Where do I start?
On Friday night I saw One Minute Silence for the third time. The gig was held at The Garage, a little club in my native Glasgow. One Minute Silence gigs are interesting, because the mosh pits are just as important a part of the entertainment as the music itself. We're not talking your average "nu-metal" pit filled with whining, black-clothed teenagers, this was hardcore moshing for experienced, capable pit lovers.
I headed up with a couple of friends - Barbour, who has his name tattooed across his back in a Spinal Tap sort of font, Andy, my DJ and assorted of other people. We got down in the pit, having a couple of circles, slamming matches, generally going crazy inside that little circle of chaos. At the last One Minute Silence gig I ended up needing four session of dental work to repair the damage done by someone's boot in my mouth. This time I was pretty happy to come away with just a slight knock to the head. Before heading home we had intended to go to Rufus T. Firefly, a fine drinking establishment where we planned to enjoy some light refreshments, but some of us were asked for ID. Oh well, life sucks.
Before I went to bed I started to feel pretty sick and a little dizzy, but it didn't bother me. As far as I was concerned I was going to wake up in the morning feeling fine and ready for my judo class. It didn't quite work out that way.
I woke up with the mother of all headaches. My vision was blurred, the room was spinning around me and I felt like I would throw up if it weren't for the fact that I hadn't eaten anything. I tried to stand up and fell out of bed. I didn't even manage to get my arms underneath me as I fell, I just hit the floor, face first. I pulled myself upright with the aid of my bedside cabinet and made my way to the living room. My mother was sitting on the couch. She took one look at me and said "you're going to hospital."
I wasn't about to argue, but it wasn't until I caught a glimpse of myself in the wing mirror of her car that I understood her concern. I was completely white. I don't mean a little bit pale, I mean my skin was drained of all colour. #FFFFFF.
I got up to the Accident and Emergency department, where I was immediately put on a trolley and wheeled into a room for some tests. I tried to follow a little flashlight with my eyes, but the beam was blinding me. I tried to squeeze the doctor's fingers, but I had almost no strength in my arms.
Then I was wheeled down for an X-ray. The ceiling above me looked as if it was racing by at a tremendous speed, then I found myself in a white room lying under a massive, mechanical contraption which moved around me and buzzed loudly.
The results of the X-ray came back - no cranial fracture. That's always nice to hear.
I was diagnosed with a bad concussion and admitted to one of the wards. Lying in bed, watching Wales take a beating in the big international rugby match on TV, I noticed strange things happening to my perception of time. Sometimes a few moments would go past and the game would have moved on by ten minutes. Other times I would stare vacantly at the screen for what seemed like a very long time, but only thirty seconds or so would have actually elapsed.
I was in the ward for around five hours. I know this for sure, because I was under observation, and this meant that every hour a nurse would come in and take my blood pressure, ask me to follow a flashlight beam with my eyes, ask me where I was, what year it was, where I was (did you already ask me that?). This happened five times before I started to regain my balance.
Eventually the doctor who I had first seen came in to see me. A bearded man in a green sweater was with him. The doctor told me that he was with Mountain Rescue, and I told him that I had never been up a mountain in my life and he must have the wrong guy. They laughed at this. I later learned that he was there for training in the treatment of head injuries, and that this had been explained to me at some length.
At visiting time my mother returned, and I asked if I could go home with her. I was told that there wouldn't be any problem with that, but that I could expect a headache and symptoms lasting up to two weeks. I was also advised not to practice martial arts for three weeks.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have an unhealthy obsession with martial arts. I practice judo, taekwon do and aikido and spend every spare minute practising my turning kick, working with a punchbag or studying some new technique in my fairly substantial library of martial arts books. I've got a respectable collection of Hong Kong action movies and some Extreme Fighting and Ultimate Fighting Championship tapes that I watch whenever there isn't anything good on TV.
For me, three weeks with no martial arts training is going to be like hell. I'm going to miss an aikido course which I already paid for, and this means I'm going to have to wait until the next grading comes around before I can progress through the belt system. I already feel like I'm out of shape from sitting around the house. I don't know how I'm going to keep myself out of the dojo for another two and a half weeks.
I guess I should look on the bright side. My parents bought me some stuff out of sympathy, like a couple of books, including "When the Emperor was Divine" by Julie Otsuka, and I even got a new Ultimate Fighting Championship video which has some interesting fights on it.
I guess I shouldn't complain too much about my situation. At least I'm not out in Iraq getting shot at by my own side. Peace everyone.