I thoughts this was pretty stunning. Not the lagoon, but the LRB Diary from RW Johnson….
My wife, Irina, was teaching at Moscow’s new School of Economics when she heard the news and straight away flew back to Durban. She rang Margate from the airport and asked whether I was still alive. ‘He is critical,’ they said. She explained that it would take her 90 minutes to drive to the hospital: would I still be alive then? ‘He may – or may not be. He’s very, very critical.’ They had amputated the toes on my left foot and then, when the leg continued to swell, amputated my leg at the knee. But the poison had already invaded other parts of my body and all my systems – kidneys, lungs, heart etc – began to switch off. Multiple organ failure: that is, I began to die – that’s what dying is. I came close to fulfilling one of Woody Allen’s ambitions: ‘I don’t mind dying,’ he once said, ‘I just don’t want to be there when it happens.’
My blood pressure kept shrinking to levels where it was thought I must die at any moment. To counter the septicaemia I was shot full of antibiotics and to prevent my blood pressure falling too far I was given adrenalin. When Irina arrived my chances of survival were less than 30 per cent. I rallied twice, only for crises to follow each time. My brother and children flew in and there were anguished discussions about where I should be buried.