I have absolutely no recollection of what happened.  I stayed and wrote up my notes for a bit.  Then I went into the basement, collected my keys and drove up through Broomhill and westwards out along the Fulwood Road towards the moors.  I can’t remember what I was thinking.  Mum had been quite clinging and demanding early in the afternoon.  She had become tearful,  then cross when I announced I needed to go to see my patient.  I had not needed to be firm but gentle.  Perhaps it was something else.  

Anyway the last thing I remember was filling up the car with petrol at the Tesco services in Fulwood.  It was nearly empty and cost nearly £40.  Next I was lying on the stretcher in the ambulance.  They said I was going to the Northern General.  ‘Oh No!’, I said.  So I must have lost best part of an hour.

From what I could piece together,  I had driven through the Mayfield Valley and up to the junction with the Ringinglow Road.  That was where the crash occurred.  A Ford Fiesta had run into my Corsa. Both cars were write offs.  The Fiesta must have crashed into the driver’s door.  The three lower ribs on the right side were fractured, there was grass on my clothes and  I was passing blood when I first arrived. But what happened?  Did I fall asleep?  Was I preoccupied and just pulled out? 

Post traumatic amnesia seems to have the purpose of protecting the individual of the full impact of the occasion.  But is it really purposeful.  Isn’t it just something that happens?  I wonder if the shock just wipes the memory, like a computer exposed to an electric discharge, and only afterwards we ascribe some kind of protective purpose to it. People have told me that I was asking the same questions over and over again – like, where was my computer and what happened to the other driver?.    

But the memory is not completely lost.  It is there like an undercover agent, unseen, unknown, but influencing our thoughts and actions in ways that betray its intentions.  And, of course, post traumatic amnesia can be recovered under hypnosis.        

In the meantime, I have a black hole in my universe, that sucked a hour of my life into it.  It happened once before on this very unit, when they were trying to provoke my cardiac arrhythmia and my heart stopped.  I should stop coming to the Chesterman Unit.

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