Skye thanks her lucky stars
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
SKYE POTTS spent her 18th birthday last week in a wheelchair, but is thankful simply to be alive.
The Ballina teenager, a Year 12 student at St John's College, Woodlawn, is even happy to be back studying for her Higher School Certificate after almost being killed in a motorbike accident early last month.
She is already counting down the days until she can get back on her beloved bike.
Her enthusiasm is helped by the fact she cannot recall any details from the day of the life-threatening crash, except for eating sushi for lunch with a friend in Byron Bay.
"I woke up in a hospital bed and said 'where the hell am I?'" Skye said.
"All I could remember was leaving the sushi place in Byron, then waking up with my mum there in hospital."
As she awoke, Skye's mother, Margaret, broke the news to her that she had been hit by a car while turning on to the Pacific Highway near Bangalow on her motorbike.
Skye had collided with a northbound vehicle after attempting to turn right out of Sunnycrest Avenue, 1km north of Bangalow, on Thursday, April 7.
She was rushed to hospital by ambulance unconscious and with head, leg, shoulder, foot and spinal injuries.
The first her parents heard of the accident was when Skye's father received a phone call from Lismore Base Hospital staff asking if she had any allergies because she was about to be operated on.
"We went straight to the hospital and were told to expect the worst because they were concerned about her head injuries," Margaret said.
"Then they thought she would lose her leg."
Skye survived the operation, but will be unable to walk properly for 18 months until steel rods are removed from her right foot.
Bones in her right leg and foot were shattered, her shoulder dislocated and spine cracked in two places as a result of the crash.
After three days in hospital, the former gymnast is back at school and is unfazed by having to complete her Year 12 studies on crutches.
Skye will be unable to ride a motorbike again for three years.
"I'll definitely be riding again," she said. "It's 18 months until I can drive and three years until I can get back on a motorbike ? and I will be getting back on. I love it."
However, like a typical teenager, the temporary immobility is the least of Skye's worries.
"All I cared about was what happened to my belly bar (navel piercing)," she said.
"I woke up and it wasn't in there anymore, because it got pulled out before my operation. I just wanted my belly bar back in."
Margaret said her daughter's crash should act as a warning for other motorbike riders to wear professionally-fitted helmets.
"That helmet saved her life," she said. "It's so important to have a properly fitted helmet."
Skye also attributed her survival to people at the scene of the accident who stopped traffic on the highway and called triple-0.
"Everyone was so good stopping and helping me and the hospital staff were brilliant," she said.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone who helped. I don't know who a lot of them were, but I'm happy to be here and it's because of them."