We were out on the bike, minding our own business, Jan on the back as usual.  The car in front just pulled a U-turn and we went into the side of him.  Jan was catapulted 30 feet along the road, and I went straight up in the air and back down again.  When I came to, I could hear Jan whimpering and tried to crawl towards her but someone was holding me down.

I spent all night sitting by Jan's bedside before they gave me an MRI scan and discovered I'd broken my spine.  So she was shipped off to Stoke Mandeville and I went to another hospital.  A week after the accident, Jan phoned to let me know that she'd been told she'd never walk again.  I wanted to tear the consultant off a strip for telling her that.  We both sat on the phone crying.

Rob and Jan at the beach

The hospital told me if I could walk up and down four stairs in my body brace that I could be discharged.  I knew that meant I could see Jan, so I forced myself to do it.  The next day, I was at Stoke Mandeville.

Jan was there for 10 months and it really was the best of bad times.  I had a transit van that I put a blow up bed in and I lived in the car park at weekends so that I could be close to her.  I'd go in and get takeaway for everyone on the ward, and we'd go down and all watch a DVD together.  We made a lot of friends.  There were some really difficult times, times when I was worried and fighting Jan's corner for her, but we got through them.

I wasn't sure about counselling, but it's helped

Finally, everything was coming up roses.  We got the new bungalow, the hospital side of things was sorted, the family were getting back together, Jan was coming home to us.  The final block fitted in and I suddenly found myself screaming inside, 'What about me?!'

I never felt guilty about the crash; although I was driving, there was nothing I could have done.  But for all those months, all my attention, everyone's attention, was on Jan.  Then came the calm after the storm and I found myself wondering if anyone would ask how my day was for a change.  You find yourself with the time to think back and the little things pick on you, and prey on you and you find yourself thinking that no one cares.  It's only once you've survived you realise what you've been through and I just couldn't deal with it.

I wasn't sure about counselling, but it's helped.  I tried it at Stoke Mandeville but I don't think I was ready for it then.  Since, it's made a difference; they told me not to bottle stuff up, so now I let everything out.  You have to, or it will make you ill.

Our relationship could not get any better, now.  The accident brought us closer together; no one else will ever really know everything we went through, and that cements us.  I do things for her at times that most husbands will never have to do, but we can talk about anything because we've done everything.  And it's a very even relationship; she depends on me, but I depend on her too.

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