N.B. At the time of writing this, there seemed to be some debate as to whether I was a patient or not (this is a legal term, which essentially seems to devolve into the degree with which you are open to exploitation). If this exploitation were to result in me being given large sums of money for not doing much (assuming it were legal) I would be more than content to be a patient.  

What I am writing about is an emotional subject, but I am trying to restrain my emotions to the minimum. I rather fear that were I to start crying, it would be nigh impossible to stop. Life is apparently supposed to start at 40. Mine essentially began when I was not quite 31. The remission was not granted voluntarily; rather, it was very much a case of wrong place, wrong time. I was in the right place – on a bicycle, going to work, doing my bit to keep fit, reduce pollution, road congestion and global warming. Unfortunately, a driver decided they wanted to be in the same place, and according to police reports I was then airborne for over 30 metres, and left with scars that apparently resemble an attack from a bear. I can only assume that it was hungry, but then thought better of it. Scars – in some masochistic way a badge of pride – fade; the worst effect is the brain injury, which has not only left me temporarily bed-ridden (having learnt to walk some 30 years or so ago, it seems unfair to have to learn again – harder than you might imagine) but with numerous other complications. Essentially, all the hardware has been repaired - I'm just experiencing quite major software malfunctions. A Maoist “Long March” is likely to be beyond me for a while; but a “Short Walk to Freedom” as performed by Mandela is both more acceptable politically, and physically more probable.  More important has been the removal (I do not say loss) of my memory. Being in this position you get very specific about particular words and phrases – I did not nearly die, I was nearly killed. I have not lost my memory; it has been taken from me.  These memories include my partner and our two children. From my mind I have only glimpses of them, rather than 3D pictures, sounds, smells and tastes. I know of their existence, but they seem to be far away, both emotionally and physically. 

I can only hope that the passing of time will close the distance, as it

Hereford Map Centre with Hereford Cathedral back-drop. Debate continues as to which has had the most positive influence on the city; I know which one I stand for. ()
already seems to be doing. For the first months after the crash, I had no knowledge of my partner or of our children which, naturally, caused great distress – not that I knew of this, of course. A fear – hopefully unreasonable – is that when they learn of this, our girls will feel somehow devalued. For me, it is a pleasant reflection on the mores of modern culture that women and children are supposed to come first. That a ship needs to be sinking to evoke these sentiments is not necessarily a good idea. The past is another country to me – been there, don’t speak the language, apart from vague murmurs.    

Following the initial impact, which I survived due to my relative youth, fitness, but above all, the fact that I was wearing a helmet - not as the current day fashion accessory, but as the last line of defence - I then tried to die several times later. (Ironically, just days before being hit I was beginning to seriously consider becoming a blood donor. Following the collision, and one subsequent – appalling – bleed later, I had a total of over 20 units transfused, which means that I will never again be able to give blood. If you cut me, do I not bleed? Yes, but not my own blood). An easy way to check if it were my files being looked through by a doctor was that they were horrendously thick, generally due to the myriad of other complications which ensued, and, alas, continue.  

In some ways I am in a relatively fortunate position. Due to the insurers wishing to keep their final settlement as low as possible, it is in their interests (not only mine) to speed my recovery to the utmost. As such, whilst the N.H.S. had to fund my survival, and initial treatment, I am now benefiting from 7 or so physios a week, and rather than being left in some form slightly above that of a pvs, I am now increasingly mobile and vehemently independent. That which does not kill you does not make you necessarily strong – with me, it has made me generally impatient.  My recovery has gone through a number of stages. 

Everything that remains problematic is due to sluggish function, rather than something working at an appropriate velocity. 

                    Howick Falls, KZN

(I thought my student days were long gone, and I still don't really know what condition my condition is in). I know that the original me has gone, but even if I essentially feel that I am the same person, I have yet to discover who the new version of me is.

I should end with the standard Dickens ‘Tale of Two Cities quote, even though for me it is something of an optimistic lie; “It is a far, far better thing that I do now, than I have done before. It is a far, far better place I go to than I have ever been.”  

And I really had to have a link to the physios who have helped put me back together.