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Thursday April 17

April 17 2014 was a Thursday. It brought back memories of another April 17 that was also a Thursday, i.e. in 1986.

The day was starting like every normal school day of a 16 year old high school student. I was riding to school by bike, a distance of about 12.5 mi, together with a couple of friends that joined me underway. However, that specific April 17 turned out a bit different. Me and my friends wanted to cross a certain road, as we always did, not to far after the road takes a turn. As I started crossing the road however a car came through the turn, which caused me to freeze. The car crashed full into me. My head smashed against the windshield and I got dragged along for over 18 yards hanging by my shoulder on the outside mirror, until the car came to a standstill.

Above all, it must have been terrible for my friends, seeing this happen right in front of them. I can only copy what I was told afterwards, as I have no memories of the event. I don’t even remember getting up in the morning, although I do remember the evening before. My brain only re-started generating memories 2 weeks later.

An ambulance takes me to a local hospital, where I am immediately transferred to a more specialized hospital with special transport. When my parents arrive, it is made clear that there is not much hope. I am in intensive care attached to lots of equipment, tubes and wires. I have no idea of what is going on as I am in a coma because of the pressure my skull has caused on my brains when hitting the windshield.

24 Hours later, Friday morning. Just before the surgeons want to relieve the pressure in my head by drilling my skull, I open my eyes shortly. The drilling is cancelled. 2 Weeks in coma follow, and in total 6 weeks in hospital. My collar-bone is broken, but that is nothing compared to the fact that my left leg has a dual, open fracture. A metal plate is attached to my bone to keep it together.

School is over. The advantage is that I can completely enjoy the soccer World Championship of 1986 in Mexico (night games included), where the Belgian national team performed so well. The problem is however that I am not entitled to pass on to the next grade. Up to today I am grateful that my teachers accomplished with the ministry of education that they were allowed to take that decision. As from September I went back to school. By bike. To the next grade. Walking was no problem, but running was impossible until the metal plate was removed from my leg one year later.

Some will probably state that this day, April 17 1986, and my bike accident, marks the start of my insanity. I officially deny. I was already pretty crazy before my accident. I am born an anarchist. More than 28 years after the accident I am more than ever convinced of this. I did have much luck, as it seems that chances to survive undamaged were non-existent.


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