Emotions hit by road trauma


First-hand experience affects counsellor

PAT Igoe, of Launceston, lost use of her arm for about a year, after another car slammed into her stationary vehicle.

She was sitting at a traffic light and a car ran into hers at an angle.

The crash, in 1999, broke her right arm very badly.

She was off work for 12 months.

Mrs Igoe said although the incident was minor, it was the consequences which had a greater effect.

"It was not so much the break, it was the radial nerve damage," she said.

"I could not use that arm for almost 12 months.

"It's pretty well back to full use now."

The Road Trauma Support Tasmania volunteer counsellor said she saw a lot of familiar faces when she was taken to the Emergency Department of the Launceston General Hospital.

The not-for-profit counselling service is based at the LGH.

"All the staff in accident and emergency said, `We know a good counsellor for you'," Mrs Igoe said.

"It was funny the first time, but not when you hear it 50 times over."

The incident gave her first- hand experience of the emotional impact of road trauma.

"For quite a number of months, I was having dreams," Mrs Igoe said.

"I was very, very angry.

"I'm an independent person and I was having to have help.

"At the start I was angry that I could not dress myself, all sorts of things like that.

"But I gradually learnt to accept it and I suppose, in probably two to three months, I got over it."

Mrs Igoe said a crash did not have to be major to cause difficulties.

Even the loss of a car because it was being repaired, created major challenges for people, she said.

"Even things like, the experience of being hit in a car," Mrs Igoe said.

"It can you leave you very, very fragile and very vulnerable."

She said it was a privilege to support people who were under stress.

"You get the real person," Mrs Igoe said.

"You don't get the social mask that we show each other all the time.

"You get to the guts of who they are."

Mrs Igoe said people could call 0427 487 251 to arrange free and confidential counselling.

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