Thursday, 12 May 2016

Don't pay the ferryman

The A591 may well now be open but on Monday I tried to take Glebe Road in Bowness out of commission using only my head.  We were running to catch the last ferry back to Lakeside when I tripped & fell head first onto the pavement.  Contrary to popular opinion the road was harder than my head and I ended up in Westmorland General for 2 nights with a severe concussion and a broken right arm.  I'm home now and doing OK but very light-headed and washed out and learning how to type with my left hand - but back to Monday...

The day had started out so well - as a thank you for the April Fool's Day blog the jolly nice folks at Windermere Lake Cruises sent us a free ticket to enjoy and we waited for a clear, sunny day so we could go along and take plenty of lovely photos.



We took the first ferry of the day from Lakeside - our plan was to travel to Ambleside, catch the little ferry across to Wray Castle, explore the castle then walk down to Claife Heights before getting the ferry back to Bowness and then down to Lakeside.  Their excellent Walkers Ticket will let you do a shorter version of our cruise starting and ending at Bowness.

The weather was perfect and the lake looked superb.




Wray Castle is always fantastic fun to visit with games and activities set up in many rooms, an excellent cafe and a great guided tour.






I should stress that the following photos were taken before any head injury occurred - honest!



Then came the lovely sunny walk back along the lake shore - just beautiful!







The last time we'd been to Claife Heights it was all boarded up so we were delighted to find it now fully renovated and offering superb views up and down the lake.






By now time was getting on so we headed for the small ferry back to Bowness.  We somehow managed to miss the Windermere Cruises one so took the chain ferry giving us 10 mins the other side to run back to the pier for the 16:55.

This is the last photo I took before my fall and the following 8 hours remain a complete blank despite the fact I never actually lost consciousness.


Apparently when we reached the other side we started to run for the ferry; Steve was ahead and about half way along he heard a shout followed by a big crack as I hit the deck.  I was clearly very dazed and when he tried talking to me I was spouting more gibberish than usual and he realised that an ambulance was required. (I have no recollection at all of what happened next so the following is based on what Steve has told me). 

As he made the call some lovely people sat with me (I have NO idea who you are but thank you!) and I was stuck in some sort of brain loop with my conversation apparently going something like this...

Me:  Have I been on a ferry?
Ans:  Yes
Me: Oh that explains why I have Don't Pay the Ferryman in my head.

Short pause

Me:  Have I been on a ferry?
Ans: Yes
Me: Oh that explains why I have Don't Pay the Ferryman in my head.

Short pause

Me:  Have I been on a ferry?

And so on until the ambulance arrived - very funny now but probably quite disturbing for those folks who were kind enough to sit with me.

I was taken to Westmorland General where my brain loop continued but with a few added elements now:

Me:  Have I been on a ferry?
Steve: Yes
Me:  That explains why I have Don't Pay the Ferryman in my head
Steve: Yes
Me:  I'm in hospital aren't I?
Steve: Yes
Me: Is it Barrow or Kendal?
Steve: Barrow
Me: Do I have any training courses this week?
Steve: Yes
Me: Oh well we need to cancel them
Steve: I have
Me: OK

Short pause

Me: Have I been on a ferry...

Apparently on one loop Steve got his middle answer wrong and this happened...

Have I been on a ferry?
Me:  Do I have any training courses this week?
Steve: Yes
Me:  Oh well we need to cancel them
Steve:  Yeah, I will do
Me:  So you haven't?  Go and do it now - you need to call them else they'll all be waiting for me...
Steve:  OK
(Good to know I'm a control freak even when I've completely lost the plot!)

The great thing is that it was like GroundHog Day so once Steve knew that one answer was going to bother me, he just changed it on the next loop so I was happy again.

I was CT scanned (all clear but I'm gutted I don't remember it) and X-rayed.  Because of my continued gibberish they clearly weren't letting me out of their sight so I was admitted.  The odd thing was I was processing everything like a dream so when a nurse I'd seen earlier reappeared I'd gaze at her in wonder and tell her I'd had a dream about her and wasn't that amazing?

Eventually they got me up to a ward and although it was late Steve was allowed to stay for as long as we wanted.  By now I was beginning to return to the land of the living and realising what had happened to me I was getting very frightened and upset (I know a bit about brain injures and the dangers of the first 36 - 72 hours).  After I'd calmed down a little Steve headed home (it was now gone 2am) and he left me in the care of Jess who checked my blood pressure and shone a light in my eyes every hour or so.  

I was too scared to sleep and as clarity began to return I was doing whatever I could to keep my brain working - counting the ceiling tiles, pacing the ward, reading all the notices on the ward - anything so I didn't fall asleep.

As dawn broke I heard oystercatchers outside (one of the joys of hospitals up here - there's plenty of green around) and watched herring gulls circling above the warm air vents.

Dawn from the ward
Slowly I was beginning to piece together the day before and I could elaborate on my "Have I been on a ferry?" routine though to be honest, even though I can now recall it all I remember it more as a dream than as an actual event.  Of course what wasn't helping was that when anyone asked what I'd been doing that day (to see how my memory was getting on) my answer started "well, you see I wrote this blog about submarine tours under Windermere..."

The docs decided that I was still confused enough for them to want to keep an eye on me so I stayed put for another 24 hours.  The nurses and the doctors were all absolutely amazing - superb care - I honestly don't know how they do it.  My only teeny tiny, eeny winey complaint is that there were no decaff drinks on offer on the drinks trolley, (there wasn't any G&T either, but that was probably pushing things to be fair) but one of the nurses took pity on me and gave me some of her fruit tea teabags.

I took a wander around the ward and noticed that they were somewhat blunt with their medical notes...

Just glad this wasn't my medical chart
Anyway, the upshot of all of that is that I'm now back at home though still coming to my senses.  If any of you has been unfortunate enough to have a similar style clout on the head you'll know how scary, confusing and disorientating it is.  I know I'm still not processing things properly and I feel tired after doing almost nothing.  

For once I've cleared my diary to give myself time to recover - though being freelance if I don't work I don't get paid so it is a bit of a worry (you could always encourage your friends to buy our book to help fund our "not beans on toast again" coffers :-)  )

I've promised everyone I'm gong to take it easy and I mean it - I've given myself (and Steve) a proper scare and this isn't the time for bravado, this is the time for looking after myself a bit.  It may be a while before I'm back on the high fells but I'm sure I'll still find some fun things to do.  

Meanwhile, there really is only one person who can have the last word on this blog...