Steve Arnott: I Am Not Who I Used to Be

Steve Arnott is the Founder of Hull Beats Bus, protagonist of Sean McAllister’s documentary A Northern Soul and member of our Being the Story Spokesperson Network. In this guest blog written during our network workshop, he shares how his life changed following a near-death experience.

I am Steve Arnott aka Redeyefeenix, an MC, Founder of Hull Beats Bus and the protagonist of the documentary A Northern Soul by Sean McAllister. I was born and bred in Kingston upon Hull. On May the 4th this year, at the age of 44 years my life changed completely.

Seven years ago, I started to bleed when I went to the toilet.  After being examined I was diagnosed with diverticular disease. Small perforations in your bowel and colon which could be controlled through a special diet which I followed until it decided to erupt inside of me.

I got blood poisoning and had to undergo six and a half hours of emergency surgery to save my life. When I came around, I was in a different world, I didn’t know why. There were numerous people telling me what was happening and what had happened, but nothing was registering. I had been cut open from my abdomen to my lower stomach and had 33 staples holding my torso together.  I also had two morphine bombs attached to each side of my stomach constantly pumping morphine into my blood stream, I think I had four drips one for hydration, one for antibiotics, one for morphine and one for paracetamol. I was then handed a button to press if I was in pain to release the morphine.

Within two hours I was in agony and with that pain came the realisation that I had just nearly died. I then realised I couldn’t move my body. I was in so much pain. I moved my finger and I pressed that button and I pressed it and I pressed it and I pressed it.

At first it felt warm. The pain reduced. I started to feel a numbness and dullness, I can remember people visiting and talking and holding me, but it didn’t seem real.  What was very real to me though was the night-time, the darkness, the demons, the needles, the drips, the cold-hearted thoughtless doctors and nurses.

One night I was laid in my bed unable to move and my room was filled with what I can only describe as death demons they surrounded me and touched my face with their icy cloud fingers chilling me to the bone then whispers…Come with us, come with us, take his blood. I struggled with all that, I had to turn my head and to my right was somebody in a dark cloak or coat and a dark hat fighting off the demons that so wanted me to take me, I couldn’t fight I couldn’t move!

“Coming to terms with the fact that I have changed is something I still haven’t conquered”

Then I thought of my family, my children, my mam, my siblings and my beautiful wife to be Yazz a single warm tear left my eye and dropped on to my ear that woke up my full body with the biggest inhale I believe I have ever done in my life. This is just one of the many awful nights I survived and there was 14 of them each with a different horror story.

So, I am not the man I used to be neither physically as I have a colostomy bag and no muscle control in my stomach or mentally as I have witnessed a place I never new existed and this challenges the beliefs I had.

Coming to terms with the fact that I have changed is something I still haven’t conquered, and I am struggling with, but I guess writing this is a start.

Steve is part of our Being the Story Spokesperson Network Pilot Programme. He wrote this blog as part of our training workshop on blogging and vlogging. You can find out more about our pilot and all of our speakers here.

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