There is no getting around it, 2020 has not been a great year so far, but for some it has been worse than others. That said, this strange year has prompted people facing really tough times to achieve incredible things.
Take the amazing Captain Tom Moore for example. At 99 years old, he set out to raise a little bit of money for “for the sake of the nurses and the NHS”, by walking 100 laps of his garden by his 100th birthday on 30th April. He completed his task ahead of schedule, capturing the hearts of the nation and raising a jaw-dropping £32,794,701.
Heroes during this global pandemic have come in all shapes, sizes, careers, and ages, and we would like to honour an incredible young person close to the hearts of the Single Use Surgical team.
19-year-old Ailsa Mair’s life changed in January 2020. It was a normal day, on her normal drive to work, when she was involved in a serious road traffic collision. Ailsa was about 5 minutes from home when she pulled out of a junction and a car drove into the driver’s side of her car. The force of the collision spun her car around several times and crushed the steering column into Ailsa’s legs.
“At the time I didn’t realise how bad it was,” Ailsa recalled.
“My first thought was ‘oh no, my car is ruined’ as I’d only had it 3 months.
“When the car stopped spinning I just tried to get out, but the drivers side door was crushed into me so I tried getting out to climb over the passenger side, but my feet were just stuck on the pedals.
“People were stopping to help, and a man came to check I was OK. I said I was fine I just really needed to get out.
“My mum drives the same way to work and I knew she would be passing the junction soon, so I asked someone to try and stop her when she comes to the junction.
“I also knew I’d need to call work to tell them I wouldn’t be in tomorrow.”
Sadly, it would be much longer before Ailsa was able to return to work.
The emergency services arrived quickly and began to cut Ailsa out of her crushed car, all the while she was insistent that “she could get out now”. Ailsa had no idea at this point the severity of her injuries, even when the air ambulance arrived. Ailsa had in fact badly fractured her pelvis, a potentially life-threatening injury.
Once out of the car and onto a stretcher, the doctor from the air ambulance was able to tightly strap Ailsa’s pelvis to prevent any further movement. It is thought that this action meant that Ailsa’s fractures began knitting at the scene.
“I was still oblivious to how serious this was, even on a stretcher on my way to the major trauma centre at Stoke Hospital.” Ailsa said.
“My mum turned up at the hospital, I was having scans and people were rushing around and then I started to think: OK, maybe this is a bit serious.”
Ailsa’s suffered a number of serious injuries during the collision including 6 fractures to her pelvis, lacerations to her spleen and kidneys, as well as damage to her liver.
Surgeons were on stand-by to operate, but remarkably, Ailsa required no surgery. After many scans and consultations, it was decided that the best course of action would be not to operate on the fractures as this may cause future problems for Ailsa.
After just 2 weeks in hospital and with support from the amazing physiotherapy team, Ailsa was able to go home.
“The staff at the hospital were incredible. They were really positive and kept me going.”
Ailsa was discharged but could only walk with the help of two crutches. Three months later she met with her consultant who said that she was healing incredibly. With the go ahead from her consultant, Ailsa set herself a challenge to walk 5 km a day for the NHS Charities Together, as a thank you to the amazing staff who looked after her.
“I thought if Captain Tom can do it, I can do it.”
At this point, Ailsa was still unable to climb the stairs, sleeping in a makeshift bedroom in a hospital bed on the ground floor of her parents’ home. But she began walking 5 km a day, slowly reducing her use of crutches from two, to one, to nothing.
“My body was hating it to start with, and I have had a couple of weeks off due to the heat. I actually fainted one day and then I overdid it at physio so I ended up in a lot of pain and went back on two crutches at one point which was heart-breaking, but I’m building myself back up.”
To date, Ailsa has raised over £1500 for the NHS Charities Together through her efforts.
She said: “I have been blown away by the support. I’ve received some really generous donations and even people I don’t know have been donating.
“It is really touching.”
If you would like to donate to Ailsa’s cause, please click here. Alternatively, if you can’t donate, please feel free to share Ailsa’s story.
Ailsa, we think you are amazing.