2nd September 5 mile run organised by Colin’s running club Royal Sutton Coldfield Athletics Club - 42:36
Lichfield 10k - Sunday 9th September Our local race in Lichfield near to where we live in a time of 53 minutes
Robin Hood Half Marathon - Sunday 30th September The support out on the route all the way round was phenomenal and really lifts you. Loved running past Wollaton Hall and through Wollaton Park. Between mile 8 and 9 I also ran past QMC the hospital we are fundraising for and who cared for Colin back in May and June. Col ran this race exactly 5 years ago to the day in 2013, in a time of 1.24
Sneyd Pudding Run - Sunday 9th December 10 mile run organised by Sneyd Striders 1.25.51
Cannock Chase Trail Run - Sunday 10th February 10 mile trail run
Fradley 10k - Sunday 10th March windy and cold!
Notts20 - Sunday 17th March The official charity partner of this event is Nottingham Hospitals Charity so I couldn’t not do it. Will be the furthest I’ve ever been #WhatWouldColDo - finish time 3.01
Coventry Half Marathon - Sunday 24th March 1.54
Swimathon - Saturday 29th March 5k swim (3 miles) for the swimathon and on Sunday we went to our local pool and did 16 lengths
Cathedral to Castle - Sunday 7th April 10 mile run from Lichfield to Tamworth
London Marathon - Sunday 28th April must be mad but I ran London and every step was for QMC. 4hr 27
Velo Birmingham - Sunday 12th May my first ever event on a bike Velo 42. Completed in 3 hours
Cotswolds 113 - Sunday 9th June middle distance triathlon 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13 mile run. Completed in 6 hours 33. Hardest thing I’ve ever done but I can now call myself a triathlete #WhatWouldColDo
Superhero Tri - Saturday 17th August Col will be towed in a boat, we will do the bike on a three wheeled tandem and use the chair and a bit of walking for the run. Col is excited to be back on the start line