A life cut short

By Meeghan, 23 January, 2012

On a recent road trip, a dear friend of mine happily reminded me that I am turning 40 this year. Being older than me he was able to offer some insight to this numerical milestone by explaining how for him it was a period of great reflection – not only of his past but for that of his future.

This conversation instantly reminded me of an article written by John Silvester in the Age, January 21, 2012. It is about Dr Heather Hunter, a country GP who suffered life altering injuries after being run off the road while cycling. More than two years after her accident, her legal team finally had their day in court and the article covers in great depth, the complex issues surrounding the case, in particular the legal rules of admissibility.

But what struck such a chord with me were the victim impact statements from Dr Heather Hunter and her husband, Dr John Jarman; their words relating to what life once was and what is has now become.

Dr Hunter said, ‘‘I have become depressed, I can’t show people how to dance, and I can’t ride, walk or run or do my exercises or even remember what they were or how to do them.”

It is a tragic story that acutely and painfully illustrates how our lives can be permanently altered by one chance encounter or event. I read this article, with tears in my eyes and felt terrible guilt for taking my own good health and mobility for granted. It is completely obvious to say this but it bears repeating, health is precious.

After reading this article could I be inspired in 2012 by the globalised media interpretation of health, that often compares women to waif’s or the latest series of the Biggest Loser? The short answer is no. In honour of Dr Hunters legacy, my personal thoughts are to savour life’s simplest moments and to exercise and move every day, appreciating this opportunity as if it were my last - because I might not get a chance tomorrow.

John Silvester’s article is moving and it is a thought provoking read. If you get a few minutes to read the link, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

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