As previously mentioned, The Clockwatcher is back in a new revised edition. It tells of my survival and recovery following an air crash in a deep, forested Rocky Mountain valley near St. Mary’s Lake on October 1st, 1983.
Thanks to the skills of many dedicated personnel, the recovery and retrieval of the two survivors of the four-person volunteer search and rescue training flight took only five hours. That wait beside the burnt out wreckage of the plane seemed like a lifetime.
The availability and experience of the eight called-in doctors and a multitude of other medical personnel at Cranbrook and District Hospital, saved the lives of two fast deteriorating, severely injured patients. It was a Saturday night I will never forget.
The midnight flight transfer to the Foothills Hospital burn unit occurred thanks to yet more dedicated personnel.
Despite the horrendous suffering and despair of my three months in the burn unit, the results achieved by that superb team set in motion a recovery that even surprised those experienced professionals.
The long road to recovery included multiple surgeries for fractures and 30% body surface skin loss. A further desolate feature of the first two years was the need to wear a tight, pain inducing, “Jobst” face and skull mask, body suit, and elastic gloves to protect and apply pressure to newly grafted surfaces.
Poverty, depression and stubbornness forced my return to the physiotherapy practice exactly six months from the accident. The appearance of the Jobst mask caused great alarm in my clientele, many of whom fled or were ‘no shows’ for subsequent appointments.
A new element in the revised Clockwatcher is the insertion of pencil sketches at the start of each chapter to give a graphic hint to the printed words. I’m told “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and the sketches proved to be a popular addition in my other book, The Frolicking Physio, which is a more cheerful and entertaining read about my 20 country travels and joyous career.
Eight new eight chapters in The Clockwatcher tell of the wonderful final outcome of that almost life-ending tragedy. Contributing immensely in this success story has been the constant love and caring support of my family and friends, and hitherto unknown helpers. What a fabulous team they have been. I’ll never be able to thank them enough.
I hope that The Clockwatcher can be an inspiration and glimmer of hope for others who find themselves in similar tragic events. It has taken 33 years to write the final pages. The hoped for movie may take longer!
The revised edition of The Clockwatcher is available ($20) at the CBI Health Centre (formerly Cranbrook Physiotherapy Clinic), at 28-11th Avenue South. It is also available in ebook and paperback from the retailers linked on this page.