Last night I had a few “meetings” with the boys in various locations. First off was The Green Vespa for dinner with Gottfried and Darren ( Bangers and mash ) and then whilst I was actually on my way home I spied Will’s distinctive black CRM250 outside a bar so went in and found Will and Anthony playing pool,Humphrey and Di at the bar and Andy and Mike also in attendance. In fact, the bar was heaving ! Humphrey introduced me to a guy called Steve and this guy was…well….a bloody legend.
About 6 months ago or so, Steve ( a very fit Perth chap of about 54 or so ) contracted meningicocal disease. As he started telling me his story I just felt compelled to keep asking all sorts of questions ( as is my way ) and as Steve was quite happy to answer them, we settled in to a really good solid conversation. He said the first symptoms was a quick and sever flu and then going to bed he said he literally sweated straight through the mattress. Steve then decided he should take himself to hospital but was so delirious and hallucinatory he couldn’t drive.
10 Hours later he was diagnosed with Meningicocal and he then spent months waiting to see if the gangrene would claim his legs.Eventually Steve had both legs amputated at the knees.
Steve has a very similar lifestyle to me. Surfer, skater,skier, active, etc. Can you imagine losing both your legs within a 24 -48 hour period with NO warning ? Struth. But do you think Steve was a whinger ? He tells me he took one one look down at his ( lack of ) legs when he woke up from the surgery and instantly decided ” ok…fuck it…they are gone….let’s get on with it.” He shared a ward with a few other guys who also contracted the disease and tells me they were not handling it well at all – they were completely shattered, unable to cope etc. But Steve’s attitude was simply…amazing. he now has two state of the art prosthetics and to see him get around you would never know he had no legs. He also said it has been a real experiment in human emotion watching the way his friends and family have dealt with it and by all accounts, Steve really needed some down time in Cambodia as I think the attention he has received ( both positive and negative) had just drained his energy and he basically needed a bloody good sleep ! However I could tell that Cambodia was just the tonic for him ( he had been many times before) as he looked really fit and full of colour and was sharp as a razor. Steve had taken himself of the Class A stupefying drugs the doctors had prescribed for the pain and was sleeping long hours, eating well and basically enjoying a break from everything back home whilst getting to know his new body and its abilities and limitations – not that I really think he has any !
Steve almost left me feeling that his life had IMPROVED with the loss of his legs ! I mean, I am sure that’s not really the case but he was just so upbeat I was in awe of the guy. We had alot of laughs as he told me how he handles the limbless beggars that come up to him on the street. He just looks them in the eye, lifts both his trouser legs to show his bioinc legs and says “no….you give ME some money!”. They run.Classic.
Anyways, I found myself drawn to this laconic and positive guy and we were soon motoring over to Howie Bar for a few more beers and a game or two of pool. Unfortunately things went south when I almost got into a fight with a well-known arsehole American who was just being an arrogant twat over the pool table. Howie arrived and asked me to leave despite everyone in the bar telling him that the other guy was completely out of order so I left despite protesting Howie’s poor judgement.
Steve…you rock mate.Happy to have met you and hope to have another beer soon.