Survivor's happy ending
JILL Hanson’s survival and subsequent recovery from an horrific car crash that “should have” claimed her life is a miracle.
The Tin Can Bay woman’s neck was broken in three places when her Ford Laser was sent spinning out of control after a truck clipped it on the Bruce Highway just south of Gympie in April 2009.
She was resuscitated twice and says she owes her life to emergency rescue crews that took care of her at the scene and the good news she received while in intensive care about the return of her missing dog.
Her white Labrador-cross was thrown from the car and disappeared into the bush for six days.
“All I could think about when I was going in and out of consciousness was ‘where’s Molly,’ Ms Hanson said and added that she may have given up fighting for her life if Molly had not been found.
She said her carer Charles Evans, who had been driving at the time of the crash, refused to stop looking for Molly, which paid off six days later when he found her in an empty house at Mothar Mountain.
Mr Evans rang to tell her the good news and “from then on (she) started to get better”. Her recovery since that day has been nothing short of miraculous.
“Every day is a blessing. Twelve months after the crash I was up and about when I shouldn’t even be here. I’m lucky to be walking, lucky to still be alive,” she said.
“I’m a Danish Hanson girl — we’re tough but I couldn’t have got through this without Charles and my dear friend Carolyn who nursed me back to health when I got out of hospital.”
The driver of the truck was charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle and was alleged to have been speeding at the time.
Mr Evans suffers from post-traumatic stress and can no longer drive on main roads and highways.
“Charles feels guilty but he didn’t do anything wrong. He was doing 80kmh and the truck rammed us something fierce.”
Compensation for pain and suffering and medical costs are still pending while Ms Hanson deals daily with nightmares and flashbacks.
The sounds of helicopters and trucks send her into a state of panic and even the pillows on her bed can bring on a bad memory.
“That’s when I go to bed, pull my doona over my head and hibernate,” Ms Hanson said.
For the most part, Ms Hanson is grateful — to the ambulance paramedic who held her head still, the fireys who kept her calm while cutting her from the wreck and the rescue helicopter crew who took her swiftly to hospital.
“My neck was broken in three places and I died twice, but 12 months later I was up and about. The crash has made me more wary but I’m grateful to be alive. I dodged a bullet.”