Interview with Howard Hughes “Overture”
Overture – Recovery is a journey of a thousand steps
By Anthony Wright – author “You Can Self Heal”
It was a warm sunny morning in May, as ordinary as any of the thousand that had passed before. But this day would set off a chain of events that would threaten to blind or kill me; ultimately leaving me crippled, confused, damaged and changing my life forever.
I was visiting a customer, it was usual to stop in a local park to relax and go through my files beforehand. After this I would set off for a walk around the playing fields to clear my head before attending the office.
After about ten minutes I noticed the sound of an approaching train in the distance. Not a modern train but a steam train of yesteryear – I actually thought “how quaint, you just don’t see or hear those anymore” It was a pleasant experience on warm sunny day, sounding old and familiar. But it was getting louder.
I was surprised that I couldn’t see the steam anywhere. I scanned the horizon, no sight of the steam, but I could hear it quite clearly now. The train noise just grew larger, closer. I just couldn’t see where the train was and quite surprised I couldn’t see the steam. I scanned the horizon, no sight of a train or steam. I began to panic – there must be a railway here somewhere.
I was in the middle of a football pitch and could see the goal posts, how could I be on a railway track??? It made no sense. The train was now thundering down on me, fear and panic began to take over. I quickly turned my head from left to right desperately searching for the railway tracks. At this point the world began to spin and I fell to the ground, the train seemed to roar straight over me.
Then it was quiet, nothing, the train had gone and I was lying on the ground. I heard a child’s voice say ….”That’s it then daddy”…… and I thought you are right, that really might be “IT”. I really did think I was dying; I was utterly bewildered, had I been shot?
There was no pain, there was no blood, but I was on the ground. There was no cause for the fall and the train had gone. I checked my chest, my head and body for signs of injury, but all was well. Basically no reason why I should be on the floor at all? Mystified, I quietly picked myself up dusted off the grass and went on to the meeting.
By chance the following day was a hearing test at the local Hospital. I had been under treatment for hearing issues for six months; it was also the usual two-hour wait AFTER the appointment time, so I was not in a good mood. Then it happened again……The Steam train was approaching I could hear its increasing pants. This could mean only one of two things. Either the train was now re-routed to the Hospital, or it was in my head. Then I knew………it wasn’t a train at all, the noise was in my head. It grew louder and louder, now the room began to spin, exactly as the day before. Then silence…….
I looked around at all the staff in the waiting room, everyone frantically busy with bits of paper and telephones, oblivious to the real life drama being acted out in front of their eyes. I was suddenly very angry, resentful even. Six months into treatment and they just had no clue, clearly I was in trouble. It seemed like I was dying but somehow they just didn’t care. At that point a nurse approached and said “Time for your hearing test” and I thought, it`s payback time – OK I will show you a hearing test.
The test started, I was resolved to revenge. I deliberately faked the test, I made it up. I completely sabotaged it. If I could hear, I said I couldn’t. If I couldn’t hear, I said I could. Sometimes I just pressed the buttons at random……………it was a complete dogs breakfast and of course, absolutely false.
I met the Doctor 20 minutes later, by now I had calmed down a bit and concerned that I might be in trouble over the (botched) test. Suddenly the world changed in a way that I had not expected. As the Doctor saw the results, his chin fell so fast it nearly broke the desk. I could have jumped up and down shouting “FOOLED YOU” But I decided to shut up and await events. His hands were shaking as he filled out the forms for an emergency MRI scan.
The MRI was the following day and afterwards I asked to go into the control box to check the results. The operator refused, desperately trying not to give anything away, but I was not convinced. In theory my next appointment was in three months but I was recalled to the hospital just two days later, so I knew there was something wrong.
This time I met the Senior Consultant, it was not good news. The world turned one more time as he showed me the pictures of my scans. My God there was a big white mass on the scans, a tumour the size of golf ball (4.S cms in size) I was dazed and felt quite sick and didn’t hear the consultant much after this point. I thought I had brain cancer, a voice in my head said:
“Come in number 32 your time is up”
I was immediately referred to another hospital and awaited the new appointment. A few weeks passed, no letters or calls, meanwhile my health started to slip. The train attacks were more frequent, headaches were very common and food started to taste very strange. I started telephoning to push things on.
After many calls a secretary advised that I had been referred on again to another unit. I pushed to find out why. It seemed I might have further complications, Hydrocephalus – I had to get her to spell that one (Too much water on the brain – too much pressure?) I decided to check it out online. That night I searched the internet carefully and once again the world changed.
At exactly the point when the correct page appeared, the vertical hold on my computer monitor went haywire. The whole picture started to jump up and down. Computers are wonderful; they only ever really fail when you need them? I said some rude words; no longer in a good mood. Now getting motion sickness and starting to feel quite ill from all the movement.
I looked away from the screen at the wall to reduce the motion effect. But it did not help; the whole wall was now jumping up and down. Then I realized it was not the monitor at all; it was my eyesight that had now lost the vertical hold …I was in trouble. My vision now steadied and I could now read the screen again. There it was in black and white in front of me.
“Vision disturbances, always treat as emergency as permanent blindness can result”
You might guess I was in some shock, I had been under treatment for six months or more and now finally we had the answer. I really was very sick and maybe blind soon. I would like to tell you how brave I was, how the stiff upper lip came into play etc. But it wasn’t like that at all. It was a strange experience no emotion no feelings; just nothing, complete, utter, silence.
The following day I called my Doctor and explained what was happening. I wonder how many times he gets this from patients. His voice dropped a note, confirming an appointment same day. It was quite surreal; a Doctor was checking for a condition he has not seen before on the strength of a patient`s internet diagnosis (who can’t even spell the word?) He examined me carefully and then just shook his head.
Amazingly the diagnosis was confirmed, a rare and dangerous condition. In 25 years he had not seen it before but it was for real and now quite advanced. I had a condition called papilledema (first time he had ever seen in real life) it was quite lucky really because I dropped out of Biology at school at 13, I was quite clueless. Thirty years later I was now 4 weeks away from permanent blindness.
The odds were about one in 25 million maybe one in a 100 million and I had just diagnosed it online (In fact I had never heard the word before). The following day I was in hospital and 24 hours later they operated to retrieve the situation.
My eyesight was saved.
After a faked hearing test an internet search; against odds of one in twenty five million, with about four weeks to spare – it worked out OK.
I must be one of the luckiest people alive.
Authors note: People often ask me “Why Overture?” My reply – this was just chapter one, there were eleven more after this and then it did get a bit scary; but that as they say is another story…….