I'm meeting an old friend Dan for coffee today. It's funny how he found me via Facebook. He's a friend of a friend of CH.
Anyway, I met Dan some 25 years ago through my ex. They were in the army together. Now he has found me through my current beau. Isn't life full of ironies?
Dan is one of the nicest guys you can find. He is the kind who can put up with all kinds of shit. As a person, he's easy going and gets along well with everyone. When it comes to work, he's able to withstand the toughest conditions. He's a commercial diver, you see.
He travels across the world on deep sea missions, so he's always armed with lots of stories to tell. Yah, he earns good money but is away from his wife and family a large part of the year. Living on an oil rig for months, in the middle of the ocean with a bunch of burly men can drive any man insane, yet Dan has this zen-like calmness about him.
I can never forget the year he returned to Singapore with his guts spilling out after a missile hit the ship he was in. I believe they were involved in a salvage mission during the Iraq war. Some of the crew were instantly killed, others were badly injured.
The blast ripped open his stomach, leaving a gaping hole. He waited for a long time for help to arrive, clutching his stomach with his bare hands to prevent intestines from spilling onto the deck. Drifting in and out of consciousness, he willed himself to survive.
He was sent to the nearest hospital in the war torn country, which was already packed with soldiers with severe injuries and missing limbs. There, doctors and medical supplies were seriously lacking. As a foreigner, he was cast aside and left to die.
Luckily his employer arranged for him to fly back to Singapore in the nick of time. He probably made medical history here as our doctors had never seen or treated a war victim before.
When he arrived in Singapore, he was as scrawny as a stick. We couldn't recognise him. Our muscular and solidly built friend was so shrunken and sickly, it pained our hearts.
After he was properly stitched up, his road to recovery was not an easy one. The memories of his dead colleagues remained fresh in his mind. With his determination and discipline, he trained hard and was back diving again. He also married his sweetheart, who is a nurse (I suspect they met while he was in the hospital).
Looking at him now, you can never tell the kind of trauma he had been through, unless he shows you the long scar running across his belly. Dan is da man!