OTWAYS couple John and Jennifer Swain made it to their family Christmas lunch “by sheer willpower” after a car crash and seven weeks in hospital.
Mrs Swain said she and her husband were lucky to be alive, let alone celebrate Christmas, after the car they were travelling in crashed into a tree on the Great Ocean Road on November 6.
The Glenaire couple was driving home from Mrs Swain’s mother’s funeral, and they were about three kilometres from their destination when the crash happened.
“We went off the road and went into a big cypress tree,” she said.
Mrs Swain suffered a fractured sacrum in her back, a broken rib, a punctured lung and nerve damage, and she wore a collar for her neck vertebrae for six weeks.
Her husband fractured his sternum and wrist, and hit his head on the car roof.
Mrs Swain said John had suffered a “slight heart attack” at the time of the accident, but authorities were unsure whether it caused the crash.
“We were in hospital for almost seven weeks, we only just got home on Christmas Eve by sheer willpower,” Mrs Swain said.
“We’re still not fully recovered – we can’t drive, we need home help, we’re at home but we need a lot of help,” she said.
“They told me at the time it would take three months for the nerve damage to recover – while I look fine on the outside, inside isn’t good – but coming home has helped in the recovery.”
Mrs Swain said her family had been “absolutely amazing” with offers of help since the crash and for preparing Christmas lunch.
She hopes to recover in time to return to her job at Lavers Hill K-12 College for term one.
Mr and Mrs Swain had only been driving a new car for a week before the crash, having traded in a 2008 Holden Astra for a Holden Trax.
“It probably saved our lives, because of the airbags,” Mrs Swain said.
“People used to get crushed by motors being pushed in, but that now doesn’t happen,” she said.
“Even though we’ve got quite serious injuries, we know having this new car went a long way to preventing the injuries from being worse.
“I feel we’re lucky we’re alive.”