My Beautiful Fear
This is for the people who are struggling with bad things happening in their lives or they simply aren’t where they want to be at the moment.
It is said everything that happens to me is good. At one time I simply did not believe this to be true…now, now I am not so sure. In early 2013 we made contact with a supposedly top public relations expert, a Mr Bruce Lynn from New York City. Mr Lynn, in his words promised to make me a huge star in the USA through my books and teachings. Of course there was a fee to be paid and I thought that fair enough. After all the promise of live appearances on the Today Show and reviews in the New York Times along with a launch party at a top New York restaurant followed by a tour of talks was everything I had hoped for and so the fee was paid. The arrangements were made for my wife and I to fly from Manchester to New York and our excitement and hope was at an all-time high. Then Mr Lynn went AWOL. His promises turned out to be bogus, he turned out to be a liar and our hard worked money disappeared in a puff of smoke. Mr Lynn stopped taking my calls and any emails to him were a waste of time as he had neither the decency nor courage to answer them. The twenty or so books posted to him at his request to his fancy Manhattan apartment may well have ended up in the trash bin as none of the media outlets he claimed to place them with ever acknowledged receipt of them. Mr Lynn it would appear, turned out to be a fraud.
Our level of disappointment reached the same pitch as our previous level of excitement and we were left licking our wounds. Myself I felt extremely bitter at the coward. My wife could see I was struggling so we regrouped, raised funds and travelled instead to Orlando, Florida to source a location for a possible dojo we wanted to open and possibly meet with film-makers with a view to having one of my books turned into a movie. I felt unwell and tired but hoped the sunshine state would cheer me up. It always had on our many visits there before. Two days into the trip that replaced New York in terms of timing and all seemed okay. I was lethargic and bitterly disappointed that we had been conned but was determined to put it behind us and move forward. And then the biggest disaster of my life occurred.
Without doubt the darkest days of my life in Florida Hospital, Orlando.
At first I thought it was kidney stones as the ever increasing pain in my back seemed to be burning a hole right through me but by the time Julie returned from a dash to the pharmacy with prune juice, I could stand it no more and was screaming in agony. A gray look of concern engulfed Julie’s face as she called for an ambulance and I was rushed to hospital, flashing lights and all. Herein began twelve days of my hell.
My recollections are at best hazy but two big operations, cat scans, many, many blood tests (enough to make my veins collapse), being given multiple drugs causing horrific hallucinations and an eventual four day bout on a life support machine were how I spent our time in Florida. I was tested for many things including cancer but the eventual diagnosis was acute pneumonia. Doctors said they had never seen it so bad and that I had had the condition for at least four months previously was a time bomb waiting to go off. Things were so bad (I was told later) that Doctors did not think I was going to make it prompting a tearful Julie to ask if she should send for our children to say goodbye. One brave Doctor said no, he was determined to save me and he did. Drifting in and out of consciousness I have no recollection of knocking a nurse out cold with a kick to the head in my confusion nor of the twelve people that it took to restrain me and tie me to the bed as I struggled to escape, no clue as to where I was. Still, despite my awful, uncharacteristic behaviour they battled to save me and thank God they did.
As I eventually climbed out of my haze and despair, one final thing knocked me for six but the aftermath bought me to tears. I awoke one morning in a fog. I could hear people talking in an Indian accent which confirmed to me what I already thought I knew; I was in India. I was also vaguely aware of the date and instinctively knew Julie had abandoned me. She had gone home and I was to die here on my own in a country where I knew no one. This true to me in my mind, as true as I sit and write this. As I drifted back into unconsciousness, petrified, I distinctly heard a Doctor tell a nurse, “No, they have all gone home. He will die here.” Fog.
Sometime later I awoke again as a nurse tended to me. She gave me a smile and asked if she could ask me some questions. I nodded. “Simon do you know what State you are in?” she asked kindly. Bizarrely I said “Idaho.” She shook her head. “No Simon, you are in Florida. Do you know what month it is?” I looked to the window and into the sun desperately trying to clear my head. Nothing. “It’s September Simon. Do you know why you are here?” Again, nothing. I struggled to speak as I wanted to ask her a question. She pulled her chair close to me. “Has my wife gone home? Has she left me to die?” She looked incredulous. “Your wife? Julie. No honey she is here. She has been here every day since you came in.” Relief flooded through me and as if on cue my beautiful wife came in followed by our youngest son. I couldn’t help myself. I cried so hard with relief as Julie held me, stroked my head and hushed me…and then I got better.
Weak as a kitten at Starbucks two days after my hospital release.
Weak as a kitten recovering and relaxing at a Starbucks before a long flight home.
Five days later I was released from hospital weak as a kitten but during those five days I made friends with the people who undoubtedly saved me. They attributed my survival to my Martial Art training and never have I been so grateful for it. The black cloud on my horizon was the news that a 24 year old girl, admitted with the same condition as I, had died. “It just wasn’t your turn,” said a tearful nurse. “God wasn’t ready for you yet.”
So why was the original bad incident when Bruce Lynn ripped me off a good thing? Well if we had travelled to New York instead of Florida I believe things would not have turned out the way they did. In Florida I was admitted to one of the best hospitals in the world and treated by five of the leading consultants. We had friends in Florida who came to our aid and as we had been there so many times before Julie knew her way around in our hire car. She was able to visit all day, every day and then take care of the practical issues. The hotel we were in was a Holiday Inn but a reasonable price, one that we could just about afford so Julie and our son were not left homeless. Believe me, our insurance company were as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike. The ten days after my release and our flight home, were spent in the warm Florida sun and our days idled away at a very relaxed Starbucks. I bumped into lovely friends from back home and seeing them helped the healing process. Orlando was our second home.
What if it had gone the other way? What if Mr Lynn had told us he had secured the gigs he claimed? What if we had made the trip to New York instead? On the day of my collapse I could have been in a strange city where we knew nobody. I had no doubt that the half wet Bruce Lynn would have abandoned us in our peril. The man has no backbone or it would seem, compassion. Julie would not have been able to afford the extra two or more weeks we were forced to stay as hotels in New York are way above in price than Orlando. She would have been on her own in an unknown city with no clue as to the layout and set up of New York and no way of getting around save the subway. Daunting for a stranger with a young boy in tow. We had no one to rely on for support such as our daughter’s friend who came to the Orlando Hospital on my first day and supported Julie, filling in forms with her and being there for her. Our ten day period of limbo would have been spent in a bustling, full on city. I am sure a lovely place with lovely people but for me to recover there? I am not sure it would be for me.
We would have, I expect, made it home but fraught with anxiety, perhaps never being brave enough to venture this way again. So here is another reason why it turned out good; in the ten days we waited to come home, as I rested my strength came back and with so much time on my hands I decided to give it another go. I researched new PR firms and found a very, very professional one…in Florida. We sign with them this month and a huge USA campaign gets underway. I have no doubt we will travel the pond again to pursue our dream.
To finish briefly, my bitter disappointment at Bruce Lynn’s dishonour was quickly replaced with a sense of relief when ten year old Billy simply said “I am glad we weren’t in New York when this happened dad. Mum and I would have been completely lost.”
The determination and my belief I have been given a second chance at my dream have convinced me; what happens to us is good despite our beautiful fears. My survival gave me a new lease of life that made me want to hit my quest for success head on and that I should grab any chance that came my way. After all, we aren’t here forever. As for Mr Lynn? He still won’t take my daily calls. So stick with it. That dark place you find yourself in may just be a way of saying this isn’t right for you, there is something bigger and better meant for you. Go with the flow (my wife will laugh at that, I always struggle to go with the flow but I am learning.) Know that when things go bad they also go good and as sure as the sun follows the dark you will be okay. Embrace your Beautiful Fear. God bless, he will do.
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