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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: Off Topic:
A rather unusual anniversary

Forum Admin / Moderator

Dec 11 2012, 7:57am

Views: 283
A rather unusual anniversary Can't Post

(Warning, long, nostalgia got the better of me).

This is an anniversary post with a difference. It's not commemorating a birthday, or the day I joined TORN. It commemorates a day when TORN and my real life collided – and when TORNadoes proved themselves to be the best of friends.

Ten years ago I was a journalism student in north London. A year previously I'd taken the day out of my studies for my undergraduate degree to do a spot of Christmas shopping and hang out outside the world premiere of FOTR. It had been fun.

In 2002, despite being technically closer to the action, I wasn't sure if I could be bothered doing the same for TTT's London premiere. I prevaricated most of the day but, by about 4pm or maybe a bit earlier, I made a snap decision – I wasn't doing any useful work, I might as well go. I posted a quick message on TORN to say I was off, gathered together my things and left my halls of residence for the annoyingly slow Tube journey into central London.

I kind of had a mini-deadline in my head as to when things were going to kick off and what time it would make sense being there by. In any event, I was in a bit of rush when I got to Leicester Square tube station. If any of you have been to Leicester Square you'll know it's a confusing sort of station with several exits. I still wasn't used to London at that time, so I picked an exit, popped up above ground, and my first reaction was “bother, on the wrong side of the road”. I crossed the road. I looked around. “Darn,” I said. “I was on the right side after all.”

I went to cross back, stepping and looking at the same time.


Eledhwen vs stretch limousine carrying chiropodists to a Christmas party. Eledhwen 0, limo 1.

I remember looking down at my right leg, which was suddenly rather painful, and wondering where my foot had gone – my white trainer was no longer there and it was dark. Then I folded to the floor, though sadly I didn't faint. I remember a man coming and holding my head and telling me not to worry, he was a fireman, and policemen telling onlookers to move back, and then a paramedic on a motorbike arrived and gave me some painkillers and tried to cut my coat off (I refused). Finally an ambulance arrived and whisked me off under blue lights to University College Hospital, where the A&E team gave me gas (which made me giggly, but didn't take away the pain) and reset my foot. I remember the nurses and doctors talking in rather low voices about “getting the pulse back” to my foot, but oddly it didn't strike me as all that serious at the time.

I managed to call my parents, which was a weird conversation. They'd had no idea I was going out that night, were obviously worried, but I just thought I'd broken my leg (hoho) and was quite cheerful given the circumstances. I was mostly worried that I wouldn't be posting any updates on TORN and that people would be concerned. Even by 2002 I think we'd had a few members join and then vanish and I knew there was a chance someone might wonder where I was. I gave Mum my login and password and then they put me into general anaesthetic and wheeled me off to theatre.

I woke up the next morning feeling absolutely horrible. I was sick and groggy from painkillers and in pain anyway and still in shock. Some of the orthopaedic team – not my main surgeon, he was lovely – appeared at the end of my bed and said “right, we've fixed you, now we're handing you over to plastic surgery”. It was at that point that I first realised that I hadn't just broken my leg and wouldn't be hopping out for six weeks on crutches. What had happened was that the impact of the collision with the limo's bumper had snapped my tibia and fibula – both the big bones below the knee – about two inches above my ankle. It was a compound fracture, breaking through skin and muscle and nerves and the artery leading to my foot. It was pretty nasty. The ortho team vanished. I lay there feeling worse.

The limo driver came to see me, which was sweet; I think he felt some responsibility – in the end the police didn't press any charges, he was under the speed limit (30 mph) but doing about 25 mph, which, on that road at that time of year, is fast. I should have looked better though.

Later that day my parents arrived from up north, and so did my wonderful wonderful plastic surgeon. Mr Floyd was a young consultant surgeon, he was sweet and calming and when he found out my dad was a GP made sure he was properly included in all the discussions about how to sort out the big hole in my leg. I was transferred up to the Royal Free, which has a specialist plastic surgery unit, and over the next two and a half weeks Mr Floyd and his astonishing team got me into theatre two or three times to take muscle and skin grafts from my left thigh and use them to fill in the gaps in my right leg – seriously, it's amazing what they can do!

But it was a miserable time in hospital. My parents couldn't be there all the time. I was acutely conscious I was not only going to miss the planned get-together to see TTT but also that I had train tickets for it for me and some others (we sorted that out).

The high spot was definitely when Mum told me, somewhat bemused, of the messages of support her post about me breaking my leg had had on TORN. I don't think she'd realised until then that TORN was a real community, full of real, caring people. The next week, a few of the British TORNadoes came to see me with a whole sheaf of messages from all around the world – it was seriously touching. It made me cry. Trinity the Purple, who's left TORN since then but is still a friend, visited and was there when the doctors were seeing if leeches would stimulate the blood flow on my leg. She christened the leech Fred.

It was a long journey back from that hospital bed. I got out on December 27th, spent a few weeks at home, a fortnight back at uni, and then another fortnight in hospital having more skin grafts done. And then came long months on crutches, first waiting for the wound to heal so I could start swimming again, and then waiting until I was able to weight-bear, and then switching to one of those moonboot things, and then variations on crutches/moonboot until I could ditch both.

I tried not to let it stop me – I went to the Howard Shore concert on crutches, and stood outside a theatre in the West End waiting for Ian McKellen after he'd performed in Dance of Death, on crutches, with friends from TORN. TORN was a great part of that year. I spent a lot of time on the boards, translating articles from French into English and writing parodies and all sorts. And in September I took my crutch to the States and Annael, Annael's niece Diamond, Draupne and I did a mammoth fantastic roadtrip to Moab and then back to a get-together of TORNadoes in Salt Lake City.

By the time I got back from the States I was ready to get rid of the crutch and get back to normal life. I'd found a job, found a tiny flat, I started rowing again and I've never looked back.

Obviously my family and the utterly amazing, brilliant care of the NHS (go socialist medicine) had a lot to do with my recovery, but I think TORN had a lot to do with keeping my spirits up. Though I'd only met a handful of you, collectively TORN cared. In fact I got more sympathy from you than I did from some of the other students on my course. That sort of thing matters so much in times like that.

Since then TORN's expanded massively. We now have well over 8,600 registered users and we're definitely the biggest and best Tolkien forum out there (I think so anyway). Yet I believe that at its heart, TORN retains that sense of community and looking out for each other. It's why, ten years after I didn't lose my leg and over 13 since I first posted, I'm still here. Cheers to you all.

Storm clouds

(This post was edited by Eledhwen on Dec 11 2012, 7:58am)

Subject User Time
A rather unusual anniversary Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 11 2012, 7:57am
    Thank you so much Starling Send a private message to Starling Dec 11 2012, 8:15am
        I think you've gone through much more than I did really Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 11 2012, 10:57pm
            Well, I've never had a pet leech, Starling Send a private message to Starling Dec 12 2012, 6:09am
                The plastic surgery people were open to all sorts of things Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 12 2012, 8:12am
    Wow, what a story. DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Dec 11 2012, 11:53am
        I saw it in York Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 11 2012, 11:07pm
    Cheers to you, too, Eledhwen - thank you for sharing and being here! // NottaSackville Send a private message to NottaSackville Dec 11 2012, 1:07pm
        Thanks, Notta! // Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 11 2012, 11:07pm
    I remember your mum's message FingonOfPittsburgh Send a private message to FingonOfPittsburgh Dec 11 2012, 2:36pm
        Neither did I, at the time Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 11 2012, 11:08pm
    Happy Unusual Anniversary! Alassëa Eruvande Send a private message to Alassëa Eruvande Dec 11 2012, 2:41pm
        Thanks! Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 11 2012, 11:09pm
    I will always remember Annael Send a private message to Annael Dec 11 2012, 3:50pm
        I don't think there are any photos of me with the crutch on that trip Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 11 2012, 11:11pm
    What a fantastic testimony Ardamírë Send a private message to Ardamírë Dec 11 2012, 4:57pm
        We have Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 11 2012, 11:12pm
    Thank you for your wonderful story Lily Fairbairn Send a private message to Lily Fairbairn Dec 11 2012, 6:20pm
        That was fun! Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 11 2012, 11:13pm
    While preparing for The Hobbit premiere Ataahua Send a private message to Ataahua Dec 11 2012, 6:28pm
        I can't quite believe it's been a decade Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 11 2012, 11:14pm
    I remember your Mum entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 11 2012, 11:19pm
        Not really Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 11 2012, 11:25pm
            Scars Starling Send a private message to Starling Dec 12 2012, 6:13am
    An usually fine recalling/anniversary silneldor Send a private message to silneldor Dec 12 2012, 12:53am
        Yes, I used a pull-buoy for a long time Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 12 2012, 8:16am
    Memories and anniversaries Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Dec 12 2012, 1:12am
        That was a lovely occasion! Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 12 2012, 8:17am
    Omigosh. dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Dec 12 2012, 1:17am
        I was very lucky Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 12 2012, 8:18am
    I remember your Mum posting Silverlode Send a private message to Silverlode Dec 12 2012, 3:54am
        Heheh Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 12 2012, 8:10am
    I still have the Get Well card you sent me Ginger Send a private message to Ginger Dec 12 2012, 6:26pm
        I've still got yours, somewhere Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 12 2012, 9:20pm
    I remember that! Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Dec 13 2012, 1:39am
        Thanks, Aunt Dora! // Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 13 2012, 7:58am
    Wow. Now that's real courage, hanging in there Ethel Duath Send a private message to Ethel Duath Dec 13 2012, 3:08am
        Ha! no ... Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 13 2012, 8:00am
    Ten years! Kimi Send a private message to Kimi Dec 14 2012, 8:29pm
        Kia ora, Kimi! Eledhwen Send a private message to Eledhwen Dec 14 2012, 10:09pm


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