GETTING INTO TAFE
One thing that hit me like a lightning bolt, while I was up in the rehab, was the fact that now that I am sober, I can do anything. I remember the exact moment and place that this lit me up. It was my first major moment of clarity. The miracle was kicking in!!! I was allowing my higher power to take control. I was on my normal 5k morning walk through the country side, where the rehab was situated.The sun was bursting through the trees, warming my very soul. I took a picture, both mentally and physically. Every job I have ever had, had to be one where I could get away with drinking in. Not any more!. I loved travelling and loved animals, there must be something I could do that would combine the two. I figured that maybe I could find work in wildlife parks around Australia, helping sick and wounded animals, a bit of a dream job but it was a plan. I knew I would have to get some sort of qualifications so, once I got out of rehab and into the “halfway” program” (which I will explain in detail on “the recovery” page) I scoured the TAFE site to see if there was any type of course that would help. I found one, Diploma of Animal Technology, it was a one year course covering all aspects of animal care. It was particularly targeted at the health and wellbeing of animals used in research. researchers can no longer get away with inflicting any kind of pain on animals, it is so heavily regulated now and the Animal Tech’s job is to make sure the animals are never suffering! It was basically a vet assistant course, covering injection administration, assessing the health of an animal, anaesthesia (which really got me interested), simple operations, enrichment, among other things. Before I could get into TAFE, I had to pass an entry test as I didn’t have enough high school marks! I must be a bit smarter than I thought because I scored 97% on the English part and 99% on the maths part.!!!! I also did an algebra part that wasn’t compulsory so I guessed all the answers and got 76%. More than enough to get into the course. Then the first of many challenges began.
TAFE stuffed up and claimed my scores weren’t high enough to get in!! I contacted them and they gave me some big bullshit reason why I couldn’t get in. There were too many people applying for the course and others had priority or some crap. they’ed stuffed up and wouldn’t admit it. There is a “prayer” used in AA which goes “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference” (it normally starts with God but I’m still uncomfortable with that word, I’m spiritual, not religious). I was told by many to just accept the fact that I couldn’t get in to the course and try again next year…… at 51 I was running out of years!!!. This is where I would have picked up a drink and blamed the world for its wrongs. So I gathered the courage to change the things I could, after all, they were in the wrong. After many many phone calls, by chance (or was it), I finally got onto the girl who had made the original decision to not allow me in. While I was explaining to her my side, she was looking through the records and was trying to explain her side, when all of a sudden she went quiet. Her next words were “my god, I have made a mistake, and not only to your application, I’ve done it to a couple of other people, I’m so sorry”, “YOUR’E IN STEVE”. That moment was awesome, there were a couple of tears and a lot of thanking my guardian angel!!!! On my way. I ended up getting my Diploma and meeting some awesome fellow students.
THE HELICOPTER CRASH
This is not so much an achievement, more a disaster that started as an achievement! Something I’ve always wanted to do was fly radio controlled helicopters. Not the little toy ones, but the expensive hobby type that cost a fortune. It took me almost a year and thousands of dollars, to master getting one off the ground! I ended up getting lessons, which I should have done from the beginning and saved a ton of money. I became a master at stripping down, and then rebuilding my helicopters. I crashed them so often. Once I got the hang of flying, I was addicted. Absolutely loved It. I must have bought 10 helicopters and ended up with 3 good ones. A 500 and 550 size electric heli and a 600 size nitro heli. As I said earlier, these are not toys. They weigh about 5 to 7 kilo’s. The batteries alone weigh nearly a Kilo on their own. The props are made from carbon fibre so they’re really strong. The wingspan on the 500 is nearly a Metre across and spin at about 15,000 RPM! These can be lethal weapons. I found out early in the piece that two people had been decapitated recently from a 500 size heli. They were doing stunts far too close to themselves. One of the guys was found without the top of his skull by some boys playing in a park.
It was a Sunday and I’d just finished work . I’d previously crashed my 500 heli and decided to go to the park, just out of the city, to fix and fly it. There is usually a group of other keen flyers at this park, however, I was alone on this day. I rebuilt the heli and actually had to “manufacture” a couple of parts. It was time to test fly her. Now normally you should have your heli about 20 meters away from you for safety reasons, I placed it about 10 meters away from me. I took off and hovered it about 5 meters above the ground. All of a sudden something went terribly wrong. The heli started wobbling out of control. I looked down at my radio controller, for a second, to see if I’d hit a button by mistake. When I looked up the heli was right in front of me!! So I’ve got an out of control heli, with 1 meter across carbon fibre propellers, spinning at 15,000 RPM, coming straight for my head and only centimeters away from me!! I managed to cut the motor off but it was too late. Natural instincts put my left arm (I’m left-handed) up to protect my head. I remember feeling a huge whack on my arm and I fell to the ground. I remember thinking “this ain’t going to be good” and was expecting to do some serious bandaging. I stood up and looked at my arm. I couldn’t believe what I saw. The heli blades had hit my arm and sliced it open, three-quarters of the way around, all the way to the bone. I bolted to the van and grabbed a tea towel and wrapped it around the wound. Blood was now flowing heavily. There was no one around so I stood in the middle of the road screaming for help. A few cars were coming down the road so I stood in front of them yelling that I needed help. No one stopped. They just drove around me. Looking back, I don’t blame them. It must have looked pretty scary, a guy standing in the middle of the road, bleeding profusely and screaming for help. At this point I really thought I was a goner. I’d now noticed blood oozing from my chest as well. I was going to bleed to death. All of a sudden I noticed two guys emerge from the park further down the road. I yelled for help and they slowly approached me. When they got closer I recognised one of the guys. This guy had turned up earlier in the day and was keen to learn how to fly helicopters. He’d asked me a heap of questions and I gave him heaps of advise. I told him that they can be dangerous, and now, I’d given him a practical demonstration on just how much damage they can do!! I wonder if he persued his passion for flying heli’s?
It seemed like forever for the ambulance to arrive. There was a pool of blood at the step of my van. The ambo’s immediately gave me an inhalant type pain killer and then it was all foggy after that until I got to hospital. I remember once I got there I was asking for more painkillers. They dosed me up with Ketamine. This stuff really freaked me out. I remember everything going white, I couldn’t see any faces, I thought I was dead. I remember asking whether I was dead and then thinking that if I was dead, death is terrible. It was like suspended animation and there was nothing I could do about it and then I would see a face. It was the most scary feeling ever and to think people take Ketamine for a kick!! Next thing I remember was waking up in the hospital bed with my arm suspended in a sling. It turned out I’d done some major damage. Cut a major tendon, completely severed the Ulner nerve and partially cut the Median nerve. I’d lost most of the function in my left hand. It will recover but it’s going to take a lot of time and physio. No job for about three months!! I’m lucky to have a great boss, she’s holding, and doing, my job till I can get back to work.
My first thought was to get rid of the helicopters but once I got out of hospital, and saw my beloved heli’s, I decided to keep them. The bottom line was the fact that I didn’t fly them with the respect I should have. I should design a portable cage to fly from, but I will be wearing a helmet from now on!! I still have the occasional flashback to the accident. I was so so lucky I put my arm up, If I hadn’t, I’m sure I wouldn’t be here now!
TO BE CONTINUED
©Steven Court 2015