The local shopping area for my parents are the shops at Highland Road. Many of the shops have changed since I was a child. The Post Office used to be on the corner of Fareham Park road opposite the local pub. Neither of them are then now. The Post Office is now ensconced in the local Co-op at the top of Gudgeheath Lane adjacent to Highland’s Road.
Right near the old Post Office was the local bus stop. Between the bus stop and the Post Office is the zebra crossing. Over the years, things have developed in this area of Highlands Road and traffic has increased. There are now two zebra crossings along Highlands Road with a third going from the shops across Gudgeheath Lane.
It is an easy five minute walk from my parents’ house to the local shopping area. When my mum and dad were working, my mum would shop at the local supermarket. As parking wasn’t my mum’s favourite thing, she would pull her little shopping trolley around the road. This was the same shopping trolley in which I took the laundry around to the launderette at Highland’s Road every Thursday evening. One dustbin bag of dirty clothes in the shopping trolley and one dustbin bag of dirty clothes perched on the top of the shopping trolley.
My parents have lived in their house since January 1968. For years they had their favourite newspapers delivered from the newsagents around the road. When they both retired, they decided to save the delivery fee and go to the shop directly to get them.
So travel now with me back to April 2015 when Fareham County Council was making repairs near the zebra crossing adjacent to the bus stop on Highland Road. At the end of the day the Council workers repairing the road were to cordon off their working area for the safety of the general public.
However, in April of 2015, the repairmen did not cordon off their repairs very well. In fact, they left their work in a hazardous state. So much so, that when my Dad was coming back from getting his newspaper early one morning and began to cross the zebra crossing, he tripped and fell over the uneven road.
Although my Dad was an agile man, he was slow to get up from his fall. He had gone down hard and, in the fall, had hit his head and was a little dazed.
A very kind man, helped him get up and walked him up Fareham Park Road. (I don’t know who this man was but thank-you so much for helping my Dad). The kind gentleman left my Dad at Coppice Way, where he was able to make his way home. After letting himself in the house through the back door, he made his way up to my mother who was still in bed.
“Min,” he said to my mother, “Min, I had a little bit of a scrape.” My mother woke up and looked at my Dad. Blood was pouring down his face. In shock, she shot up out of the bed. She rushed to get dressed in record time and took my Dad down to the emergency room at the hospital. It was later that day, when my father, sore and with his cuts starting to scab over, was discharged from Queen Alexander Hospital.
Now my Dad is quite the stoic Englishman. He rarely complains about pain and suffers quietly through the flu and other illnesses. He silently got through the day with his face bruised and scabbed up. The next day, he spent time lifting things in and out of the boot of his car.
Two nights after his fall at Highlands Road, my Dad got up in the middle of the night to go to the loo. When he came back into the bedroom, he tried to lay back down in bed, but he couldn’t and was crying out in great pain. My mum woke up and, after realizing that my Dad was not okay, call 999. The paramedics quickly arrived at the house and in a chair took my Dad down the stairs into the ambulance and rushed him to the hospital.
In the Emergency Room at Queen Alexandria Hospital, the doctors took X-rays of my Dad and found out that he had broken his neck. They quickly admitted him into the hospital and assigned him to an orthopedic ward. He was put into a neck brace. My father was very lucky that he could still walk especially after lifting all those heavy things in and out of the boot of his car.
Well, one would think the story would end there; his neck would mend and life would move forwards as normal. Unfortunately, my Dad’s story did not go that way.