I don’t cry!
Tuesday 29th October 2013, a day etched in my brain like my birthday.
As usual I was running late that day and the traffic in central London didn’t make it any easier, nevertheless I managed to arrive at the House of Commons, Portcullis House just before my main guests.
Around half an hour before the launch was due to start more press had started gathering than guests and being the host, I was getting pulled in all directions.
Guests were arriving and wanted to introduce me to their guests and of course to congratulate me and my team and wish us good luck. Press were waiting for bytes and of course my team were awaiting for directions from me as the event had gone beyond its start time nevertheless the buzz was amazing.
In this commotion I was called down stairs to greet some of our celebrity guests at security. As I started to make my way down I slipped and stumbled down a few steps. Thinking it was a small fall I started to get back on my feet and was laughing the fall off, as my colleagues came rushing towards me to help me up.
Unfortunately as I got up, I felt something around my knee area break. I simply wasn’t able to put my foot down on the floor, without excruciating pain. I felt as though I had no knee supporting my leg and simply froze on the spot. After around half an hour of panicking everyone and deep thanks to my good friend Jane who forced two tablets of codeine with lots of water down me, not to mention almost carrying me to the lift I managed to make it back to the Boothroyd Room, where the launch was set to take place.
As soon as I walked into the room all the guests, parliamentarians and celebrities had arrived and there was a swarm of photographers flashing their cameras into my face.
I painfully bare foot stood with Kimberley Walsh, Dynamo and Kareena Kapoor Khan to pose for pictures for the press and then took my seat for the ceremony to begin.
I had dreamt for this day in my head many times. I had planned for the event to be hosted in a particular way, but due to my fall although it was going well it still wasn’t going the way I had planned in my head. Apart from the huge press presence and all guests being there, I felt as though I had failed already and was sat panicking as to how I would stand and do my speech and honour my celebrity guests.
My speech and presentation had been planned the night before and I remember it being my main panic for the day, however at this moment in time I was just thinking about my pain and to get to a hospital as quickly as I could, but then everyone looked as though they were enjoying themselves.
For some it was their first experience at HOC and that too in the presence of some leading MP’s and celebrities. As our speaker was introducing me to the audience I looked up and saw the faces of all my friends and guests from Bradford, feeling proud that they were here in London proving to the nation that Bradford is here and it’s making its mark. I saw our great supporters from Leeds Bradford Airport and British Airways. Especially for the event BA along with LBA had arranged and gone out of their way to accommodate all my guests to fly into London from Leeds Bradford Airport. I couldn’t have asked for any bigger support than this, they were truly fabulous. I knew then that irrespective of my pain, I had to get up and deliver and go ahead with the launch as I owed it to them.
The entire launch ceremony took just over an hour. The schedule was planned for an hour then to go on for dinner, but I couldn’t resist Dynamo’s impromptu magic act (not to mention his praise for Bradford and my work), which had all our guests excited and so I continued on with the evening. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. I stayed behind for some press interviews at HOC, before joining my guests for dinner. The pain was so unbearable that I had to be carried out and into the restaurant.
I had fallen at around 7pm and I reached the restaurant just before 9pm. On arrival I was immediately seated with a huge ice pack on my knee and a chair to rest my leg on. Dinner finished at around midnight and my excruciating pain continued. Despite persistent requests from my friends and colleagues to go to hospital I refused as I didn’t want to ruin the evening for them. It was a night of celebration and for my Bradford colleagues and friends it was a night of achievement as Bradford was the main celebration at HOC.
Following the meal my friend and I headed to our hotel in a taxi. Again I had to be carried in to the taxi, as the pain wouldn’t allow me to walk at all, by this time, my leg had swollen and had started to go black in colour. As the taxi arrived at our hotel I again struggled to get out and had to be supported by hotel staff. As we got to reception, I let out a painful scream and I knew this was it now, my pain threshold was breaking. A taxi was called again and I was driven straight into UCL hospital.
My friend accompanied me to hospital. UCL was a 15 minute drive from our hotel and within the first half hour of arriving (around 1.30am) I had my X-Ray done. After repeatedly asking what was happening and constantly asking for pain killers, I was told at around 5am that I may have sprained my leg, I was given crutches and copies of my X-Ray to take back with me to give to my GP when I get to Bradford. I had decided that night to return to Bradford, despite plans to stay in London to complete post launch work and plan the first London edition, as the pain was unbearable and felt I needed to be in a place I knew and was home for me.
My friend and I reached our hotel for 530am to rest. I couldn’t sleep at all due to the pain and the following morning the ride back to Bradford was one of the most painful journeys I had ever taken. Thank goodness for another one of my friends, who proved to be very patient driver and great company to distract me from my pain!
As soon as I arrived into Bradford back at my parents’ home, my parents were in shock and distress I had come home on crutches, and spent no more than 10 minutes telling them it was a sprain, took some pain killers and went straight to bed.
Morning came early as the pain killers wore off quickly. I had just about managed a shower and had a friend drive me into A&E. Upon handing over the X-Rays from London I was immediately questioned as to how I managed to survive my journey and I was lucky I came in when I did, because the London X-ray showed I had ruptured my quadriceps tendon and had I arrived any later I was in danger of losing my leg. A second X-Ray was taken by Bradford Royal Infirmary to confirm this and I was admitted into hospital for an immediate operation.
I had never in the thirty odd years of my life been in hospital or been severely ill. That first night as I lay in hospital, text messages were flooding in, as the launch had made it into almost every national and international newspaper. The newspaper launch was covered by BBC Look North and various satellite channels, congratulatory messages were flooding in, but it all meant nothing as for the first time, I realised why my parents still treat me as their little girl, because their little girl just wanted them to be there, by her side to tell her that just like the success of my newspaper launch I will be successful again – in achieving 100% health.
Following the news I had been admitted in my parents came to see me in hospital that night. My friends were already with me, trying to make light humour of the situation, however as soon as my parents walked in, there was silence, as we all tried very hard to control our tears. Strangely seeing my parents the pain moved from my leg to my throat and heart. There was a big lump in my throat as I saw my parents approach my bed. My friends left at this point.
At that moment neither my parents nor I acknowledged the success of my London newspaper launch. They just hugged me and told me everything will be OK. There were no other words they just had tears in their eyes…….
My tears were not visible, as I am the strong one in our family. I am always there giving strength to my family, so why should that change now…..I don’t do crying!
That night I knew my life had changed forever…Whether it changed due to the success of my career or due to my health, is something that has taken me a year to evaluate as you will come to discover in my future blogs.
However, a request if I may. Please take a moment out of your life if you can to reflect and think about where you’re heading and what is it that you want from your life. What has life guaranteed for you?