So happy to be alive

WHEN Alex Edwards turns 18 next month, she'll be celebrating the fact she's still alive.

A car smash only eight doors from her Emerald Beach home last week nearly robbed her parents, Tyler and Lanise, of their only child.

Tyler spoke to the Advocate yesterday from Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital, where Alex is recovering from major abdominal surgery.

He said Alex was driving home from a mate's place last Friday morning to get ready for work, when her car crossed to the wrong side of Bluff Road and slammed into a power pole.

Her head smashed the windscreen, her pelvis was trapped under the steering wheel, and she was initially unconscious.

"When I saw her in the car, my heart just sank," Tyler said.

"Very fortunately, people were on the scene immediately."

Emergency crews freed Alex, and her parents followed the ambulance to Coffs Harbour hospital.

Scans revealed no major head or spinal damage, but they did show her duodenum (part of her small bowel) had torn, polluting her abdomen. She was later flown to Sydney, and her frantic parents were by her bedside that evening.

The next day, Alex had a three-hour operation to remove the infection which had begun to take hold.

To their surprise, doctors discovered her appendix was inflamed and they removed it.

This find, her parents say, points to why she may have lost control of her car.

"The surgeons were very confident they had done the job to the best of their ability, but they are concerned there is still infection in there," Tyler said.

Alex is recovering in the trauma ward, where she is on constant morphine doses.

"She's talking and she's been giving her mum and dad a very hard time in the last 24 hours. She wants to know all the time what the doctors are doing," Tyler said.

"We still can't get clear detail from Alex about her accident, but she has said she didn't put her seatbelt on because she was only going around the corner."

Hopefully, she'll be back in Coffs Harbour hospital next week to begin exhaustive rehabilitation.

"She's a determined young girl and very strong-headed.

"She's still undecided about what her career will be, but for now, she's just happy to be alive," Tyler said.!

The Edwards family extends its deep appreciation to the many professionals who have worked to ensure Alex's safety and survival, and the many people who have helped them at this time.

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