8.15 am, 5th September 2011. That was the time that my life took a massive turn. Whether that turn was for the better or the worse would depend on when you’d asked me that question. Certainly in the hours, days, weeks and months that followed I would have told you that it was a massive turn for the worse. I have a very different opinion now.
September 5th 2011 was the day I returned to work after a 6 week break over the summer. I was working in a busy secondary school and over the summer they had finished building the block of the new school where my office was to be. I was excited to see it.
As I walked into the building that morning however, I suddenly felt a bit odd. Like the floor was moving underneath me. I felt a bit off balance, but I didn’t take much notice. I had taught myself over the years to not react overtly to bodily sensations. I’d had this feeling a number of times before, usually in busy shopping centres. It had always passed.
As I explored my new domain I pushed this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right to the back of my mind. Never make a fuss, never complain. Those were the rules. My rules. I busied myself with opening up the few boxes that had been put into my office by the caretaking staff.
As time went by though, these symptoms became harder to ignore. I was getting more and more dizzy and there was an intense pain and tingling on the top of my head. Like there was an extremely heavy weight there, cutting off the circulation. Maybe I’ve got an ear infection I thought. We’ll deal with that later. Things to do…….I have to find all of the rest of my boxes to unpack. I had packed all of my things into bespoke boxes and a team of people had moved these boxes over the holidays into the new build as soon as it was built.
I had to find all the boxes of first aid equipment so that I could stock the new medical room ready for the students when they started their new term in 2 days time. I was to be one of the few first aiders based in this new half of the school and the old part had not got a medical room anymore. There were a lot of boxes, all looking the same, scattered around the massive new building.
Off I went to walk round the corridors checking labels on hundreds of boxes. Believe it or not I was quite enjoying the challenge! As I walked further down the corridors I couldn’t help but notice these nagging feelings getting worse though. The pain in my head intensified and my eyes developed a kind of wobble. I was finding it more and more difficult to ignore. But I had to…..don’t make a fuss….push through it. It’s nothing. You’re a strong fighter. You have to be the one to carry these boxes. That’s just what you do. Who else is going to do it?
I found most of the boxes in the end and got them back to their intended place. Still more first aid equipment to find but for now, it was time to head over to the old build to visit a couple of members of my team who were going to be based over there until the rest of the new school was built. It was a good few hundred yards walk around the side of the building to get into the other half of the school. A lovely summer’s morning with a light breeze. I remember feeling relieved to be out in the fresh air and by the time I arrived at the old building I noticed that I was feeling decidedly better. Those strange sensations had almost vanished. I went into the office occupied by 2 of my colleagues and had a bit of a chat over a cup of tea. Catching up with the goings on over the summer, making plans for the completion of operation box hut and unpack.
I had a mindset of “oh well, that was weird. Thank God that’s over”. It wasn’t a massive deal to me at that point, but it was only to get so much worse….