My brain

When I was 13, I started having grand mal epileptic fits; the first one was in Corfu whilst on holiday with my family. I shared a room with my brother and he did not know what it was so he shouted at me and woke up the whole block, including my Mum and Dad. I was diagnosed by a quack as having heat exhaustion and spent the majority of the holiday in a hospital where they did not speak a word of English and just gave me black tea.
Over the next three years my Mum took me to hospitals for tests, The Royal Marsden and Atkinson Morley. Nothing was found.
In 1976, I went to the last proper Led Zeppelin concert at Knebworth; they played well into the morning. The concert was stunning. My brother woke me up very early and I was so tired but he would not take no for an answer.
He took me home and then Mum and Dad took me to the Atkinson Morely hospital. I was scanned within hours and then a houseman came to see me. He said that they had found a tumour. I asked what if they did not take it out. The houseman replied that I would be dead within 6 months and my youth would not save me. So, I casually said that I had better have it then; when you are that age, you cannot really think of death.
The next morning, I was on the slab. I do not know how long I was on it but a clue comes from my body’s reaction to the anaesthetic; I was very ill for many days and was vomiting everywhere. I was told that I had tubes coming out of my head to drain my skull and so I could hardly move; most of the time, I vomited over myself. I remember that I was right next to the nurses station and I heard them say that David was very ill. I thought I was going to die. If that was not bad enough, I had a catheter up my “you know what” and as it was in for so long, I also have serious bladder weakness. Not great for a 16 or 58 year old man.
Over the next three weeks, I started to recover and my youth did help. Then the surgeon, Dr Walsh, who is probably dead now came up to me and scrapped his keys up my foot; I screamed. He said that I was fine now and that the cancer was benign; I did not know what that meant but I would never play the piano.
But what he did not say was that over the years, scar tissue would form in the “hole” in my brain and, in the end, my brain short circuited. I was now intolerant to stress that led to the collapse of my career, thanks to my bosses.
Now, I am totally intolerant to stress, am agoraphobic and my brain just will not stop, when I am awake. I am like a computer that you cannot turn off.

Published by David Hender (copyright owner- all rights reserved)

If you want to know me, you first need to understand where I have been and where I am going

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