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.
You’re unaware your arm is resting up against a boiling kettle. The skin is burning but you can’t feel it. When and how do you realise? When you smell your skin crisping up like pork crackling?
We ‘upgraded’ to the suburbs when I was 7 years old. The school I left behind was an austere Victorian building with separate entrances for boys and girls.
When I woke I touched the side of my head gently. Dried blood. The pain was intense. Like a visit by the mother of all hangovers.
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. Nerves. Today I joined the new sixth-formers as they began their A levels.
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. After 3 months I’d finally be getting out of my hospital bed.
While still in the hospital I learned the identity of the driver that had hit me. A 19-year-old former pupil of my school. I didn’t feel anger towards him, but I didn’t forgive him either…
I was part-way through my secondary school exams. The culmination of 2 years of study. My future academic and employment prospects would be determined by the result. That was all gone now.
A broken femur shaft takes 3 months to repair itself. So, regardless of my other injuries, I’d spend at least 3 months in a hospital bed. It was unimaginable.
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.