Two years after a horrific car accident which left her with multiple broken bones and injuries to many major organs, Angela Menzies is making positive progress thanks to team of specialists doing everything it takes to aid her recovery.
Mrs Menzies was almost killed in a head-on crash in the summer of 2016, breaking both legs, both her knees and hips and nine ribs in the accident.
She also fractured her pelvis, sternum, right clavicle, toes, punctured her lung and suffered tissue damage to her stomach, injuries which left her facing a long, difficult and uncertain road to recovery.
It has been the cause of many dark days for Angela, including a difficult 2018 in which she has been largely trapped indoors, as the rest of the country has enjoyed a long hot summer.
Such were the extent of her injuries, there have been setbacks in the speed of her recovery.
Metal implants and rods in her right leg have had to be replaced this year because of an infection and concerns it may spread and impact on the full hip replacement she underwent. She has also needed stem cell treatment in her left leg, where bones failed to reunite sufficiently, with the treatment looking to resolve the problem.
Now Angela, 57, is again hoping she is through the worst, and with a specialist support team caring for her, established through her personal injury claim with Hudgell Solicitors, she knows all is being done to ensure she makes the best possible recovery.
Experienced catastrophic injury claims specialist solicitor Samuel McFadyen oversees Angela’s case, and established a strong relationship and understanding with the insurers of the driver of the other vehicle in the accident, Aviva, at an early stage.
Between them, a full commitment was made to ensuring Angela’s recovery is priority at all times, with Aviva agreeing to fully fund all rehabilitation costs and provide an extensive package of physical, psychological and financial support to help Angela make the best possible recovery, as quickly as possible.
Physiotherapy started as plans made for car and new home
With the recent major surgery complete, Angela has now started weekly physiotherapy sessions to help strengthen her leg muscles.
Progress is being made. She is able to walk short distances on crutches, meaning an end to the days of being trapped between the same four walls are something Angela can now envisage.
As part of her legal claim she has also been provided with a new electric wheelchair for use outside of her home, with plans also in place for her to undergo a driving assessment in the coming weeks to give her greater freedom.
Angela has also been told by Aviva that they will make funds available as an interim compensation payment to help potentially consider buying a bungalow for herself and husband John, as she has been unable to get upstairs at their current home, and find it impossible to negotiate a large number of steps directly outside of their house.
“It has been a really difficult year in 2018 because there have been a number of setbacks from surgery, which is something which has been disappointing but unavoidable given the serious injuries I suffered,” Angela said.
“It has meant that have been trapped at home on my own for long periods, but with the surgery now done again I can hopefully look forward. The physiotherapy I started a couple of months ago has been making a big difference.
“I have to strengthen my muscles in my legs as they have not really been used for two years, but I can feel the benefits of the physio and I am now able to walk short distances on crutches which is a really positive step forward for me. I can’t go far, but it is significant progress.
“At the start of the year my specialist wouldn’t commit to say I would walk again, but now he is saying I will do, although not to how I was before the accident. He says he won’t stop until I am walking again and that is really positive to hear.”
Psychological support has helped bring an end to ‘night terrors’
Alongside physical care and treatment, Angela continues to be supported psychologically and in many other areas, under the guidance of Case Manager Sarah Cooke, of specialists Bush & Company Rehabilitation.
She still has regular visits from her Occupational Therapist, and says she feels in a positive frame of mind despite all of the struggles of the past two years.
“Psychologically I have come a long way. I can talk openly about the accident now and no longer suffer from night terrors and flashbacks,” she said.
“That has been a big positive for me, and has probably helped me also deal with all the setbacks and the painful surgery this year. It has helped me stay positive and I am still determined to be back walking without crutches or a wheelchair.
“I had a recent meeting with the team supporting me and I went on crutches. I was determined not to go in a wheelchair. That is my mentality, I always want to push myself.
“The thought of perhaps being able to drive again soon, and then use my new wheelchair to get around the shops and out and about myself is motivating me, as is the idea of being able to buy a bungalow in a nice area and again feel safe when I am out. Hopefully that is all ahead in the coming months.”
Solicitor says progress ‘testament to quality of support and determination’
Mr McFadyen says he is delighted to see Angela making progress after another difficult year, and says despite the setbacks, solid progress has been made.
“We have to remember that Angela spent more than four months in hospital and was in an induced coma for a month and when she returned home it was very uncertain how successful her recovery could be and the focus was on adapting her home and making life comfortable,” he said.
“Initially the goals of all involved in her rehabilitation were to manage depression given what she had been through, to help ensure she could manage pain and discomfort, sleep at night and do simple tasks such as prepare a snack for herself at home.
“Now, despite the surgery complications, we are at a stage where Angela is able to walk a very short distance on crutches, is determined to improve and in a positive frame of mind, and we are looking at the possibility of a new, much more suitable home on one floor and the prospect of her driving again.
“That progress is testament to the rehabilitation team we have in place and the specialists supporting Angela, and also most importantly her amazing determination.”