Anyone who worked on a site would tell you that a few scrapes and bangs are part of the job.
One day, in 2003, I was up on some scaffolding. I took a step back from what I was working on and caught my side off a knuckle that sort of jutted out from the scaffolding. It was a very innocuous bang, like catching yourself off the edge of the kitchen table.
It stung a little but I carried on tipping away. A little while later though I started to feel a bit dizzy and confused. I thought maybe I was coming down with a bug, and I didn't fancy the idea of getting sick on the site so I hopped in the van and drove home.
To this day I don’t remember anything of the drive home. When Mary saw me, she rang a doctor immediately.
After a quick examination, the doctor told me it wasn’t anything to worry about. I was given some tablets and I was off back home again. I still wasn’t feeling well so I just hopped into bed and hoped that I might sleep it off.
I was out like a light. When I woke up the following morning I lay there and took a few minutes to gather myself, and thought that I felt alright.
I made moves to get out of bed, but when I turned to get up it was like I flicked a switch inside me. Suddenly I couldn't function at all.
I got really dizzy, very quickly. I couldn’t even focus enough to get my trousers on.
Peter (my son) got me into the car and we headed straight to the Regional Hospital. By the time we got there I was barely functioning.
Eventually they diagnosed me with Septicaemia, a bacterial infection enters the bloodstream. The bang on the site seemed to have somehow ignited it.
I spent the next six weeks in ICU. It was very touch and go. At one stage they were considering taking my leg off because the poison was travelling so fast throughout my body, and they were struggling to get it under control.
About two weeks into my stay in ICU, the family were off at a wedding and got a call to say that I was losing the battle. They all rushed to see me, thinking it would be for the last time.
The doctors told my family to hope and pray, but they never gave up on me and eventually my condition gradually improved. The doctors could barely believe I had come through and later told me that it was a million to one chance that I survived.
For a long time I felt completely drained of energy.
Everything felt like an effort, physically and mentally. That was what I found the hardest, because I had always been a very active person. Now I couldn’t even muster up the energy to just go outside.
I felt trapped in the house. This lasted for six months, and the longer it went on, the more I slipped into a state of depression. This wasn’t the type of life I wanted, sitting around not doing anything. I had no drive or motivation.
The doctors had told me that I would never be able to go back to work, and that was hard to hear.
It was a full stop on a huge part of my life. I was thinking that even if I did get better, I would have no job to go to. I felt increasingly depressed. People were worried.
When I started feeling better, I had a new-found appreciation for everything that I had. I suppose one of the biggest challenges was that there was no money coming in.
This was 2003 remember, so the building industry was booming. There was huge money to be made.
We got over losing out on that because it was the least of our problems, but we did have to make readjustments.
It was only three years later that Limerick came calling and asked me to manage the county team, so life quickly turned on its head again.
The doctors didn't want me to do it, but my feeling was that a challenge like that would only serve to energise me, which turned out to be the case.
Those few years ended up being the most alive I had felt in a long time.
'Richie Bennis, A Game That Smiles: The Autobiography', is published by Hero Books and is available in all good book stores and also in print and eBook format on Amazon, Apple and all good online outlets