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Leveraging From Adversity – My Workplace Injury

I saw the kangaroo, it was down an embankment on the left hand side of the road…. I throttled off and moved into the right lane to create maximum distance between us. Then the unthinkable happened… It jumped… three massive hops…. right into me…. It was too late, there was nothing I could do.

As I made head on contact with the full sized roo, I didn’t have time to hear the thud, I just flew through the air thinking simply ‘no‘. Just no…. No thank you. No I don’t want or need this to happen. No! I’m heading into night shift, about 300m from the front gate of the Liddell Colliery.

Time slowed down. I hit the bitumen, a mixture of rolling and skidding that seemed never ending. The feeling of my open-faced helmet scrapping within two inches form my prefrontal cortex…. (sorry- I’m really into nuero-science right now)…

I could smell the petrol, hear the engine running and see that the headlight was on, whilst everything somehow seemed pitch black.

I felt like I was in an outer body experience; like I was taking everything in but it wasn’t me.

My knees felt broken. My shin and my fingers too….

I couldn’t reach my crib bag so I painstakingly dragged myself with my elbows to it. I called my OCE Jeremy and reported I had an emergency, that I was just outside the front gate and to call an ambulance. I knew my crew would be first arriving and would be able to relay the relevant information to the paramedics.

The night was still and everything was quiet. I could hear the mining machinery. The dozers tracking along and the trucks emptying their buckets high up on the dump. The lights from the Washery gleamed in the distance; I felt so alone and insignificant.

Every sense seemed to be heightened. I felt the pain in my knees and took my hi-vis jacket off to tie them together to reduce movement. I laid down on the bitumen and tried to breath slow deep breaths to activate my parasympathetic nervous system to stop my body from going into shock.

When the mines first response team arrived I requested the heat blanket and the green whistle. I can’t remember how long it took for the paramedics to arrive. I do remember they were cheerful and quite funny actually; my injury didn’t seem fase them at all, just another day in the office for them I guess.

My boss Sluggar and his lovely wife came to the Singleton Hospital to check on me, I felt guilty as it was a weekend night and they were out enjoying themselves. Whilst getting triaged I asked the nurse for more pain relief for my broken legs. Her response was “You don’t have broken bones, you’d be in more pain”

“Would it be better if I made a scene and cried hysterically then??” I jokingly replied.

The next day after an X-ray the nurse told me it was one broken bone in my ankle. My leg was treated with the equivalent of the type of paper machete you’d see made at a pre school. They gave me crutches and sent me on my way.

I was in a lot of pain still, but out I went, on the crutches, barely knowing how to use them. I actually went to watch some of the local footy that day in Singleton. I was in pretty good spirits considering it was only meant to be one fracture…

I decided to see my own GP on the Monday morning and she sent me to get another X-ray. Sitting there I was absolutely shocked when she came out and said there was not one but three breaks in my left leg! THREE! Also that my left ring finger was broken. She explained they are high-impact fractures and can be harder to identify. Thankfully, in the Coal Industry, my injury was covered as a workplace injury, even though it was on a journey to work.

>>>Fast forward to a finding out I had huge DVT, which led to my return to work date further down the track and light duties to an admin role nowhere near a mine site… One might think that I’d be dragging my feet around, hanging my head and behaving like a victim over these circumstances. However I went in with a positive mindset, enjoyed meeting my new team and started to learn my new role. I remember cleaning the windows and taking real pride in my new surrounding workplace. I learnt the computer system, filed paperwork and really enjoyed the office camaraderie. (Yes, I was still dreaming of operating the trucks again and I did miss shift work… Monday to Friday? No thank you)

Eventually, I was able to go back to work then was encouraged to apply for a management role with my employer. What an amazing opportunity. I had been in management roles for four years preceding, so that experience combined with mining and the new found knowledge of the internal employer systems seemed like a beneficial fit. And it was. After a few interviews, I was successful and there I was, sharing the same position that my boss Sluggar who supported me at the hospital, had.

Its important to appreciate the impact of a positive mindset when overcoming adversity.

Throughout my recovering I also studied my CertIII in Fitness and started to lift weights at the gym. Upper body only (obviously), so I ended up looking like a female version of Joe Swanson from Family Guy…

We all have the ability to re-frame our thoughts, clear negative beliefs and work on our internal conflicts. Coaching can build resilience in your personal life and your career, moving you forward to gain a new perspective with clarity and direction. Your adversity may not be broken bones, in fact its most likely not; the challenges we face every day can be a simple ‘road block‘ that inhibits success in everyday people.

Only you can make the choice to help yourself. Then I can help you, help yourself. Together moving forward with what really matters to you.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or share if you’ve had the opportunity to leverage from adversity.

If you’d like to see if coaching is right for you and have a free strategy session, please book in here. Alternatively my website, phone and email are below.

www.coachingcorporate.com.au

matilda@coachingcorporate.com.au

Direct: 0422 049 711



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