Accidents. One split second of bad timing, misjudgment, over confidence. And bang! It's happened. Ridiculous.
Saturday, 7 April 2018
Chicken Shit for the Soul - an Absurd Awakening
To give some background to this post, it is intended as the prologue to my next book, which will explain my full journey since "I'm Still Standing" was published back in December 2012. I've decided to share it here now as my first post in a long time, to set the scene for further insights, stories and discoveries that have happened since then. Rollercoaster? Oh yes, you could say that... and more! Worth it? Oh yes yes yes yes yes, with whistles bells and knobs on! So... without further ado... my first post in a long long time ;-)
Lying in my darkened hospital bed, a flurry of night staff rustling and shuffling their way through the corridors, I remain wired up to machines that pump me full of post-surgery drugs, my shattered right shoulder now held together with an array of freshly inserted ironmongery. Out of nowhere I suddenly start giggling to myself. The giggles that are bubbling up from deep within quickly turn into snortles that threaten to become uncontrollable.
This in itself is not unusual. I have a tendency to do that - to find the absurd in traumatic situations. It's a survival technique for me, fine-tuned over 45 years of practical and very personal experience. Whilst it's become second nature to me now, I've learned that these somewhat inappropriate outbursts can shock people around me, which is why I stifled the giggling as best I could. No point disturbing the silent healing of other patients occupying the other beds. And certainly no point in attracting the attention of the night nurse. How on earth would I be able to explain myself? So I stuffed down the spluttering giggles, and satisfied myself instead with a stupid grin.
It was the beginning of December 2017. I had dislocated and broken my shoulder a few days earlier in a ridiculous accident. Aren't they usually that way? Ridiculous I mean.
Mine has been particularly ridiculous. Caused by creeping quietly back to the main house after a lovely evening of (relatively) well-behaved singing, chatting and tomfoolery in the summerhouse with my newly re-discovered childhood friend... I say relatively, because whilst it was already past midnight, we'd actually stopped drinking wine a short time earlier. Plenty of previous evenings had seen us carrying on in to the wee small hours and beyond, such was the excitement about rekindling our friendship and catching up on the four decades that had passed since we'd last seen each other! Anyway, so there we both were, stealthily tip-toeing back across the garden towards the main house so we wouldn't wake the rest of the family, when I slipped on the wet grass, lost my balance on the tiny incline around the house, and smashed straight in to the outside wall. My friend smashed straight on top of me. He's always had an uncanny knack of somehow finding soft landings, no matter what life threw at him. This time it was me.
I didn't hear the crunch. I didn't feel the pain. I didn't know what had hit me, or who had hit what as I was squashed awkwardly between the wall and my friend. I do vividly remember (ridiculously) that my main concern was to not make a fuss. Not to draw attention to myself. Not complaining. And certainly not causing a disturbance that could have woken the rest of the household! I can assure you that all of those misguided intentions shot straight out of the window once an ambulance was called and the shock kicked in - hollering like a banshee and crying like a baby, my pain and excruciating shame exaggerated by the inquisitive audience that had gathered. Body shivering and teeth chattering wildly as I wailed, largely incoherently, for "anything, anything to just make it all go away!"
So how come then, some ten days later, after major surgery and the grim prognosis that I would never again have full upper body mobility, was I now giggling like a toddler?
I'd been replaying the accident, and remembering the fact that my friend had chickens in his garden. Fat, plump, well-fed birds that produced the most deliciously tasty golden yellow eggs. Plump, oversized, contented birds... who therefore produced equally plump oversized waste deposits. Particularly near the house, where they would gather expectantly each morning, waiting for the daily offering of tasty morsels.
"Chicken shit!" the ridiculous thought had announced itself. "I bloody slipped on chicken shit! And thanks to the surgery, I've also been right royally screwed!"
Chuckling at the absurdity, I gently settled in to the calm certainty that this was the heralding for a deeper awakening of my ever curious soul...