Two years, four months and two days ago, I died. And then 17 days later, I rose from the dead.
Well.. not technically, because that’s physically not possible and quite frankly, would be quite scary if it actually was.. But its close enough. I was in an induced coma for 17 days because I suffered massive brain trauma, a fractured skull and my brain had swelled to the size of watermelon. Now you’re all probably thinking what kind of horrific accident caused this. Was it a car accident? Perhaps a motorcycle accident? A skiing accident? Wait. Its probably a sports injury? or was it a fight? Yeah it was probably a fight. Did you get in a couple of good shots? Are they still in jail now? Well.. in fairness to yourself, these are all reasonable and rational conclusions. However. In actuality, it was none of these things.. Wait. Stop. It wasn’t a fight?? No. There was one reason and one reason only for the seventeen days of induced coma. Four weeks of intensive care. Six months of ongoing rehabilitation. Four months off work. One stressed out family. A crying mother. . . And one freaked out stripper.
So who was responsible for such an atrocity? That would be me. Yep.. me. There’s no one else to blame. No car. No driver. No motorcycle. No ski resort. No sport. No fight. Just me. And maybe a stripper. No no, I cant try and shift the blame here. It was all me. I inadvertently turned my whole world ( and the world of the people around me) upside down with one stupid decision. One stupid decision and a copious amount of alcohol. Which by the way goes hand in hand.
Wait a sec. How does a stripper fit into all of this?? Let me explain.. It was my (now) brother in law’s bucks party and I, chasing a stripper down some hotel stairs decided, that instead of walking down like a normal human being, decided to slide down the handrail like Jason Bourne. Jason fucking Bourne. Well a very drunk and very stupid Jason fucking Bourne. Handrail broke. 3 meter fall on to my head. Fractured skull. Bleeding through my ears. Brain swelling. Ambulance ride. 17 day coma. ICU. Hospitals. Rehabilitation. Crying mother. You get the picture.
Now I want to make things clear that a coma isn’t quite what everyone perceives it to be. Did you just wake up and think where the fuck am I? No. That’s the Hollywood version. Reality is quite different. When you have bruising and swelling of the brain, the most effective way to heal is to sleep. Your body heals itself whilst you are asleep. So I was placed in an induced coma. Holes were drilled into my cranium to relieve pressure. And I was hooked up to triple strength morphine to deal with the pain. Waking up from a morphine binge is quite surreal. You have lucid dreams that you think is reality. And as they wake you up from your induced coma, it’s very gradual and you are unsure what is real and what isn’t. I still remember those dreams. They weren’t nightmares. Just real life situations that I realize now, was not real life at all. Like having an adopted African child, but leaving said child in Africa as I flew away in my cessna.
I remember those dreams. I don’t remember much else. After the doctors decided to take me out of the induced coma, I remained in ICU for 2 weeks. Awake, yes. Coherent, no. But awake, yes. As told by friends and family, I was in a child like state. I do not remember those 2 weeks of being awake in hospital. I was heavily drugged on morphine, and I’ve been told by all accounts that this is quite entertaining. My favourite story is of me telling a nurse of Asian descent to “piss off. why is there a nip treating me?” (I’m Filipino). It was the morphine. Morphine is a hell of a drug. My first real conscious memory was the actual ambulance ride from the hospital to the rehab center. I still remember thanking the ambulance drivers for getting me out of there. I do not remember anything before this point. I don’t remember the countless times friends and family visited me in hospital before this. I don’t remember my sister celebrating her birthday in the ICU waiting room. Nor my mother, who slept in that waiting room every night. Or my friends flying back from the UK to see me. I don’t remember any of this. I do however remember a noise though. Vividly. A weird series of beeps. Like the sort of low frequency beeps you may hear at an airport. I can still hear them now. It still sends shivers down my spine. I remember this? But I don’t remember much else.
So you went to rehab? rock and roll man.. Em no. This was definitely not the glamorous rehab where you find strung out celebrities. There was no Charlie Sheen. No Britney Spears. No Ben Cousins. Hell, there wasn’t even Matthew Newton. This is the kind of rehab where you find stroke victims and motor accident victims and others who have had unfortunate accidents. And then there’s me. A binge drinking, stripper chasing, non stair walking, idiot. I was here for a few more weeks so I could be under observation whilst the doctors decided I could be released back into the world.
And this how 2.0 was born, or how 1.0 died. I’m still the same person. I still have full memory, and I have no ill effects. Wait, that’s a lie. I’m slightly deaf and have tinnitus (a low frequency hum) in my right ear. But thats it. I’m blessed and forever grateful that I’m actually alive and back to full health. It could have been a lot lot worse. Apparently, if I landed an inch lower , I would have fractured the nerves in my neck and would be unable to walk. So do you have like a new lease on life? Well yes. I do. Not that I now want to climb Everest. Or go bungee jumping. But I appreciate those around me a lot more. It’s the only thing I regret about the incident. I don’t regret the hospital, or the rehab, or not being able to go out, or the living back at home with mum, or even the deafness in my left ear. I do however regret what it did to those around me. The worrying. The crying. The praying. The postponing of weddings. The ending of trips. This is what I regret about the incident the most. But it did give me a greater appreciation for pretty much everything around me. So perhaps, I don’t regret it at all.
So. What happened to the stripper? Well.. After the fall and I was rushed off in an ambulance, Dying. She actually still performed that night. True story.
It wasn’t her fault. It was mine. And as I learned, just because your world has stopped because you were an idiot, the rest of the world does not…
The show must go on.