“…it’s about security, it’s about making people feel safe…”
Celia’s dream had been to get her motorbike license when she turned 50, and she had her husband were members of a local social riding group. Celia calls herself a fair-weather rider, not one to take unnecessary risks. On the day of the accident, on a ride from Richmond to Bothwell, she was struggling to decide whether to continue on due to unfavourable weather. In the end she went on, and it nearly cost her her life.
Celia explains, “I was going round a gentle curve, I don’t know what happened, I didn’t take the corner well and hit the gravel. I remember thinking at the time, ‘I think I’m in trouble!’” She remembers hitting the guide post with her leg, and she was later told that the bike had hit a rock and somersaulted, throwing her off some ten metres into a ditch, where she landed on her back among the reeds, in pain and struggling to breathe.
“The next thing I remember is the ambulance crew standing there, and the rest of the bike group directing traffic. There was a volunteer ambulance crew from Bothwell, and they gave me some pain relief and kept me warm. I was complaining about pain, and a funny feeling in my body, and they called for the paramedics from Oatlands”. It was the Oatlands cparamedics who made the decision not to take her on a rough road trip, but to call the helicopter.
The two paramedic crews worked together to carefully move Celia onto the spinal board, but they kept her on the side of the road until the helicopter was ready. Celia remembers experiencing incredible pain with every small movement. “I just recall thinking I need to get to hospital as soon as I can, every time I move I can feel bones clunking.”
Celia is still so grateful for the services of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. “I can’t imagine how I would have coped if we’d had to drive for two hours to get to hospital. The pain with every movement was so severe, I’m so grateful the helicopter was able to get me there so quickly, and so smoothly.”
“The helicopter needs to keep running. It needs to continue, and have as many resources thrown at it as possible. I’m only one story among many, but it’s more than just picking people up off the side of the road, it’s about security, it’s about making people feel safe, and that’s exactly what happened with me. I was feeling dread—will I walk again?—and the helicopter’s there, the staff were amazing. I just remember voices and kindness and feeling secure, and that means a lot when you’re a t a point of time when you’re at the most vulnerable you’ve ever been.”