Knight & Deigh started life as a retelling of The Orphans, from the point of view of the second lead character, Hannice Knight. It begins in Tanzania as I remember it from the early 1980s, but some of the technologies used are much more recent. To that extent, it is anachronistic. Don’t forget, though; it is fictional, made up, lies. All of it.
Hannice Knight had run the African operation of his father’s global business for many years, when a freak accident at home left him unable to walk. Together with physiotherapist Sophie Deigh, he tries to bring into his life the excitement and adventure he missed in his formative years, due to the need to be tied to the business.
A number of adventures and activities follow including scuba-diving, sky-diving, power-boating and camping, and a half-brother he never knew about; but even these can’t lift Hannice’s spirits.
What, or who can? Will the developing closeness between Hannice and Sophie come to anything, and what of the rumoured advances in medical technology?
Beginning on 12 February 2017, I am publishing Knight & Deigh here as a serial; one scene each Sunday.
The full list of scenes so far published is here
Knight & Deigh. Chapter fifteen, scene three: On the mend?
The next morning, Dr Harry examined my back and declared himself to be happy with me. My bed was reconfigured and the nurse told me that Dr Harry had said that I could sit up in bed if I wished. I couldn’t sit on the hard chair at my desk until he had examined me again, later that day.
Sitting in bed was better than lying on my stomach, and I could read some of the information I’d asked the office to send through to me, but I really wanted to be able to sit at the desk and do some more meaningful jobs.
Dr Harry’s visit later in the day was all I could have hoped for.
“The operation site is clean and stable,” he told me. “How have you been getting on sitting up in bed?”
“Okay,” I replied. “I would rather be sat at my desk, though.”
“Be my guest,” he said.
“Now?” I asked.
“Why not?” he replied.
I hauled myself out of bed and into the chair.
“I’ll be back in an hour, to see how you are getting on,” he said, “but do go back to bed straight away, if it becomes uncomfortable.”
I fired up my computer and started trudging through the scores of emails that had accumulated during my enforced period of e-abstinence.
After half an hour, I called Max and asked to speak to Sophie. Sophie wasn’t there, so I talked business with Max.
“Only one thing to talk about at the moment, Boss,” she said, “your idea for Knight Global Investments.”
“Hmm. Catchy name. What do you think?”
“I think the concept is not without merit but needs a lot of market research, for which I don’t have a budget. Perhaps it’s something Alexandra’s team could get into. That apart, I think I could double up as CEO for KGI and CFO for KGT, but you’d have to find someone else for the job of Africa regional director. I don’t think I could do all three jobs justice.”
“Agree with you one hundred percent on both. I’ll talk to Alexandra as soon as I can. Once we have the market research results, if it looks like a goer, I’ll set up a department heads meeting to thrash it out. Can you ask Sophie to call me when she gets back, please? Not urgent, but I’ve had the operation, and I’d like to talk to her about it.”
Dr Harry came in a little later and asked how I was doing.
“Have some news for you, Dr Harry,” I said with a very straight face, as sombre as I could manage.
“What is it?” he asked.
“I HAVE PINS AND NEEDLES IN MY BUTTOCKS!” I shouted excitedly.
“Fabulous,” he said. “On the bed and on your stomach, let’s take a close look at you.”
I hoisted myself onto my bed and lay on my front, so Dr Harry could look at my back. He opened my gown and had me try to raise my legs. I couldn’t. I couldn’t even flex my buttock muscles. Yet.
“Don’t be concerned at that, Hannice,” he said, “I wasn’t expecting there to be quite that much progress yet, but had to see for myself just how far things have improved.”
“As far as I’m concerned, having some feeling in that area is a massive improvement,” I said. “Obviously, I’d like more, and more quickly, but I have to learn to be patient.”
“Quite so. As long as you can cope with an examination every time you tell me of the slightest change in your condition.”
“Do what you need to do, Doc. I just want everything to get back to normal. I’d prefer sooner to later, but I can wait; as long as I know that things are moving in the right direction.”
Over the course of the following couple of weeks, the feeling came back to my legs, and the increased physio was beginning to show results in my muscle tone. At the end of week two, Dr Harry came in with a severe-looking Asian woman I hadn’t seen before.
“Hannice,” he said, “I’d like to introduce you to Mrs Fan Yung. Mrs Fan is an occupational therapist, but she has a lot of experience helping people like you, who are on the road to recovering the use of their legs. I think now would be a good time for her to add her magic to the mix.”
Mrs Fan spoke with a pronounced Chinese accent, but I had no trouble following what she was saying.
“I will help you to learn to walk again, Mr Knight,” she said, “I cannot do it for you, but I can support you. I will show you some techniques that you can use by yourself to add strength to your legs. You will start to hate me for what I make you do, but I think you will thank me in the end.”
I received that with a mixture of nervousness and joy. Nervousness because Mrs Fan had made it very clear that the road ahead was going to be long and hard; joy because the end of the road held a promise that was very dear to me.
“When do we start, Mrs Fan?” I asked.
“We’ll do a detailed examination now,” Dr Harry replied, “so Mrs Fan knows what your present situation is. She and I will then discuss her treatment plan. The real work will start tomorrow.”
He then did his most detailed examination yet. He had me lie on my back, then he pushed my legs into a kind of sitting position and asked me to try to push against his hands. To my surprise, I managed to resist his pushing and even pushed his hands back a little.
“This good start,” Mrs Fan said, “I can work with this.”
“How long do you think it will take me to walk unaided?” I asked.
“Long time,” she replied. “We make small steps. Maybe two months or three months you walk with frame.”
“That’ll do me for a start,” I said.
The exercises were incredibly hard and went on for an hour every morning and an hour every afternoon. As well as all that, I had other exercises that Mrs Fan wanted me to do on my own each evening. As I found out when I didn’t do them one evening, she knew when I hadn’t done my ‘homework’, and she made her displeasure very plain.