Dural HiFi and Home Theatre
© Steve Neil 2017
 Near Death Experience Part One -  It’s the Singer, not the Song. I mentioned my mate Peter earlier in this Tome and told how he became a pivotal part of my life. Well, I’ll relate part the story, or as much as I can remember it, here. This is part one of my near death experiences. I’ll just explain my lack of full memory at that time (or any part of my early days for that matter). In real terms, I wasn’t a great drinker or taker of illicit substances so it wasn’t that my lucidity was in question, In todays parlance, I guess you could say I had ADD (a form of ADHD) if one believed in such things (I, along with with some others don’t believe it’s real but a description of symptoms, but more of that another day) so my mind went in a hundred directions simultaneously without focusing on any single event. That meant I just can’t recall everything I did or experienced up until my late 20’s as there was just too much to process. I’m not sure what happened when I hit 30 years of age, I can only conclude it took that long for my brain chemistry to stabilize. Anyway, on with the story - I’d been playing with bands on and off with Peter since the mid 60’s and occasionally we’d drift off into other bands or pursuits so I wouldn’t see him for a while. I was a bit of a free spirit back then and tended to “do” things without too much thought, either regarding myself or other people (see above paragraph). I guess you could call me a self centered, selfish bastard, which was absolutely true. In 1977, I decided to have a break from work and headed up to Coolangatta on the NSW/Qld border for some R&R. I knew Peter and his mate Eric were staying up there so I intended to catch up with them at some stage. I booked some sleezy Motel (weren’t they all back then?) and headed over to see Peter. He told me he and Eric were off to Brisbane that night to see a girls Netball team play as he knew one of the players. The odds sounded good to me (if you know what I mean) so I agreed to go along with them. It’s a little hazy from here but I seem to remember Eric had a van which meant I would have to have ridden in the back, unrestrained. All perfectly legal back then. It never occurred to me that it could be dangerous (everyone under 30 thinks they’re bulletproof). The idea was to see the game then go to an after game party (full of athletic young ladies - who could resist). I was all ready to go when, walking outside my Motel, I bumped into my ex-girlfriend, Denise. She had also decided to go up there for a few days break. We chatted for a while and the spark was still there so we retired to the Motel room, I called Peter and cancelled the trip to Brisbane due to “unforeseen circumstances”. I spent a couple of days with Denise and then headed back to my mundane life in Sydney. I didn’t hear from Peter so figured he and Eric had met up with some new friends in Brisbane and were spending time with them. The truth couldn’t have been more different. After the game, Peter and Eric must have spent some time with the girls or slept for a while in the van then headed back to Coolangatta. at around 7.30 in the morning, the van ran off the road, down an embankment and collided head on with a northbound car. Both Peter and Eric were taken to Southport hospital then on to Princess Alexandria hospital in Brisbane. Eric passed away a couple of days later and Peter stayed in hospital with rib, back, feet lung and internal injuries for two months then came back to Sydney and was off work for another three months recuperating. He had seven operations altogether. Had I been in the van that morning, I surely would have not been here to tell the tale. As I said. Peter and I didn’t see each other sometimes for months so the fact I hadn’t heard from him for a while wasn’t unusual, it’s only when I decided to have a chat with him mid 1978 that I found out that the had gone through this horrific experience and also realised I was lucky to still be here. Life number three. Part Two - The Jamboree I’m up the proverbial creek here, chronologically speaking, as I haven’t mapped out the time-line of my near death experiences but you’ll get the overview, just not in the right order. In my early youth, I was a member of the Boy Scouts and as such was required to attend a Jamboree in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria in 1964. I remember little about the camping adventure (again probably due to the 100 MPH brain activity) but I do remember the trip home to West Ryde Station in Sydney. The train was moving very slowly, around 5kmh I guess. It was nighttime and visibility was almost zero. I was standing (illegally) on the open platform between carriages. I accidentally dropped my bag containing my personal effects and presents bought for my parents. I was just about to jump off the train to retrieve the bag (I figured it was going so slow, I could grab the bag off the ground, run with the train and climb back on board). Something stopped me at the moment of jumping off and I’m not sure to this day why, but I had “a feeling”. So, I lost the bag. The next day I walked along to where the train was moving so I could see if I could find said bag. I was horrified to see that, had I jumped off, it was on a bridge over the Parramatta river and I would probably have put my foot through the sleepers and either crushed by the train or tripped and fallen into the river. Life number one. Part Three - Never Play with Guns. A year after the Jamboree experience, I was in the local bushland with a mate of mine shooting things with our air rifles. back in those days, no one needed a license and anyone could own and play with an air powered rifle, even though they were bloody powerful (mine was a Gecardo .177) - my “friend” had a BSA .22 which could punch a hole in the side of a car door (a proven fact). His name was Harold (the same as my fathers) and he though he was being smart as he put his gun to my mouth and pulled the trigger. He thought it was unloaded and did it to scare me. It wasn’t and It nearly blew my fucking head off! Fortunately, the barrel was pushed against my teeth and that reduced the velocity of the lead slug. It did however blow out two of my teeth and part of the roof of my mouth. As this was a Sunday, there were no emergency dentists in those days so I had to wait until the next day to get my mouth seen to, that day and night were agony as the raw nerves from the shattered teeth were hanging out of my gums. I don’t remember why my parents didn’t take me to the local hospital, maybe they didn’t realise the severity. If that rifle had been pointed a couple of centimetres either way, I wouldn’t be alive now. Life number two Part Four - Trust me, I’m a Doctor. The final chapter in the “four lives” saga started on a Sunday afternoon, July 2013. Poor Steve had a tummy ache. Normally a couple of Panadeine washed down by a bottle of Chardonnay fixes all ills. Not this time however. As the evening progressed, the tummy ache was worsening, it was so bad that I had to go outside and walk around the block a couple of times as the pain was such that I couldn’t stay still. Not being one to go to the Doctors or Hospital unless almost dead, I was convinced the pain would subside and all would be well in the morning. At around 9.00pm, I gave in. The pain was such that I pleaded with Noelene (long suffering wife) to take me to Hornsby Hospital. I stumbled into Emergency as Noelene parked the car. The Triage Nurse took one look at me and bypassed all other patients to put me on a bed in a cubicle. My recollection is rather hazy apart from the continuous attempts to relieve the pain with everything from Morphine (didn’t do squat) to Fentanyl (still no relief) injected or placed into unmentionable cavities. The Doctor diagnosed Kidney Stones and said it would pass, she then went home to bed. The pain got worse however (10+ on the “how bad is it” scale). Next thing I knew, I was given a CT Scan and they found my guts (medical term) full of purulent fluid. Emergency operation then. Click here for next page
© Steve Neil 2017
Dural HiFi and Home Theatre
It’s the Singer, not the Song. Part One I mentioned my mate Peter earlier in this Tome and told how he became a pivotal part of my life. Well, I’ll relate part the story, or as much as I can remember it, here. This is part one of my near death experiences. I’ll just explain my lack of full memory at that time (or any part of my early days for that matter). In real terms, I wasn’t a great drinker or taker of illicit substances so it wasn’t that my lucidity was in question, In todays parlance, I guess you could say I had ADD (a form of ADHD) if one believed in such things (I, along with with some others don’t believe it’s real but a description of symptoms, but more of that another day) so my mind went in a hundred directions simultaneously without focusing on any single event. That meant I just can’t recall everything I did or experienced up until my late 20’s as there was just too much to process. I’m not sure what happened when I hit 30 years of age, I can only conclude it took that long for my brain chemistry to stabilize. Anyway, on with the story - I’d been playing with bands on and off with Peter since the mid 60’s and occasionally we’d drift off into other bands or pursuits so I wouldn’t see him for a while. I was a bit of a free spirit back then and tended to “do” things without too much thought, either regarding myself or other people (see above paragraph). I guess you could call me a self centered, selfish bastard, which was absolutely true. In 1977, I decided to have a break from work and headed up to Coolangatta on the NSW/Qld border for some R&R. I knew Peter and his mate Eric were staying up there so I intended to catch up with them at some stage. I booked some sleezy Motel (weren’t they all back then?) and headed over to see Peter. He told me he and Eric were off to Brisbane that night to see a girls Netball team play as he knew one of the players. The odds sounded good to me (if you know what I mean) so I agreed to go along with them. It’s a little hazy from here but I seem to remember Eric had a van which meant I would have to have ridden in the back, unrestrained. All perfectly legal back then. It never occurred to me that it could be dangerous (everyone under 30 thinks they’re bulletproof). The idea was to see the game then go to an after game party (full of athletic young ladies - who could resist). I was all ready to go when, walking outside my Motel, I bumped into my ex-girlfriend, Denise. She had also decided to go up there for a few days break. We chatted for a while and the spark was still there so we retired to the Motel room, I called Peter and cancelled the trip to Brisbane due to “unforeseen circumstances”. I spent a couple of days with Denise and then headed back to my mundane life in Sydney. I didn’t hear from Peter so figured he and Eric had met up with some new friends in Brisbane and were spending time with them. The truth couldn’t have been more different. After the game, Peter and Eric must have spent some time with the girls or slept for a while in the van then headed back to Coolangatta. at around 7.30 in the morning, the van ran off the road, down an embankment and collided head on with a northbound car. Both Peter and Eric were taken to Southport hospital then on to Princess Alexandria hospital in Brisbane. Eric passed away a couple of days later and Peter stayed in hospital with rib, back, feet lung and internal injuries for two months then came back to Sydney and was off work for another three months recuperating. He had seven operations altogether. Had I been in the van that morning, I surely would have not been here to tell the tale. As I said. Peter and I didn’t see each other sometimes for months so the fact I hadn’t heard from him for a while wasn’t unusual, it’s only when I decided to have a chat with him mid 1978 that I found out that the had gone through this horrific experience and also realised I was lucky to still be here. Life number three. Part Two - The Jamboree I’m up the proverbial creek here, chronologically speaking, as I haven’t mapped out the time-line of my near death experiences but you’ll get the overview, just not in the right order. In my early youth, I was a member of the Boy Scouts and as such was required to attend a Jamboree in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria in 1964. I remember little about the camping adventure (again probably due to the 100 MPH brain activity) but I do remember the trip home to West Ryde Station in Sydney. The train was moving very slowly, around 5kmh I guess. It was nighttime and visibility was almost zero. I was standing (illegally) on the open platform between carriages. I accidentally dropped my bag containing my personal effects and presents bought for my parents. I was just about to jump off the train to retrieve the bag (I figured it was going so slow, I could grab the bag off the ground, run with the train and climb back on board). Something stopped me at the moment of jumping off and I’m not sure to this day why, but I had “a feeling”. So, I lost the bag. The next day I walked along to where the train was moving so I could see if I could find said bag. I was horrified to see that, had I jumped off, it was on a bridge over the Parramatta river and I would probably have put my foot through the sleepers and either crushed by the train or tripped and fallen into the river. Life number one. Part Three - Never Play with Guns. A year after the Jamboree experience, I was in the local bushland with a mate of mine shooting things with our air rifles. back in those days, no one needed a license and anyone could own and play with an air powered rifle, even though they were bloody powerful (mine was a Gecardo .177) - my “friend” had a BSA .22 which could punch a hole in the side of a car door (a proven fact). His name was Harold (the same as my fathers) and he though he was being smart as he put his gun to my mouth and pulled the trigger. He thought it was unloaded and did it to scare me. It wasn’t and It nearly blew my fucking head off! Fortunately, the barrel was pushed against my teeth and that reduced the velocity of the lead slug. It did however blow out two of my teeth and part of the roof of my mouth. As this was a Sunday, there were no emergency dentists in those days so I had to wait until the next day to get my mouth seen to, that day and night were agony as the raw nerves from the shattered teeth were hanging out of my gums. I don’t remember why my parents didn’t take me to the local hospital, maybe they didn’t realise the severity. If that rifle had been pointed a couple of centimetres either way, I wouldn’t be alive now. Life number two Part Four - Trust me, I’m a Doctor.