April thanks Ballarat from hospital bed after crash

IT WAS the crash that shocked Ballarat, but even being hit by a car couldn’t dampen schoolgirl April’s spirits. 

“Apparently I was cracking jokes to the ambos the whole time. No one could get me to shut up even though I had a broken jaw,” April said.

Recovering at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, April said she did not really remember the accident – only the lead-up. 

“I was standing on the sidewalk because I thought it would be the easiest area to be picked up – they could pick me up and then do a u-turn,” she said. 

“I was just checking my phone and I heard tyres screech and I looked up and then there was a car right in front of me.

“I don’t remember anything else, other than thinking I was asleep but waking up and there were paramedics around me.”

April suffered numerous breaks to her jaw, a broken collar bone, left wrist and left femur, and tears to three ligaments in her right knee.

She underwent surgeries, including on her jaw and a knee reconstruction, but much of her rehabilitation has been delayed until her collar bone can take weight again. 

“My swelling around my jaw has just come down. I couldn’t eat for ages. I was so hungry,” April said. 

“I had to be pumped with nutrition. Apparently the last thing I said before I went into surgery was that I couldn’t wait to eat real food again.

“When I came out of surgery, they gave me ice-cream. It was the best thing ever – like ecstasy, just to have real food in my stomach again.” 

The 16-year-old was on her way to her first day of year 11 at Phoenix College when the accident occurred on January 29. 

She was standing on a nature strip at the corner of Vickers and Rowland streets in Sebastopol waiting to be picked up when she was hit about 8.30am.

One car indicated to change lanes and another car swerved to avoid it, mounting the nature strip and hitting her and then the house.

In her recovery, April keeps setting herself little goals. 

“I’ve just been setting myself mini goals, like eating again or being able to sponge myself,” she said. 

Yesterday was the first day April showered by herself since the accident.

“It could be anywhere from six weeks to two months before I start walking again, but four months before I’m walking properly.”

On Wednesday last week, April celebrated her 16th birthday in the hospital.

“I had my family and boyfriend up, the nurses surprised me with a cake and I was taken down to see the meercats.”

With so many serious injuries, the one that has annoyed her the most was a chipped tooth. 

“I’m glad I didn’t damage my teeth much, but there’s this chip and it keeps annoying me. My tongue keeps finding it – I feel it more than I feel my legs!”

nicole.cairns@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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