7 Jan 23
Dear Readers, my dispatches will always be free and open to everyone. I am unable to use my hands and I’m writing, via dictation, with the help of my family. If you could become a paid subscriber and support me, it’d mean so much.
On Boxing Day, in Rome, after taking a comfortable walk to the Piazza del Popolo, followed by a stroll through the Villa Borghese, and then back to the apartment, I had a fall.
I had just seen Mo Salah score against Aston Villa, sipped half a beer, when I began to feel dizzy. I lent forward and put my head between my legs; I woke up a few minutes later in a pool of blood, my neck in a grotesquely twisted position, my wife on her knees beside me.
I then experienced what can only be described a scooped, semi-circular object with talons attached scuttling towards me. Using what was left of my reason, I saw this was my hand, an uncanny object over which I had no agency.
It occurred to me then that there was no coordination between what was left of my mind and what remained of my body. I had become divorced from myself. I believed I was dying. I believed I had three breaths left.
It seemed like a miserable and ignoble way to die. Every evening before I go upstairs, put on the dishwasher, open the window and join my wife, I wonder how more opportunities there will be for these domestic felicities.
From the floor my wife heard my frantic shouting. She saved my life and kept me calm. For a few days I was profoundly traumatised, altered and unrecognisable to myself. I am in the hospital. I cannot move move my arms and legs.
I cannot scratch my nose, make a phone call or feed myself. As you can imagine, this is both humiliating, degrading and a burden for others. I’ve had an operation on my spine and have shown minor improvements in the last few days.
I have sensation and some movement in all my limbs, and I will begin physio and rehabilitation and soon as possible. I want to thank the doctors and nurses at the Gemelli hospital, Rome, for all their extraordinary kindness, competence and care.
At the moment, it is unclear whether I will ever be able to walk again, or whether I’ll ever be able to hold a pen, if there is any assistance that I would be grateful for, it would be with regard to voice assisted hardware and software, which will allow me to watch, write and begin work again, and continue some kind of half life. If you have any ideas about how you might help, please comment below and my son will be in touch. I want to thank all my readers for their love and support over the years.
Dear Mr Kureishi,
Just happen across the terrible news of your accident. My son is a quadriplegic because of cerebral palsy. He lives by himself with help and has been driving a power chair with his head since he is three. He fortunately has speech and uses voice recognition software. Between google assistant and voice recognition software for writing you will be able to live a meaningful rich life no matter how far your rehabilitation can take you. Please accept my heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery and know whatever the outcome you will not have a half life! That would be an insult to millions of people living full and productive lives with disabilities. Sincerely Birgit S.
Dear Mr. Kureishi - In September of 2021, I woke up on a Sunday morning and could not move my legs. Over the next few weeks, I lost the use of my arms and the ability to breathe on my own. All of this happened completely unexpectedly and without an identifiable cause. After 2 months in the hospital, during which time I did regain the ability to breathe and some limited use of my arms, I moved to a physical rehabilitation center, and slowly but surely relearned how to walk. It has been a difficult journey, but I am at last approaching a semblance of my former life. One of the great revelations for me, as I think it has been for you, is that people want to help and are happy to do whatever needs doing. It was hard for me to accept such help but there really was no choice. I wish for you a steady and ultimately complete recovery from this injury! Sincerely, Kathy O.