Future dreams on hold
SHAUN Kelly should have been packing his bags today to begin a dream holiday in Britain with his wife Tanya.
Instead he sits in a wheelchair at his Coutts Crossing home wondering if he'll ever fully recover from the devastating injuries that almost took his life.
Shaun, 29, was run down by a car as he walked along Roberts Dr, South Grafton, late on August 24.
The impact threw him across the road and into the path of another car travelling in the opposite direction.
Shaun lay on the pavement, his pelvis and both hips broken.
Six ribs on his left side and two on his right were smashed.
His lung was punctured.
Although the 18-year-old female driver of the second car stopped to help, the driver of the first car paused briefly before speeding off and leaving Shaun for dead.
Shaun and Tanya Kelly, married for just 18 months, had been planning to fly to England tomorrow for a friend's wedding.
Then they were going to explore Ireland - their last holiday together before raising a family.
All these plans have been shelved for the foreseeable future as Shaun gets through months of painful rehabili- tation.
It began as a night of cele- bration at the Aussie Hotel in South Grafton. Shaun was one of many Grafton Redmen faithful celebrating a team-mate's milestone.
"I don't remember too much of the accident," he said.
"We had been out celebrating Ray Collie's 400th game for the Redmen.
"Tanya was planning to pick me up so I decided to start walking and meet her along the way.
"All I remember is I was walking along the road and next thing I wake up in ICU at Coffs Harbour."
A nearby resident heard the impact and thought two cars had collided.
Instead he saw Shaun struggling to breathe on the ground and immediately dialled 000.
"If he didn't go outside and she didn't stop, who knows what could've happened to Shaun," Tanya said.
Shaun woke up in the intensive care unit at Coffs Harbour Hospital and had surgery on a deep cut to his leg the next day.
He was in intensive care for four days before being moved to the surgical ward where he remained for three weeks.
"It was more frustrating than anything," the 29-year-old said.
"I'd get into one position and I could stay there for an hour or so but would have to move again because it started hurting.
"I spent all day lying in bed and doing a few breathing exercises."
Shaun spent the fourth and final week at Grafton Base Hospital where he underwent daily physiotherapy exercises.
He improved to a point he could "manage his pain", which allowed him to leave the hospital a remarkable 24 days after the accident. He has been at his property since.
The intensely restricted movement is still one of his biggest troubles, with sharp pain shooting from his various injuries almost hourly.
"This is probably the long- est I've been able to sit in one spot," Shaun said.
"Not being able to do any- thing is fairly frustrating.
"Especially living on a farm, and I know there is heaps to do. I work as a diesel mechanic with council and they've been pretty good about everything."
Tanya has been by Shaun's side since the accident, helping him complete basic tasks many take for granted.
Her support could be overlooked by some, but it should not be forgotten in this story.
She juggled part-time work with travel between their home and Coffs Harbour Hospital, pulling incredible hours to help her husband.
"I feel really lucky to still have a husband," Tanya said.
"I think I've been on auto- pilot since it happened. It's been very tiring, especially when he was down at Coffs.
"Pretty much everything is on hold until he gets better."
August 24: Shaun Kelly hit by two cars and taken to Coffs Harbour Hospital.
August 25: Emergency surgery while he stays in ICU.
August 28: Transferred to surgical ward at Coffs hospital.
September 10: Transferred to Grafton Base Hospital.
September 17: Returns home with wife Tanya.