We have all heard of concussion, but I’m not sure that I fully appreciated how serious it can be, until the emergency doctor explained to me that when your head hits the ground your brain doesn’t stop moving.
It hits the skull – and the kind of injury that can cause does not show up on an x-ray, MRI or CT scan.
Having been an MP for so many years, I have been very aware of head injuries and the damage they can inflict on people’s lives, but this was my first realisation that something so seemingly minor could be so serious.
Of course, I was unconscious when I hit the ground, so I have no memory of the fall. However, what I do remember is the incredible kindness of the people who were at the Peace Bell for the World Peace Day ceremony, the first-aid trained staff member from the Botanic Gardens, the paramedics from St John and the wonderful team at the emergency department at Christchurch Hospital.
Fortunately for me, a week at home seems to have got me back in reasonable shape.
But it has been a wake-up call.
Life can change course in an instant.
At the same time, I have been so impressed with the quality of our public health system, which is so responsive in times of need. I’m using this column to express my gratitude to each and every one of you, who devote your lives to the care of others. Thank you.