Ben Fielding slowly opened his weary eyes, only to be greeted by the all too familiar vice-like grip in the front of his head. Enveloped in pain, he pressed the buzzer to attract the nurse’s attention. Twenty minutes later, the pain had subsided with the help of two strong painkillers provided by the young nurse who attended to his call. Today was the day he finally got to go home. He never thought this day would actually arrive. The nurse informed him the doctor would be around to see him within the hour and then he would be discharged, all being well. Two painful, long months he’d endured at the Westview Hospital and, as fantastic and supportive as the nurses and doctors had been, he was very eager to see the back of the place and get back to some semblance of normality.
He missed the privacy his apartment ensured and, more importantly, his faithful Golden Retriever Charlie, who was being looked after by his reluctant and altogether grumpy neighbour. The simple things he once took for granted prior to the accident were the things he was most looking forward to rediscovering on his return home; especially taking Charlie for a walk along the river banks. He knew Charlie was going to enjoy more of the great outdoors over the coming months more than being stuck in Ben’s office. As he worked such long hours, he was fortunate enough to be able to take Charlie to work with him. As chief engineer and a recent partner to the firm, Ben was blessed with certain privileges not afforded to many in the firm, and that included his own large city view office and a permanent corner for Charlie, which was a must as far as he was concerned. He used to take him out every lunch time for a good walk, and for some much-needed thinking time for himself.
Ben couldn’t remember anything about his first few weeks in hospital following his near fatal accident at work. As chief engineer for an international building company, he spent a lot of time on site making sure everything was going to plan and following the progress of his current projects. The scaffolding was not secure on the day of his fall and he was standing near the top of the construction when it collapsed. He awakened in hospital a few weeks later. He had broken bones all over his body and his head had taken a severe blow. The surgeon operated immediately as an MRI scan showed pressure was building up in his brain. His condition would have been fatal had it been left untreated any longer. He was put into a drug-induced coma for one month because the pain would have been far too much for him to endure. He’d also sustained massive trauma to his back, neck and ribs, plus a collapsed lung. The reason he was still alive today was that the scaffolding had twice slowed his fall.
After almost four weeks, he was slowly and carefully brought out of his coma with relative ease. On waking up, all he could feel was incredible pain running through every part of his 6-foot frame. He was plied with pain-relieving drugs and sedated. The first month after he’d awakened was hell on earth and he couldn’t imagine ever being pain free again. Every inch of his body felt like it had been pierced by a sharp sword. His surgeon advised him that his pain would ease over time but he would need to take his medication daily to ease his recovery and make him feel more comfortable.
While he was in a coma, Ben suffered the most horrendous nightmares. On waking, it took some time for his brain to adjust to the fact that they were not real events that had occurred in his life and nor were they harboured memories. This was a side effect of the drug, not a pleasant one at all. Some days he still felt so confused, so unsure of what was real and what wasn’t real.
Thankfully he had the best private medical healthcare money could buy. His company had taken care of everything following his accident. His personal secretary Lisa had arranged for his neighbour to take care of Charlie while she looked after his apartment, popping in to pick up the mail and generally keeping it clean for his eventual return.
Ben’s only regular visitors were his brother Tristan, his loyal secretary Lisa, who had been a rock since the accident, and the partners of the firm. He felt intense paroxysms of pain in his head most days and the scar stretched from one side of his head to the other, but the doctors advised him it would not be seen once his hair grew back. He was just thankful to be alive, grateful to the doctors for saving his life. His was a loyal firm and informed him they were not expecting him back for at least six months or so. Ben was nowhere near ready to go back to work so he welcomed the leave. He felt a desperate need to start living again.
While Ben was waiting for the doctor, he cleared out his bedside table and packed his bag. His thoughts drifted to Dena, perplexed at her refusal to visit him. They had been dating for a few months prior to his accident and he thought it was going somewhere. It came as a complete surprise to him when Lisa told him that she would not be visiting him and decided that she was not ready for a serious relationship after all. This made no sense to him; only a few weeks before his accident, she was hinting to take their relationship further, wanting them to move in together, and urging him to consider the possibility. When he needed her the most, she had deserted him; he was simply discarded like a broken ornament that no longer served a purpose.
Ben made a mental note to himself to speak with his secretary more about this so he could make sense of it all. He needed to know exactly what Dena had said to her and he wanted to know why she’d turned her back on him during his most vulnerable time, no matter how painful it would be to hear the words. He was on his own now, and he knew his long-term recovery would be slow. The doctor advised him it would be many months before the pain in his head subsided. He had to be cautious and give his body time to heal completely. “No climbing mountains for the time being!” his doctor had teased…
Lisa had arranged for a car to collect Ben as soon as she received his call that he had been officially discharged. Ben turned and looked over his shoulder, taking one last look at the hospital that had been his home for two months. A sense of relief washed over him as he climbed into the car. He sat silent and in quiet contemplation on his journey home, the stabbing pain in his head palpable and unwavering. He eagerly fumbled for the pills in his jacket pocket and swallowed a painkiller to ease the persistent pain. Thoughts of his life prior to the accident ran through his mind. The missed opportunities in his personal life over the years, the friends he’d lost along the way, all for his career. Why? he thought as he glanced out of the car window. It was at that moment that he realised now just how fragile life really was.
I have written my autobiography for my daughter – this has taken me on the most amazing journey! Amelia’s Story and Amelia’s Destiny is my life story told over two books. Following the release of these two books I also published a poetry collection called “Heart and Mind”. My fourth book, “Broken Wings”, is a contemporary war/romance, published earlier this year, and “Tears of Endurance,” a romantic drama, is now available with a sequel due out in the fall.