After near-death experience, James Henry looks for his heroes
JAMES Henry remembers everything about the accident on November 22.
He remembers the weight of the four-wheel drive crushing and dragging him across Mellor St.
He remembers the heat of the asphalt burning his skin, the crack of his ribs breaking and the unbearable pressure on his left leg.
"Honestly mate, it's still so vivid to me, almost as if it happened this afternoon,” James says from his Nambour Hospital bed.
"It's too vivid, I can see it all with perfect clarity.”
James woke up eight days ago, after nearly a month in an induced coma following a horrific accident.
Travelling along Mellor St on his scooter, James was unable to avoid the path of the four-wheel drive, rolling freely after the handbrake was left disengaged.
The mere fact he's alive is astonishing considering the extent of his injuries and a troubled and concerning recovery.
He gestures to where his lower-left leg used to be, a bright white bandage wrapped just under his knee.
Surgery scars and bruises line his body and James runs through the list of injuries; spleen removed, damage to the bladder, drainage from his lungs, not to mention the nerve damage that slurs his speech and impairs the grip in his left hand.
"I was so smashed up, it's astonishing I'm still here,” he says.
"I've technically died four times during my hospital stay because I had massive heart attacks.”
Through the worst of his treatment, James now must deal with his psychological injuries and face a difficult new life as an amputee.
He knows it's a difficult road ahead, but he said he knows he wouldn't be here without the help of the Gympie locals who he credits for saving his life.
"I was lying there, in the street after I got hit and immediately, people around me dropped everything they were doing to help me,” he says.
"I remember two voices, two blokes, and they were just terrific, they saved me.”
He didn't see their faces during the ordeal, but these two strangers organised James' rescue before emergency services arrived.
They worked alongside other bystanders to remove his body from the wreckage of the accident, desperately trying to stop the severe bleeding in his leg.
"I don't know who they are, but I hope they're reading this,” James says.
"They, along with everybody else there, saved my life - I can't express how grateful I am.”
It's the selfless actions of all those who helped James; his family and friends, the tireless work of the emergency and hospital staff and the community he credits for keeping him going through the darkest days of his life.
He said he holds no animosity to the owner of the four-wheel drive which nearly killed him, instead offering his sympathies.
"It was a freak accident, there was no animosity, no motive - he's my age, he has a family and he's had his life turned upside down too.”
Ahead of an uncertain new year, he's looking to a brighter future.
"Every day I wake up, here and I think 'here we go again',” he says.
"But this restores my faith in people - I'm so grateful to Gympie, I am truly blessed.”
James considers just being alive the best Christmas gift he could've asked for.
He faces another operation on his leg before he's released, but he's happy to take it slow this time around.