THE list Emily Woodroofe made as she lay in her hospital bed was short but practical.
And the decision it helped her make would affect the rest of her life.
“I wrote down all the things I didn’t like about my leg and why I didn’t want it any longer,” she says.
“That’s why I got rid of it.”
Emily was minutes from death after she was crushed by a boulder on a Scottish mountain.
Her right leg was so mangled she agreed to have it amputated.
But Emily has never let her cheery positivity waver and insists losing the limb is actually going to change her future for the better.
The 23-year-old student’s dream is to show she’s finally put her nightmare behind her by standing atop her beloved Cuillin ridge on Skye.
Emily, who is studying to be a doctor, was on a trip to Torridon with the hiking group she chaired at Manchester University.
“There were 13 of us, including my flatmate Laura, who ended up holding on to my leg for an hour,” said Emily, speaking about her ordeal three months ago.
“Everyone was experienced, but this was just a freak accident.”
With only two days of their trip left, Emily and four of her group left Torridon youth hostel planning a lazy day pottering about while the others went further afield.
She was – and she knows this saved her life – just 200 yards from a road and its ready access when disaster struck. As she scrambled across a rocky section, a boulder dislodged.
“It was huge and I fell back, trying not injure my neck or head,” recalls Emily. “The boulder landed on me and I remember shouting, ‘Oh my God, my leg! My leg!’
“Laura couldn’t move it but my friend Johnny managed to pull it off.
“The pain was indescribable.
“The doctors said the bone was pulverised. I thought my leg was straight when my ankle was actually flopping to the side of it.
“All I could do was grit my teeth and hope the pain would go away. But it didn’t and I could feel myself slipping towards unconsciousness.”
Her friends applied a makeshift tourniquet to stem the blood flow. It took 40 minutes for emergency GPs to reach Emily and give her pain relief.
But even that, and the gas and air administered by the Torridon and Kinlochewe Mountain Rescue Team who were soon on the scene, made little difference.
Getting her on to a stretcher for the helicopter was excruciating.
And she’d lost so much blood she needed eight pints via transfusion.
“It was just horrendous but I know that if I’d have been properly up a mountain and harder to reach I’d have died. Every minute counted.”
Emily was flown to Raigmore Hospital and her mum Val made the journey to Inverness from the family home in London to be by her bedside.
Subsequently she was transferred to St Mary’s Hospital in the capital where two weeks were spent trying to formulate a plan of how to reconstruct the mangled mess of Emily’s leg.
But medics had to tell her the choice she faced was stark.
“They said that if they amputated I could have a prosthetic that would allow me to go back on the hills,” explains Emily in the quiet, pragmatic fashion that has helped her through the past few weeks.
“The alternative was to reconstruct but they said I’d probably be left with a useless limb and they’d still have to amputate three years down the line.”
Faced with an impossibly difficult decision, Emily made her list.
Still in terrible pain and facing a succession of ops that would involve breaking and re-setting bones, she chose to have the amputation.
On the day of the operation, April 12, she says she was surprisingly calm.
The days before and after, though, were different.
“I was quite emotional before the operation,” she confides. “And the day after was tough. I grieved for my leg.
“I was completely devastated.”
Emily moved back into the family home in Ealing where Val, dad Simon and sister Susanna have been on hand ever since.
She says their support has been invaluable but as a previously super-active young woman, she admits the wheelchair she’s been confined to has been a tough adaptation.
She has to wait until bones put in place to bear the weight of her new leg heal sufficiently.
But last week she was given the news she was now able to make an appointment to have her prosthetic fitted.
“It’ll hopefully be in a couple of weeks but I can’t rush it.”
It’s been a long, gruelling battle so far but Emily knows it’s a fight she has only been able to take on thanks to the efforts of her rescuers.
Within a couple of days of the accident she had, with Val’s support, started a blog on her progress from her hospital bed. And she started fundraising for the Torridon Mountain Rescue Team.
Inspired by her heartfelt blog, the money flooded in and the total on her JustGiving page now stands at almost £4000.
And Emily is now planning to pass on her gratitude in person, standing proudly on her new leg.
“I want to go back to Torridon to thank everyone,” said Emily.
“My goal is to go back to the Cuillin ridge, which is my favourite place on Earth. Getting up there again will be amazing.”
Contributions can be made at justgiving.com/Emily-Woodroofe
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