June 30th, 2007

It's all about guts

While I'm reminiscing (and procrastinating about housework), here's another story from my schooldays. This event takes place when I was about 14: I was in the UF (Upper Fourth), so I was now allowed to go into Horsham (the local town) on Saturday afternoons.

One day I'd been in town, and I was walking back to school (about 2 miles away). As I was walking along, my stomach started to hurt, so I slowed down. This helped a bit, but then the pain got worse again, so I sat down for a rest. When I got up again, I had trouble standing straight, so I walked doubled over. The pain kept growing, and forced me to my knees. At this point I was starting to get a bit worried, and thought that it would be a good idea to get urgent medical attention. Sadly, this was in the days before everyone had mobile phones, and I was nowhere near a payphone. There was quite a bit of traffic, and I waved at the passing cars trying to get someone's attention, but nobody stopped. I crawled along a bit further, but the pain continued to build, and eventually I couldn't even manage that anymore, so I wound up sprawling flat on the ground.

As I lay there, it hurt so much that I knew I was about to die. I couldn't do anything to help myself, and nobody else was coming to help me, so the only thing left was to wait for the end. However, my stubborn streak then kicked in, and I thought "If I'm going to die, then I'll die on my feet." There was a lamppost nearby, and I managed to drag myself over to it. I didn't have enough energy to actually stand up, but I was able to use the lamppost to haul myself up. I stood there clinging to it, and the pain reached a crescendo. My vision "tunnelled", with a dark fog around the edges, and I started to feel light-headed.

I then slumped forward against the lamppost, and as I doubled over I vomited onto the ground. Once I'd finished, the pain went away and I felt a lot better, so I was able to walk the rest of the way back to school without further incident. I'm guessing that I ate a dodgy burger at the Wimpy. So, a bit of an anti-climax I'm afraid, but I think that there are three lessons here:

1) I used to be a bit of a hypochondriac (I like to think that I've improved since then).

2) This fits into my theory that life is like a Rubik's cube: I had to make the pain worse before it got better. (Klingon proverbs are also useful in a situation like this.)

3) Most importantly, it is possible to triumph over adversity, even if you think that the situation is hopeless. As Gunn said in an Angel episode: "Never give up. Never surrender."