“Waking Up” by Kobus du Toit 
A book review by Glynn Till.

Some biographies are informative, some amaze, others inspire and motivate, whilst yet others test one’s credulity. “Waking Up” can rightfully claim to be all the above.

The essence of the story starts with a botched surgical procedure to the author – a spinal fusion that was performed at the wrong level of the spine whilst using screws that were larger and longer than what should have been used for the patient. The upshot was the loss of control of bowel and bladder function, paralysis of the right lower extremity and persistent, excruciating pain, all for a period of about six years, during which time the author was sedated and in and out of consciousness using a cocktail of drugs. The unfortunate thing that Kobus had to do, was to overcome the horrific addiction to morphine, which he triumphantly did on his own, 12 years ago without any relapse.

On the negative side, the author takes us through the nightmare he experienced not only in terms of pain, dysfunction and paralysis, but of deceit and unhelpfulness, where he could have, and should have, expected otherwise. On the positive side, he recalls the helpfulness of other professionals who cared for him and who gave him support and some hope through their honesty and frankness.

However, it is the incredible, nothing less than miraculous story of his recovery and insights gained from this state of paralysis, dysfunction, pain, morphine addiction and disintegration of family life that is the take-home message of his book. Some might say that what he relates is a figment of his imagination, the result of a delusional state under the influence of drugs, extreme pain and other severe stresses, or that he is some sort of other “psychological case” when he talks about his near-death and out-of-body experiences. However, such descriptions are just an introduction to even more phenomenal experiences, seemingly beyond the ambit of rationality and “normal” experience of most people, which he describes later in the book.

The “life lessons” that Kobus discusses in the book will, no doubt, be found to be invaluable and greatly appreciated by many a reader. As Gary Player said in his Introduction, “The book contains much valuable fruit for thought, and I found that the lessons, insights and wisdom which Kobus learned from his challenging experience, are something from which everyone can learn and live anew”. 

Are the more unusual incidents and explanations recorded in the book to be regarded as part of reality – perhaps an “extended” reality? No doubt, such controversies will continue unabated, and everyone will make up his or her mind in this regard using reason, personal experience and perhaps intuition as a basis for arriving at his or her own conclusions. Regardless of what conclusion each reader comes to, it remains an intriguing read.

Although Kobus had the most horrendous of life experiences, notwithstanding, he seems to have sub sequently developed a lightness of spirit and a sense of generosity and of giving.

Bio: Dr Glynn Till. Retired educator and Chiropractic Specialist Clinician.