At university I vaguely knew Matt Frei, later a Channel 4 newsreader. I saw him again in 2013 when I was on the 6th floor of Northwick Park Hospital having rehab for my stroke. I was sitting in my wheelchair, staring into space, when I saw him walk past in the corridor. In an example of what I came to know as ‘pre-stroke thinking’, I immediately thought: fancy that! Here of all places! I’ll find out what he’s doing…
And then – after a moment – I looked down and saw I was in a wheelchair. I couldn’t talk properly, either. In his job he’d met countless presidents and prime ministers, and he wouldn’t necessarily remember me – especially if I grunted. I stayed put.
He was coming to see a female colleague who was VERY angry. She couldn’t speak; she just SCREAMED. They’d put her in a room of her own with a nurse outside (whereas I was in a 4-person room). I saw her and her husband going for a walk in the corridor sometime later; he looked shellshocked, appalled – as my wife must have.
But at least I didn’t scream.