For the life of me I cannot remember what month it was that I became incredibly ill, but it was 1980 and also the time that my one of my aunties said was when it all changed with my behaviour. It was also the year of my first arrest for criminal damage. I received a caution, you had to see the chief inspector in them days and he would rip you a new asshole and that was it off you went, promising to never do it again, had three of them before my 12th birthday. I used to put on the tears, my dad would usually be with me, up the wide old-fashioned staircase to the chief inspectors office and take my bollocking. That police station became a second home to me over the years, from being questioned about criminal damage up to being spoken to about a particular murder. That’s to come.
I remember coming over all funny one day whilst out with a mate, me on my Grifter, my mate his BMX. We used to go everywhere together, best mates for years, shared girlfriends and everything lol, but they’re stories for another time. We was messing about just up the road, on the promenade, from King George V park, in fact we were riding our bikes into a metal door, contained within a large rock platform. The rest is a blur to be honest I remember getting home but the next, however long I have nothing except what has been told to me.
One of my sisters was pregnant at the time and a different doctor from who examined me came to our house to check on her for some reason. I had been unwell for a few days and was really bad. So my mum asked the doctor to have a look at me, he was with me seconds, went to my mum, “we need to call an ambulance immediately, it’s meningitis. You could imagine the shock for everyone. I remember, funny enough, being put into the ambulance. You see there were workmen laying cables along the path up our road and were directly outside my house and had to stop so we could get through, they would always ask after me during my time in hospital and if I remember rightly sent a gift. As i write this I have more recollection coming back to me, I remember the ambulance men being gowned up and wearing masks, that was a scary sight, I can feel it all over again as I remember.
I was put into an isolation room when I arrived at Canterbury hospital, next to my bed was a window that looked out onto the corridor, unless you was an adult and not pregnant you wasn’t allowed in my room, so some people, I had to talk to through the window once I had started to feel better. I wasn’t sure how long I was out of it but I was in for two weeks. They had to give me what’s know as a lumbar punch, where they drain fluid from your spine, the needle was HUUUUUUUUUGE!!, it took them about four attempts to take the fluid, I remember being asked if I wanted a glass of water and me being worried it would come out of the holes. OMG it’s also just come to me that I would not eat the hospital food and I would only eat peanut butter sandwiches and weetabix, which my mum used to bring, bless her. One thing I do remember, though not her name which angers me sometimes, is this 12-year-old girl, I was ten, so I’m thinking it happened not long after the summer holidays finished. Well, she used to come and talk to me in the evenings through my window, developed quite a crush on her if I’m honest, this one night we were talking for ages and we were getting told off by the nurses, the next morning she never woke up. So sad.
I sort of agree with my aunt but I then I was a little shit at infant school. I recall that I had to eat my school dinners in the headmistress’ office because I used to nick food off of other kids plates when they weren’t looking. So! who knows if I would turn out the way I did even without the illness I suffered. I believe myself that my life’s path was chosen for me, to set me up for this part of my life where I am now treading, my own, new path. I’ll start writing about my school years next time, some funny stories to come.