27th April 2016 - That's a date I'll not forget in a hurry.
'I'm going over', I called out to my husband, Paul, as I pushed off with my 'clipped-in' right foot and overbalanced off my bike onto the side of the road. I remember Paul bending over me as I lay on the tarmac, and then nothing until I was in hospital telling someone I couldn't see too well out of one eye.
It had been the third day of our holiday in Oxfordshire and as usual we had planned a bike ride, to Buckingham, in this case. Only we didn't make it.
Having stopped to check our route, my tumble changed everything, and the next part of this account is what I've pieced together from those who were there...
An SUV towing a horse box trailer coming up behind me had moved out to overtake me, an upright cyclist. So far so good. However my horizontal position was not expected, and while the SUV managed to manoeuvre around my prone body, the trailer didn't and hit me in the back and pushed me a little further along the road.
I ended up between the car and trailer wheels.
Both an ambulance vehicle and an air ambulance were summoned and arrived quickly. My injuries seem to have determined that speed was of the essence and while the vehicle would take 40 minutes to reach the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, the air ambulance would take only 10 minutes. So the helicopter was to be my mode of transport.
Paul said he couldn't believe the speed with which I was divested of my cycling gear, - (so glad I can't remember that, but I did have clean underwear on!), assessed, given painkillers and oxygen and carried across a field to the waiting helicopter.
Nobody had fussed him, everyone was calm. I learnt afterwards that Lee, the paramedic, got me to count to ten, which, given the occasion and being generally rubbish at figures, came as a pleasant surprise.
I think Ed, the doctor, knew I could have serious internal injuries as my rib formation looked interesting? As it happens things weren't too good. At the JR they discovered I had 10 rib fractures including a flail, both lungs were punctured, but only one needed a drain, both shoulders were broken, along with a cheekbone, and one retina was damaged.
Recently I've been back to see 'my' helicopter and the team for the first time . Fortunately, Lee, who was one of those who helped me, was on duty for my visit.
He, and everyone I met at RAF Benson, were the loveliest people you can imagine, professional, modest and encouraging. TVAA is such a special service and deserves all the support we can give it.
Thanks to them, and the fantastic JR medical team, I am now well on the road to recovery and hope to return to work soon.