On the 4th of June, I had a paragliding accident. I was literally spun around downwind, straight into a hill. I blacked out on impact. When I woke up and found myself on the ground, I managed to get out of my harness, get my phone and call my son Roger who headed straight over to help, arriving in around ten minutes.
The walk up to the road was excruciatingly painful, and on the car ride home Roger phoned 999. My wife Caroline was at home and several friends and neighbours expressed their concern as the ambulance crew manoeuvred me into a whole body vacuum mattress for the journey ahead, where I lay covered by Caro’s cardigan for warmth, happy that she was with me as Roger followed in his car.
For the first 24 hours in Salisbury hospital, I wasn’t allowed to move from lying on my back with the bed inclined at no more than 15 degrees. I was so grateful when the CT scan results came through and the orthopaedic team said that moderate movement was good for me: to sleep on my side was a huge relief.
By the third day I had made it with crutches to the chair by my bed. My daughter Lily had recommended a podcaster by the name of Steven Bartlett, who I now realise is a dragon off Dragon’s Den. The episode I chose was nearly two hours long and is an interview with ex-head of business at Google X (now just called X), Mo Gawdat.
Mo wrote the book Solve Happy, an engineer’s study of the subject of happiness. In the podcast, Mo tells us about the “eraser test”, a thought experiment developed by X where a moment is pinpointed in the subject’s life. The moment must be when something really bad happened to them, and they are asked: “If we had built a magic eraser and were able to go back and erase that event so that it had never happened – would you use it, would you erase the event?
“Bear in mind that if you erase the event, you will erase everything that happened as a result of the event: every friend you made as a result; every experience you had as a result; every learning that you had as a result, and every resilience you developed as a result.”