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    Haze. Sleep. Dream. Nightmare
    Suddenly. Without warning
    Prostrate. Hanging on

    A deep rooted pain
    Aggressive and insistent
    And out of this world

    Air gasped through gritted teeth
    Ribs crushed tight in hot barbed wire
    I refused to leave

    The other side called
    I almost lost ev’rything
    But wouldn’t let go

    My spirit tested
    But Black Sunday came too soon
    – I wasn’t ready

On 21st November 2010 I suddenly found myself lying on my living room floor, tied up with red hot barbed wire crushing my chest like a garotte. At least, that’s what it felt like. I was fighting for every breath in excruciating pain, the like of which I’ve never experienced before nor ever want to again. When asked its strength on a scale of 1 to 10 by a paramedic, I replied “89!!!” – to have simply replied “10” would have been far too tame, this was well off the scale. I haven’t the faintest idea how long I had been on the floor, all I can remember is how hard I had to concentrate on dealing with the pain and trying to breathe – and the realisation that my wife Henri had saved my life. I was in shock, confused, and hanging on by my fingernails until the second injection of morphine kicked in. From nowhere, and without warning, I felt my end had come and the only thought in my head was about staying alive. It was a nightmare, and I wanted to wake up. Unfortunately the nightmare was reality, I had to accept that it really was me in that desperate position. I thought I had a heavy cold coming on, instead it was pneumonia and pleurisy, and when I arrived at hospital the x-ray showed I had only one lung working. I developed other complications too, and was in hospital for 23 days. When I left I felt I’d entered another world. The reflection in the mirror was changed, winter had arrived, everywhere was covered with snow and the price of petrol had shot up by 15p a litre!

Now, twelve months later, to describe this event as life changing would be too predictable and melodramatic. Nevertheless it’s certainly given me food for thought. What happened that day turned my world upside down. There has been plenty of time for reflection, contemplation, rumination, deliberation, consideration, meditation, and frustration – but most of all, the last twelve months has been about recovery, and starting again. It’s been a very strange year, and a long one, but at the same time it’s passed in the wink of an eye. Life can be like that sometimes.

    From out of nowhere
    Something came to collect me
    The choice wasn’t mine

    Parcelled up in pain
    Unsure of destination
    Bound, weighed and measured

    For Delivery?
    For Recycling? Or Disposal
    Promised land? Or Dump!

    But winged ‘Postman’,
    Celestial ‘Bin man’ or
    ‘Courier’ no-showed

    With address unknown
    I was returned to sender
    For collection later

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