A ROSS-SHIRE grandmother left with a fractured back and facing months off work after falling on an icy high street pavement is considering a formal complaint against Highland Council.
Sheila Campbell (61) was left in agony after losing her footing in the centre of Dingwall last Friday during an icy spell that sparked an outcry across Ross-shire about the treacherous state of roads and pavements.
Mrs Campbell, who holds down two part-time cleaning jobs, said: "I have never experienced anything like that before. I have never known such pain."
Mrs Campbell faces an unsettled Christmas and start to the new year wondering how to make ends meet.
She said: "I can’t afford to be off work. I don’t get any benefits – and that’s me going to be off work eight weeks. It’s going to be hard."
Recounting the fall, she said: "I went to the Royal Bank to use the cash machine because that’s where my money from one of my cleaning jobs gets paid in but I realised the machine was out of order so I came down the steps again and started walking along the street. Somebody had passed with a pram and the next minute my two feet went up and down I went.
"I knew right away. I knew by the pain I felt in my back. I have never experienced anything like that before."
People rushed to where she lay but the hardy grandmother did not stay down for long.
With help she managed to get back on to her feet and somehow drove home to nearby Buchanan Court, despite the searing pain.
"It was horrendous," she said. "I thought the best thing to do would be to phone my chiropractor right away and tell him I thought I’d broken something.
"As soon as he saw me he said: ‘Before I even touch you I know I’ll need to do an x-ray because I see see by the way you’re walking there’s a problem’.
"So he did the x-ray and said: ‘Yes, it’s a fracture on the lower back, the right hand side’."
Mrs Campbell was told to go directly to the local health centre with a letter from the specialist and the x-ray images on a CD to hand over to them.
She said: "They told me I could be off work for eight weeks. I can walk but I am very sore. I can’t lie properly, I can’t sit properly. I’m in agony and I’m on strong painkillers. I don’t even know if I will get sick pay. It’s going to be hard.
"I’m working more or less full-time with my two cleaning jobs and I can’t afford to be off work. I’m used to being on the move all the time. And I’ve not even finished my Christmas shopping."
Mrs Campbell is fortunate to have her son David (43) and 10 of her grandchildren staying close by.
Her other son Darren (36) lives in Spain with his partner and two children but they are coming back for a week over Christmas.
She said she was considering lodging a formal complaint to Highland Council about the pavement, which she believes had not been gritted.
She said: "It’s not even as if I had on silly shoes, I had on very good footwear but the two feet just went from under me.
"I was winded, I think I was in shock. Someone said I should maybe take an insurance claim out against them. We’ll see. This is going to take a long time to heal."