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.
I turned the corner to come nose-to-nose with a decapitated camel, hanging grimly outside a butcher’s shop. A hook through the underside of its jaw.
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?
It’s a Sunday evening in January 2011. I’m sitting with 6 strangers in a house in Paddington. There’s an uneasy silence. We’re waiting to get started…
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.
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 was hit by a car travelling at 80 km per hour. I was 16 years old.