In life, we’re going to have good days and bad days, and one thing I know for sure is we’re not going to know which is which at the time.
On the night of June 20, 2002, I was out drinking and decided to do a back flip off a two metre high wall outside the Captain Cook Tavern in Dunedin.
I landed on my head and went into a coma.
When my parents got the phone call at 2.30am saying, “You’d better get to Dunedin on the earliest flight as we don’t know if your son is going to come out of the coma”, they definitely said it was a bad day.
When I came out of the coma and was told by doctors that I was unlikely to regain full brain function, and therefore I would be unlikely to return to medical school, and that I’d never ski again, I definitely said it was a bad day.
But life gives us lessons doesn’t it?
I believe there are three types of lessons…
The feather is that niggle, that voice in you saying that something isn’t quite right.
Ignore the feather and you get the brick which is a lot less subtle. I had a lot of bricks in the form of family, friends, police, medical school etc.
Ignore the brick and life will give you the Big Mack Truck, the lesson you can’t ignore. The head injury was my Big Mack Truck. It taught me that for my life to change, I had to change. It taught me that focussing on myself wasn’t a pathway to fulfilment that I had more to give, that I had the ability to make a real impact.
Everything good in my life has come since that realisation, that lesson; my family, MedRecruit, my locum agency, MedCapital, my wealth management company, MedWorld, my wellbeing organisation, my success in skiing… everything.
I got lucky. I remember working in ED one night when a guy my age came in with a similar head injury to what I had; petechial bleeding in his frontal lobe, midline shift, just like me. He died six days later.
We have good days and bad days. Turns out that was one of the best days of my life.