My Life was Saved by god, and cooking means everything
In my early Twenties, I was a passenger in a car, I had my seat belt on, but after another car hit the one I was in, the seat belt snapped, because of the 90 MPH, give or take a few MPH, hit from the other car. All my ribs bar 4 were broke as I was hurled through the windscreen, I landed in front of the car I had been seated in, on to the tarmac, and the car that had hit mine bulldozed the one I had been in up onto my body.
I ended up 200 yards across the other side of the carriage way, my neck was bent forward because it was up against a granite wall, the car I had been in was now on top of me, the sill of the car, was on top of both my arms, and pinned to my chest.
My right leg was twisted around the back axle of the car, and my head was split open, my mouth and throat was filled with broken windscreen glass. I was dying for sure, I knew it, and I kept seeing my dead father in my bouts of consciousness, I called in pain to my mother to save me, cried and coughed up blood. I was in and out of consciousness, I could hear the firemen trying to cut me out, I heard them say “he’s not going to make it, the cars on top of him, crushing him “it made me fear death even more than I could ever have realised.
Up to this point in my life, I had successfully gone through catering college, and qualified as a head chef, I had worked up until then preparing food and working at the Lobster Pot hotel, where I proudly cooked food for celebs, such as Dame Judy Dench, and David Bowie to name but a few. Cooking was my chosen path, and I had worked for around 7 years to be where I was. I had also just got my first executive chef position in a hotel as a young man not quite 21.
I was trapped an hour, with that car on my chest and across my neck, with my neck and spine bent the wrong way, the pain was epic, tears vomit and blood was all I had, I saw all the stuff we see on the movies, white light, tunnels, I felt several times like moving towards that light, but knew if I did it would be my end, and a release from the pain my body was going through. I knew deep inside of me if I had given up and went to that light that I would have gone.
I focused on my knew job, my mother and family and my beloved cat Tibby, and started to scream for help, but it kept going dark, I could by now taste the blood trickling down from my skull in my mouth, I thought if I lose anymore I will bleed to death right here. It was midnight by the time the ambulance crew started to give me lots of pain killers, but I was in agony, I heard them say he can have no more. Then one of them told me, that they had to take my leg off the cars back axle, and told me to take deep breaths on the gas and air mask. The pain was off the scale, I thought my leg had dropped off, I was screaming non - stop now, and was awake for the first time, It was now I overheard one of the ambulance men say that my leg was hanging on to my body by a thread.
I started to close my eyes, and in my mind started to beg God to help me, I repeated this over and over again in my head, and then as the pain started to increase to unbearable levels, I started to just speak in a now weakened voice, please, please, god help me, I’m only in my twenties, I don’t want to die, I started to say, that anything I have ever done in my life that in his eyes was bad, I ask for forgiveness here and now, I had done no wrong ever, but I felt that maybe even the smallest little thing, I thought would have been enough to be in his bad books so to speak.
Gradually the pain started to subside, it went black, I can remember feeling very calm, happy and safe, and the next time I awoke I was in the accident & Emergency department of the local hospital.
I was told that I would never walk again, because of the damage in my leg, but every night while in hospital for many weeks, I prayed to God to make me walk again, I was told by a top surgeon that I would never walk again. But after praying for over 4 weeks non - stop, one day I awoke and I had pins and needle feelings in my right leg, within days I could stand on it, but it took another 6 months for me to learn to walk again.
After being out of work for a full year, I decide to go back to catering, my passion, my love, but from day one, something was really wrong, I was getting severe headaches, vomiting, dizziness, and I had to take some more time off work to try and get my body under control.
I repeatedly went to my family’s Doctor with my problems; he told me that it was probably post-traumatic stress syndrome because of what I went through. But the problems went on and on, I was having terrible headaches, and needed to go to bed for 2 days at a time or more with headaches, dizziness daily, ears ringing, and loss of feelings in all my limbs. I felt so sad so alone, no one knew what was wrong with me, and weeks became months and years, but the suffering would not stop. I was a young man, my external damaged at healed up, and I looks healthy and well, but I was not in anyway.
I at the time had no idea nor did any of my doctors that I had suffered serious brain damage, back in the early seventies MRI was not available in my neck of the woods, and I don’t even know if I was around at all. So by the time I got to 38 years old, some 18 years of unspeakable pain and stress and illness, I finally managed to get an MRI of my head, it showed that the accident I had suffered 18 years ago had given me a condition known as ACM, that’s Arnold Chiari Malformation, it’s a condition where the back of the brain the cerebellum, can from birth get what’s called an herniated cerebellum tonsil, or it can be acquired through a trauma to the head, my car accident.
In a nutshell, what happened is, the impact of having a car on my head and neck, caused this cerebellum tonsil, that looks like a whip, drop cm by cm throughout my life, ever closer to my brain stem. If It ever reaches my brain stem I die, it drops out of your skull like a whip getting longer and longer, it disrupts the spinal fluid that flows up through your spine and around your brain, this causes all manner of disturbances with my body. The flow of my bodie’s spinal fluid, is being stopped moving around properly because of the obstruction the herniated tonsil is doing by its downward travel towards my brain stem.
In my case my neurosurgeon told me it’s to dangerous to operate on, and that I will need to live with it, so I must not ever bang my head or shake my head, or this tonsil will drop even more outside of my skull and closer to my brain stem.
So since the age of 38 I have gone to sleep knowing all of this I’m now 56, life’s been so hard, we lost our house we brought when I was 40 years old because of illness, I stopped cooking for a living at 38 years old. I was then taken bankrupt and lost everything. Since that time I have just continued to write recipes and share them on my website, I try to support myself and my wife through my books I wrote, but once again only last year we suffered more severe finance hardship, we live very frugally these days, life’s been so very tough. I have always only ever wanted to give my wife of 35 years the best I could, but because of illness all my life, I give myself completely, she’s my rock, my best true friend in the whole world. But my daily life for the last 35 years every day since the accident has been one of illness, I look fine, I talk fine, and if I did not share this with you, you would never know. But for the last 35 years of my life, I have had the following all day every day, both my ears have ringing sounds loud in them 24/7 for 35 years, I have drugs for this, they do not stop the ringing, just a little bit of the imbalance, while walking I can suddenly feel the ground move and make me fall over, and at any time my world spins around me as I get out of the blue Vertigo, one minute fine, and then the room I am in will start to spin around me, causing vomiting, and headaches.
I can for no reason lose the use of my legs for a few hours or maybe a day or two, most of the times my legs feel like solid wood, and very painful to walk on, I have learnt to hide my pain well having suffered it for 35 years, I get headlight just turning to look at something, if I don’t think about it first, and do it slow.
I look normal, but am trapped in a body that suffered a severe trauma that it never let me get over, I keep the faith, and keep motivated, I have self - motivated myself for 35 years, I feel I could give so much to other people who maybe need motivation.
The hardest thing is since I found out about my condition, is that knowing what could happen to me at any given moment, living every single second as my last, I stay motivated because I feel I was saved by god to motivate other people worse off than me, I feel that if I could just get a break, I could maybe for once in my life motivate people through what’s happened to me, and also teach cooking, all of these together I hope to make money from one day, so that all of this life that I have lived can be rewarding, I want this for my family, not myself, for without them I would exist in perpetual darkness.
The last 12 years of my life I have sat at my computer 10 hours every day, 6 days a week, trying to make a living, which has of course made me suffer, but I have no choice, I write recipes, on my website, and hints and tips on cooking, I hope to be able to somehow make a living from the media, with regards to my cooking, and my motivational skills based on my life’s experiences, I feel I was saved by god all those years ago for more than this, I am stronger for it, and will never give up.