Last night I woke up with my arm incredibly painful and my mind reeling. I realised that I was revisiting the trauma of an event which happened three years ago, possibly to the day.
On that April day my wife and I went out on my first trip after suffering a bout of chicken-box. We went to a lovely spot, had a picnic and admired the view. I said how lucky we were and we counted our blessings.
Within minutes, I had fallen over on a crumbling path. It was a small fall but I must have landed awkwardly. I broke my right ankle, dislocated my left elbow and shattered the bones in my arm. At the hospital the doctors tried three times to put the joint back and only succeeded when the morphine I was given knocked me out.
Unfortunately, I had a phobia about broken bones and dislocated elbows, stemming from when I was a small child and my mother dislocated both her elbows and I had to help her to eat.
Fortunately the surgeons were able to operate and pinned my arm back together. ‘We learned a lot from doing it,’ the surgeon told me. Three consultants had operated on me and I calculated that the cost of the operation must have used up a lot of the taxes I had paid over the years.
The injury was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. I plumbed the depths, raging at the injury, horrified to think about it. One night I even howled like a wolf. I felt as shattered as my arm.
My arm was cased in plaster and my foot in a surgical boot. When my wife was out at work my elderly neighbour came in to make my lunch. My business began to suffer because I lost focus on it and could not drive. For a while I was nervous to walk on any surface that was in any way rough.
I could only read a book with difficulty, juggling it to turn the page, cursing when, as frequently happened, I dropped it. So I bought a Sony e-reader which I could use with one hand and discovered books that I had never before read.
Gradually, with the support of my wife, I regained my composure and good spirits. I decided to concentrate on my long-held ambition to be a writer, bought Dragon Dictate and wrote the follow-on chapters to my story Mr Toad’s Wedding. I completed my first novel about the Lost King Edgar Atheling and launched into the second one of the series
A little afterwards I discovered Kindle Direct publishing and began to publish my books. My life-long dream of becoming a writer was being realised at last.
Last night I felt truly awful. Maybe my body was remembering the anniversary of my fall and I was revisiting the trauma of my injury.
And yet. And yet. Maybe if I had not had the accident I would not have been able to concentrate on my writing. Maybe I would not have discovered e-readers. Maybe I would not have had the time to forge ahead with my writing.
Maybe, maybe, my accident was both the worst thing to happen to me but also one of the best.