Anyway about 6pm on March 4th 1993, a group of knife wielding masked men cut open my chest, sliced my left leg from ankle to crotch (VERY close to my crotch actually) and stopped my heart beating for a period of time I'd rather not know about.
And as well as thanking them afterwards, they were all well paid for doing so.
No I wasn't being mugged, except financially; I was having bypass surgery.
It's been 16 years since that traumatic operation and I'm happy to report that the leg scar has almost totally gone, the chest scar has been covered with a dense foliage of hair (YES IT HAS, DAMMIT) and best of all, to the best of my knowledge anyway, the grafts have all held. All 5 of them.
You know how I always claim that I photograph anything ? Well you'll not be surprised to learn then that I took my camcorder into the hospital and in classic style, did a bit to camera just before they wheeled me off to surgery. I'd have taken it in with me but given the choice, I thought it best to be 'under' while they ripped me apart.
A while ago I looked at that footage for the first time in about....oh 16 years. There I was in my dressing gown, in my private room (thank you BUPA) talking away to an unknown audience as if the tape was to be played at my state funeral. I know I wasn't scared though. I would be now. Maybe it was because I was only 40 and had a 98% chance of survival. Maybe it was because MRSA hadn't been invented yet. Maybe it was because I was in a lovely place that was more like a posh hotel. But on reflection, I think it was because of the pre op drugs they'd just injected into me.
I stood just inside my closed door and recorded my farewell speech for posterity, just in case. I've always had a thing for the dramatic. I'm not very practical though and hadn't even made a will. Probably a good thing then that I survived as my estate would've taken some processing ! Not !!
So it's Happy Anniversary to my bypass grafts today. Long may they continue to let life giving blood flow to and from my heart. And as for the scalpel they left inside me ?
After 16 years it's almost become a part of me and I barely hear the rattle.