Danger is a part of his life…..

An Accident Waiting to Happen: A Life with Ehlers Danlos SyndromeAn Accident Waiting to Happen: A Life with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome by Philip Howard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Somebody whispered in his ears- ‘your situation is grave, very grave.’
Situated between the consciousness and unconsciousness- his body was also echoing the same feeling.
He knew something was wrong-very wrong.
Just some moment’s ago-he was at his seventh heaven-after scoring 310 runs. After all he is a boy of twelve. Just like any normal boy of his age-he was full of life. And just like any other boy of the same age-he had a knack of doing everything in a hurry.
He dashed to the school canteen after the game is over-or more preciously just after the lunch hour has begun. And in a hurry-he overtook the boundary wall separating the ground. It is a wall of merely one and a half feet high.
After all he is exhausted after such well made runs and lunch is the best medicine of exhaustion! Probably he had done it thousands of time before. But that day was different. There was a slight overnight drizzle and the ground was slippery. When he made the leap to cross the hurdle-his left foot slipped and hit the sharp edge of the wall.
He immediately realized it was no ordinary wound. The blood coming out from his wound and the rippled flesh were telling him-he is in serous trouble. The pain was becoming unbearable.
But he knew he has to get help……..
An Accident Waiting to Happen by Philip Howard is a personal memoir of the retired teacher. However I doubt whether the word personal memoir is a fitting description of the book. Rather it is a chronicle of the struggle of the man against a demon called ‘Ehlers Danlos Syndrome’ a rare medical symptom. In the words of the writer-‘sufferers from this condition have joints that dislocate easily causing long term damage to their joints. In addition their skin cuts or bruises at the slightest knock.’ When we go on reading the book-at some point we will discover that the book has crossed the boundary of being a mere personal experience of life. It has transformed itself into a song of hope-hope that teaches us to overcome all fragility of life.
It is the story of a man who had shown the rare courage to overcome Himalayan obstacles by his sheer determination. He faced his destiny when he was barely a baby-he crawled under a sideboard to bring a ball thrown by his father. His parents helped weeping him from under the furniture-face blood strained, bruised-as we can imagine for a patient suffering from the symptom having very thin layer of skin-prone of tearing in slightest of knock. Then it was when he was 12-he had the major accident that can easily take away his life. Continuous blood hemorrhage-pain like a saw is cutting through your bone-seeing in own eyes is not easy to digest-but the brave boy bear with all these pains with courageous heart. And above all he had not lost his natural sense of humor at moments like these! When a beautiful nurse was pressing her hard he did not mind at first-but soon ‘I felt a burning sensation as the angel Duffy turned into a witch from hell as she began inserting twenty stitches.’
Something is strikingly different in the writing style of Philip-his way of fading in and fading out of scenes, his ability to make events alive by words alone, his dry humor jingling all the way-all are ingredients of a successful script recipe. And not to forget he has the rare ability to inflict his emotions-his feelings to the minds of his readers. The first time he saw his own flesh tearing up and blood oozing out of his wound had far reaching effects. For many more days-for many more weeks-for many more months-for many more years to come the memory of the injury haunted him-like a black ghostly shadow-a shadow whose face is covered with a mask- a face of fear. It was a traumatizing experience for young Philip-it completely changed his personality-sent him to a shell-and it took many more such wounds to learn to face the fragile life.
Even after he got married and became adoring father and a caring husband-injury continued to meet him at the crossroads of life. The next major accident happened in their garage-it was something graver than the boyhood injury. As he is now in adulthood-no way was it then a green stick injury-the bones are mature-and they are fragile. It is a deadly combination indeed. At the adulthood-one cracks does not get easily get repaired even for a healthy individual-let alone for a patient who is suffering from a syndrome that has a natural tendency of calcium deficiency in bones? Will he have to walk on crutch for the rest of his life?
But his description of the post injury treatment was successful to make me laugh. Don’t think I am an avatar of the devil himself-it is his narration style that makes me laugh-not his situation. He was thinking at his bed that everyone were his past students- everyone have some irritating experience with him-everyone must have been humiliated in some way or other when he was a teacher –and now it is their turn to take revenge. And revenge they will take.
Only a person who has the rare insight of always looking a half empty glass as half filled glass-can think in this way.
Throughout our lives we desire for many-we cherish for many yet, those many do never come. On the other hand we get repulsed by certain many-we hate certain many-but they do become an integral part of our lives. Philip at a point at his life rightly realized that accident will be a friend for his life. A friend –whom Philip hoped that he had met for the last time-after an encounter!
But the irony of life is that he had to meet him again at the crossroad of life!
Again, and again, and again……

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