A few weeks ago I wrote a self-deprecating article for this blog about how I was a bit of a hypochondriac, which is not a good thing in a job that encourages one to venture to dodgy bits of the globe. I joked how I had misdiagnosed a bruise for a hernia (writes film producer Iain Overton).
Unfortunately, it seems, irony has decided to give me a kick up the backside. As I write this, I am convalescing, having fallen off a moutainside in Corsica.
By all normal standards I should be dead. As the doctor who treated me said: "Today was not your day to die."
Last Saturday, the day before the World Cup Final, a friend and I decided to go hiking in the hills behind his Corsican home, where my family and I were staying as guests. It was meant to be more a ramble than a hike, and so I dressed and packed accordingly. I threw on a pair of trainers, grabbed a rucksack full of water and bread and set off.
Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that the English map we had was either hopelessly out of date, or was a cruel joke by French cartographers on tourists. No trails existed where they were clearly marked, and so - confusing a dried up river bed for some sort of trail - we soon found ourselves struggling through terrible gorse bushes and thigh-wrenching brambles.
After an hour of blood-letting, we had found ourselves 400 metres above a ludicrously pretty medieval village, and so decided to make a descent to the clear trail we saw below us. We paused for lunch, I refilled the Camelbak water pouch that lined my rucksack, and we set off.
Then it happened.
One minute I was looking at the rolling hills and dappled sea, the next I was hurtling through the air. The rocks had shifted under my feet, and I was pushed over a scree-edge. Initially, I fell 3 metres, and landed badly on my ankles. I heard the bones crash and the muscles tear. Then, horribly, I lurched forward.
My momentum spun me full over and I somersaulted once, twice, three times down the rocky slope. My eyes were filled with glimpses of the blue sky, followed by the black earth.
Then, with a terrible force, I landed on a ledge. Had I not, I would have hurtled down the mountain to my death. As it was I had fallen the equivalent of a 4 story building.
I sat bolt upright. Convinced I had broked my spine, I tore my rucksack off my shoulders. Then the pain hit me. My right arm hung uselessly to my side. My shoulder joint had been wrenched clear from its socket. My ankles were twisted horribly. My back and arms bleeding freely. But I was breathing.
From deep within my chest came a guttural, primal scream. I cannot remember how long I shouted, but by the time my companion had reached me, I had - through my screaming - just about convinced myself that I was not dead.
The next few hours was hell on earth. My friend called emergency services, but it was to be almost two hours before they arrived. Meanwhile, my ankles swelled like bloated puffer-fish. My right shoulder-bone slid inexorably away from my collar-bone. And pain clouded everything.
Finally, a doctor was airlifted down to the narrow ledge, and morphine was pumped into me. My fingers curled as the drug took hold, and I finally managed to look up with any clarity.
Had I died there it would have been a beautiful place to go. The towers of the 14th century fishing village sparkled in the Corsican sun. The broad stretch of coast framed the view perfectly.
Then the medics stood me up to get me to a good place to evacuate me, and I came close to passing out. When I recovered, they began preparing to re-set my shoulder, but it had been so long since the fall that the muscles had spasmed and the bones refused to shift. So, they strapped me to a guerney, with my arm bent horribly, and I was lifted through the air to the helicopter above.
When they wheeled me into the hospital and took off my clothes, the nurse's forehead creased. My arm was black and bloodied, my ankles swollen purple, my arm askew. But the X-rays showed that, almost miraculously, I had not broken anything. It seems that my rucksack had saved me. The Camelbak water-pouch lining on the back and broken my fall and acted as a cushion. My spine was bruised but that was all. The rest of me would mend.
The next day I could not get out of bed. I was so swollen all my joints had siezed up. But the anti-inflammatory drugs soon kicked in and, four days later, I can now walk and write. It will take a few more days to heal completely but one thing has changed.
It sounds a cliche, but things are different. Colours are brighter, my child's smile is more beautiful, life is more vibrant. I am still in shock, but I am alive.
And at least this time, I don't feel like a hypochondriac.