Mark died. On a bus. In New Zealand. In front of his mates. He was 18. They had to call his Mam and Dad back in Dublin.
“… the worst part was, the only part I’ve never already joked about is, they had to call my family and tell them. And I can’t even imagine how hard that would have been for everyone on those calls.
And the family powerless that the friends having delivered that news. And they flew down, my parents flew down from Dublin via Hong Kong, whatever, a day or two days later. And they went by Hong Kong, when they got to Hong Kong, they called the hospital to say, “How’s he doing?” And this was literally a day or two after. And they said, “You’re still going to be pretty much coming down to pick up the body. There’s no sign of life and it’s not looking good.” It was really, really look south for a long time.”
Stick on the kettle, grab a coffee and be amazed at this young man’s story.
Count your blessings.
We Were There When… Mark Maxwell Told Us About 7th January 2011 – The Day He Died! He Was 18 #CoffeewithColm
Enjoy in your preferred way…
Yours Truly: And a very good morning, ladies and gentlemen. You’re more than welcome to another episode. Episode 72 of The Coffee at Eleven Show brought to you by Wig-Wam.ie, SME Peer Support. Delighted to have you join us on a Tuesday morning here in lockdown heaven. It’s also a delight for me to introduce a young man that I met very recently, and I’ve been so impressed by this young man’s view of the world that I thought we have to bring him in because he’s definitely a person worth meeting. My pleasure, Mark Maxwell. You’re very welcome. Please say hello and show us your coffee mug. Thank you.
Mark Maxwell: Thank you very much, Colm. My coffee mug, isn’t actually a coffee mug. I can’t drink coffee because of my heart. It’s a tea mug and it’s called Mr. Tea, after the guy in The A-Team. It’s a clever little play on words, but it’s a tea mug as opposed to a coffee mug for sure.
Yours Truly: And Mark, that’ll be absolutely fine. You’re more than welcome. Delighted, delighted. That’s a lovely introduction by the way. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Cathy Merra coaches cross country running for girls so she’s well impressed with her 11 second hundred meters. I mean, ladies and gentlemen, can you imagine this man, 120 kilos, and you’re at the end of those hundred meters and he hits you? Not much argument there, right? Okay, okay, it seems like it’s going to get serious.
Mark Maxwell: Yeah, I stopped the story at Christmas 2010 because we were in Australia working in the Australian school system. So you’ve got, the summer is November to January, February type thing so their summer holidays start in December. For our summer break, we wanted to go to New Zealand, myself and three other Irish guys I was living with, three good friends. And we went down to New Zealand, as I say, I was feeling as healthy as, as could be and went to Auckland, went up north for a couple of days, did some jet skiing, great fun. And then back then, and then left Auckland one morning on the 7th of January 2011. And left Auckland, and was on a bus to a place called Rotorua, and I decided to go for a nap and a couple of minutes into the nap, the guys noticed that I was snoring really, really loudly.
And they thought I was just kind of taking the piss and trying to draw attention to them and that sort of thing. And then they realized that they threw something on me, it bounced off my head. I didn’t wake up. Then they realized when they look closer that I was going blue. I was actually pretty much blue by the time they realized something was wrong. And then, because I built up obviously quite a frame and my body wasn’t holding it up so I was really hunched over and I was breathing like this. I was like, [inaudible 00:05:24]. And then I drop back down because my body was just folding over itself. And then they said, “Oh God, something’s really wrong.” So they stopped the bus. No word of a lie, it was the bus driver’s first day on the job working for that tour company.
Stopped the bus, they carried me off, and they started to give me CPR. I was taking protein and creatine at the time, but I couldn’t take steroids because I wanted to be a player. Whereas one of the guys didn’t want to be a player so he did take steroids, and he gave me CPR, and he broke my rib. He just went straight down and cracked my rib. Every morning when I wake up, to this day, I have to crack my rib there because he pushed it in too far. This guy gave me CPR, I was actually dead on the ground for 20 minutes, and an ambulance came along. And they gave me six shots of an external defibrillator, which you gear up into shock. And that didn’t work, there was still no sign of life. They put me in an ambulance and they kind of agreed that I did have a lot more padding than most people because of all the training.
And so they gave me a few more shocks and they ended up giving me 13 shocks, all told. And that got me going. Now I had life, but they were sure that my brain was going to be fried from all of the extra shocks. They put me into an induced coma where they just bring down your body temperature. And I stayed in that induced coma for a week. The poor guys. I always say, I had the easiest role in this whole plate because I was asleep. Whereas the guys had to deal with their friend dying in front of them, the poor guys had to carry me off the bus, this sort of thing. Then the worst part was, the only part I’ve never already joked about is, they had to call my family and tell them. And I can’t even imagine how hard that would have been for everyone on those calls.
And the family powerless that the friends having delivered that news. And they flew down, my parents flew down from Dublin via Hong Kong, whatever, a day or two days later. And they went by Hong Kong, when they got to Hong Kong, they called the hospital to say, “How’s he doing?” And this was literally a day or two after. And they said, “You’re still going to be pretty much coming down to pick up the body. There’s no sign of life and it’s not looking good.” It was really, really look south for a long time.
Yours Truly: Right, come here, just to joy, just a joy. We’re going to go to Q&A and our comment from the floor in just a second if that’s okay, Mark? Thank you for being here. Before we do though, what are you, what’s Mark Maxwell taking from COVID?
Mark Maxwell: Taking from COVID, to be honest with you, there’s a fair bit. I’ve been really into work recently. I moved to London to set up the office there, moved into management. It’s all been very grown up and my brother’s 31, and I kind of live a more grown up life than him even. It’s kind of ridiculous. What I realized, because COVID presented me with this opportunity of you can go and work anywhere in the world, you can do whatever you want type of thing, and it was overwhelming, actually. And I was thinking, I’ve been living life of a fecking 35 year old and I’m only 28, and life is short and I need to get a bit more youth back into it. It’s really kind of challenged me in that way to think, “Okay, all options open, what would you actually do?”
And I talk about this in the book I wrote, actually, about when you’re given an essay to write, and there has no title, you can write about anything, people tend to struggle more than when you’re just given the title. And I found myself in that problem. And it really made me encourage me to just kind of take the reins again, and really think for myself, what am I trying to get out of this whole thing? As opposed to just belligerently carrying on on this course because people are telling me it’s a good course, if that makes sense.
Watch the full interview here: https://youtu.be/76q6ex9OoQs
Connect with Spade here: https://www.facebook.com/mark.maxwell.332
Come back next week for another installment of “We were there when…” from a guest who had Coffee with Colm on The Coffee at Eleven Show, brought to you by WIG-WAM – Business Coaching