After I received my appointment to go and see the hospital consultant, I went to see him and was given a piece of news that at the time, devastated me. After the initial examination, x- rays and an MRI, I was informed that I had a couple of discs in the cervical spine area that were slowly but surely working their way through my spinal cord, which if left untreated, would potentially paralyse me. I was told I would need an operation asap and I would have to stop working immediately and I couldn’t, under any circumstances, go to the gym. I drove home from the hospital with all sorts of things racing through my mind. The ironic thing was, even though I wasn’t happy in the job I was doing, the fact that I had to stop working was a physical and psychological blow. So, I informed work of my circumstances and went on sick indefinitely, with a slim hope of returning to work as early as I could. Then, I waited. After what seemed like an eternity, I was referred to a private hospital, where I had the operation and alarmingly woke up a few hours later with very little feeling down one side of my body. It so happened that I my body had unluckily suffered an adverse reaction to the anaesthetic and I had suffered a minor stroke. It took me almost a year to recover, during which time the limp I was left with slowly dissipated. I went to work a year later and retired on the grounds of ill health. It was during this long, never-ending year that I made a choice which I believe was part of my destiny. I was severely bored so made the decision to go and enrol on a basic computer course because I knew next to nothing about how to use one and I saw working on computers as a viable way back into work. It was during the duration of the course that I received a slap in the face. The tutor told me in no uncertain terms, that my English, especially my spelling, was atrocious. This insult, though hard to take, motivated me to enrol on an English GCSE course at a local further education centre. I didn’t really give myself much chance of doing the course, never mind passing it. However, pass it I did with an A star, which in turn gave me the motivation to enrol on a collage course. The course consisted of not just English A level, but also history, maths, biology, science, creative writing and a host of other subjects. It was a 2 year course and I was only able to participate in it because my wife supported me financially and emotionally, which is something that I will remain eternally grateful for. Near the end of my first year, I was asked by the course director if I would consider editing the in-house collage newsletter throughout my second year. I was still unsure of myself but accepted with a quiet reluctance. The second year was long and arduous, made even more difficult because as the year went on, more and more students dropped out of contributing to the newsletter. However, I persevered and almost single handedly hit deadline after deadline of publication as well as completing all of my assignments. In the end, I graduated comfortably and was then faced with a decision. To try and find work to help out with the bills or try for a place at University. I bit the bullet and plumped for University.
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