An interview with Hammond’s wife
Richard Hammond is making an "excellent progress" after his crash, but what his wife has to say about the accident? When Richard called her before the accident and told her he will get into a jet car, her answer was: "Right-oh".
"Richard does all sorts of dangerous things and if I worried every time he did something daft I would never sleep. I’d never received a call like that before and I knew it was really serious when he said: "I’ll meet you in Leeds."
It was my worst nightmare and my heart started to pound as I ran to the car. I yelled and screamed all the way home but pulled myself together before I saw Izzy (six) and Willow (three). I told them: "Daddy’s bumped a car and ripped his clothes so I have to take him some new ones."
Izzy examined my face and could tell I was really upset. She looked at me as if to say: "I don’t believe you," but Ela was fantastic and took over.
(...)In some ways I was prepared for the trauma of seeing Richard in that terrible state because 13 years ago I watched my father Bert slowly deteriorate and die from liver cancer, aged 67. As a child, I’d also seen my elder sister Sarah in a diabetic coma.
When they hugged me it felt like my big brothers had turned up. James was very upset and Jeremy said he just wanted to be there for me. It was a terrible night. The worst moment was when a young chap in his 30s, who was in the next bed, died with his family around him. Because I’d been with my father during his last few days, I recognised those terrible sounds we make in our last moments and that was hard.
I thought: "These people are sitting next to me watching their loved ones drift away and here I am, desperately willing my husband to live."
I asked her: "Would it help if I shouted at him like I do when he’s drunk?" I was worried that I would disturb the other patients on the intensive care ward but she said: "Yeah, if you can get him to do something, shout."
I bellowed at him: "Richard, you bloody well squeeze her fingers because it’s bloody important!"
(...)He was an awful patient and did some terrible things like pulling all his tubes out. It took three people to hold him down. He even ripped out his ventilator and I spent ages staring intently at his chest to make sure he was breathing. I soon learned every time he picked his nose, he was about to do something.
I know Richard wants to watch the film of the crash but I can’t really think about that yet. I have never liked watching footage of him in dangerous situations and I cried when I saw that episode of Top Gear where he went underwater in a car. But that kind of thing goes with the territory. Some people will find it hard to believe, but I feel fine that Richard is going back to work on Top Gear.
I wouldn’t stop him doing what he loves. Somehow I don’t think he’ll get in another jet car, so he ain’t never going that fast again.