Age 22, I wrote a letter to my future self. In a moment of transcendent clarity, I committed my thoughts to paper so I could look back and remember that feeling. It was as if I’d been driving through a dimly lit, noisy tunnel. Coming out of the other side into silence. Sunlight. Sweet relief.
Standing outside the train station on London Road, I looked across at the skyline of Leicester. ‘Whatever happens, I’m not coming to this shit-hole’, I thought.
It felt like my eyeballs had swollen to the size of cricket balls, being pushed out of their sockets from the inside.
I vomited in the bathroom sink before leaving for school. The accident had forced me to drop back a year. Today I joined the new sixth-formers as they began their A levels.
The impact of the collision with the car may have damaged my kidneys. Doctors were concerned about blood in my urine.
Wearing only a paper gown tied at the back, I climbed onto the cold radiography table. I rolled onto my side into the foetal position as instructed.
‘Must feel good to be going home?’ The ambulance driver chatted cheerfully as he wheeled me out through the sliding doors of the hospital.
A man with the demeanour (and the tape measure) of an undertaker appeared at my bedside.
I learned the identity of the driver while still in the hospital. A 19-year-old former pupil of my school.
I was part-way through my secondary school exams (O Levels). The culmination of 2 years of study. These exams would determine my future academic and employment prospects. That was all gone.
The femur (thigh bone) is the largest bone in the human body. It takes 3 months for a broken femur shaft to repair itself. So, regardless of my other injuries, I’d spend 3 months in a hospital bed.
After a week in hospital I was moved from a private room to one shared with another patient. A young motorcyclist, recently admitted. He was in pain, groaning constantly.
I received a shot of intravenous pain relief every 30 minutes. This was effective for 20 minutes, leaving a shortfall of 10 minutes. 10 minutes of agony.
On a dark country lane in East Yorkshire in 1983, I discovered what happens to the human body when it is hit by a car travelling at 80 km per hour.