Reflections on recoveryApril 27, 2023
This time last year, Kevin Purton and his wife Debbie were in the very early stages of recovery from a motor vehicle accident. Kevin talks about the journey in the lead up to National Road Safety Week (14-21 May).
An experienced, confident and careful motorcycle rider, Kevin (58, of Deloraine) was hit by a vehicle pulling out from a major intersection on the Bass Highway in the North West 15 months ago. Debbie was his pillion passenger.
After a three-month stint in hospital, the couple moved into the Lomandra facility in Ulverstone. Managed by Anglicare Tasmania’s Acquired Injury Support Services, Lomandra provides accommodation and coordinated supports for people recovering from motor vehicle accidents and other events that cause injury.
Sharing his story at the time, Kevin called on motorists to “look left, look right, look bike”. While he’s no longer in a wheelchair, he has ongoing issues with his leg, shoulder and back. Life is a constant round of visits to doctors and physiotherapists but he says the mental battle is the most challenging.
“We’d always been very active with our riding and motor homing,” he explained. “I’ve been self-employed for 30 odd years and that requires you to be driven and self-motivated. When this is taken away from you, it’s hard to accept.”
Kevin says Road Safety Week has much more meaning to him since the accident. He urges anyone who operates a motor vehicle to think very carefully about their responsibility to keep their passengers and every other road user, safe:
Looking back, one of biggest struggles I’ve had is coping with the anger I’ve felt that I’d hurt a loved one. It took me months to understand the accident and how it happened. I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t seen the car. Even though I’m comfortable now in the knowledge that it wasn’t my fault, it still weighs heavily on me.
I’m 100 percent responsible for the safety of my passenger. To anyone who operates a car, please remember that this applies to you, too.
Looking forward to the next stage
Kevin and Debbie are having a new home built in the Meander Valley and they are looking forward to moving in at some stage this year.
“I’d expected to be back at work by now – and in our own home – so it feels like we are still in limbo,” Kevin said. “We’ve both got a long way to go. The reality is that there will be a new normal, and we are still working out how to settle for it and be happy with it.
The Anglicare team are incredible. If it wasn’t for them I don’t know where we’d be. I don’t think the journey would be achievable.
Anglicare’s Acquired Injury Support Services provide short term and long term care to people in both residential and home settings. We are Tasmania’s most experienced provider of services that are funded by the Motor Accidents Insurance Board.
Take the pledge to drive, so others survive, this Road Safety Week.