The big day arrives
We arrive at the venue early at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square. Dad is carrying my IT equipment. I’ve agreed to use APS’s laptop but I take mine just in case. IT and audio are the biggest headaches for speakers but once this is in place I relax and mingle with the other speakers. I’m delighted to meet child soldier Fablice Manirakiza, Olympian Libby Trickett and entrepreneur Leanne Faulkner, founder of Billie Goat Soap. They’re all friendly and each has an amazing background. As an athlete who’s suffered injuries, Libby immediately understands the seriousness of my injury, a meniscus root tear, and the frustration of going from an active fit person to someone laid up on the couch for months.
My big brother Pete who lives in Cambridge, England, with his wife and two young sons, is my best mate and wholeheartedly supports my journey as a speaker. Unbeknown to me, he’s contacted one of his closest school friends, Jon Roberts, who now lives and teaches in Melbourne (and whose father, Mervin Roberts, was also a Queensland Police Officer. He retired as a Senior Sergeant in 1980s). Jon has made the effort to come to the talk. This is a lovely surprise not only for me, but for Dad, as Jon was always at our place when we were kids. This truly is a special reunion but there’s another special reunion to come, which you’ll discover when you watch the YouTube clip of the talk.
My name is announced. I hobble up to the stage and hand off my crutches to an assistant. I settle myself on a stool before I commence my talk.
The film of the talk tells best how it went down… please watch, enjoy and listen to how psychologists can make an amazing difference to people’s lives. Click on the image below to watch the talk.
It turns out to be one of the most amazing talks I’ve delivered ̶ the journey to get there, the support and love of my father and the chance to thank the Queensland Police Service psychologist who has been instrumental in my journey of recovery. I thank this man for what he did for me but also for my family. Anyone who’s experienced trauma knows it’s not just the person directly affected, it’s their entire loving family who feel the shock waves for years afterwards.
As for the stool that made all this possible, you’ll be pleased to know it made its way back safely to Brisbane in that one big travel bag. Dad and I made it back in one piece too 😊
Join me and sporting legends to raise funds for suicide prevention at the inaugural Legends for Lifeline event on Friday June 22nd.
Enjoy an exclusive luncheon with some of Australia’s most prominent athletes and hear how they overcame adversity to become the legends they are today.
The event will feature interviews and the opportunity to meet sporting legends Ian Healy (cricket), Mark Connors (rugby union), Daniel Merrett (AFL), Commonwealth Games flag bearer Mark Knowles, boxing Gold Medalist Skye Nicholson, and dual summer and winter Olympian Simon Patmore.
We are raising funds for Lifeline’s vital Crisis Support Line – 13 11 14 so we can answer the 158,000 calls Queenslanders in need make each year.
- Date: Friday 22 June 2018
- Time: 12PM
- Place: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
- Tickets: $220 per person or $2,000 for a table of ten
Purchase your ticket through this link.
A Spring In Our Step
The positive news in Neil’s email, that I’d been selected as the speaker for the APS talk, was giving Dad and me a spring in our step…or in my case, a spring in my hop!
Dad and I go through the day’s routine a little brighter. At the end of the evening, I have a shower before bed. Suddenly, a flutter of distress ripples through me. “Gulp… how the hell am I going to take a shower at the hotel in Melbourne?” Hygiene and personal grooming are just a tad important to a professional speaker after all.
Let’s take a step back for one moment. Recently, my favourite pair of brown leather Geox thongs broke and I brought them to a professional shoe repairer who advised they were not repairable. A retired carpenter and builder by trade, Dad rose to the challenge once again and long story short, my Geox thongs are now still going strong. So, you don’t need the intellect of Albert Einstein to know to whom I brought my showering conundrum 😊
Dad thinks for a moment and smiles. Like all good tradesmen he has a solution and a tool for everything. He says “Let’s just do what we do now… you sit on something to shower right…?” Dad road tests his solution. It’s so simple and ingenious it makes me laugh out loud. Immediately, I feel the need to capture the moment with a photo and share it with my big brother Pete who lives in the UK. Like Dad, Pete watches and supports my speaking career albeit from afar. And like me, he’s a big fan of Dad.
“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” – Albert Einstein
Dad’s genius – one big travel bag that can fit all our luggage plus the stool
We’re only going to be in Melbourne overnight. We fly out on a Saturday, the following Sunday afternoon I speak and we travel back that evening. We hardly need any luggage and what we do need we pack around the stool. This particular stool, used by Pete and me to do our homework as kids, is brought out of mothballs for one very unusual, but important job. It has a vinyl cover, sponge seat and weightless metal frame, making it light enough to fly with. We plan to protect the stool from shower water by covering it with a heavy-duty plastic bag.
Finding an opportunity out of misfortune, combined with my 85-year-old dad’s willingness to go above and beyond, including managing our luggage, sees us off to Melbourne. I’m excited to be giving a talk about psychology and how it has impacted my life. I’ll be telling my story and acknowledging an amazing psychologist who in turn has his own unique story. If you read on you’ll find out about the surprising and touching twist that lies ahead.
Dad doing the heavy lifting
We wake up early on Saturday 7 October. We throw the last few items into the big travel bag on wheels. We order an Uber and set off for Brisbane airport. Dad pulls the bag while I hop along on crutches. Dad’s pretty fit and manages the bag and our carry on bag like Tiger Wood’s caddie! Qantas is on their game and has a wheelchair waiting at check in. Going through security, I gain a new appreciation of wheelchair bound people and their everyday difficulties.
We enjoy a hearty breakfast before boarding the plane. Taking off is pretty exciting, Dad and I have a wonderful adventure ahead of us.
Dad showing off his fat fingers and photography skills simultaneously at breakfast
Ready for take off
Everything goes smoothly, the flight, Qantas wheelchair assistance in Melbourne and the taxi ride to the hotel.
Qantas wheelchair assistance
Dad loves hearing about my speaking career and attends every talk he can. This talk was extra special because if it weren’t for dad attending but also facilitating my transport, I wouldn’t be here. Dad says to me in the taxi on the way to the hotel – with a big smile, “Looking good Billy Ray” and I respond, “Feeling good Lewis“, drawing on the famous line from the movie Trading Places.
Dad excited to have gotten us to Melbourne
At the hotel, I setup my lap top and second portable screen to practice my talk with a captive audience – Dad!
Rehearsing the talk
The captive audience
This is a first for us ̶ being in Melbourne together. It won’t be the last as my speaking career is continuing to grow. Soon we’ll be together in Sydney when I speak at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in July 2018. The night before the big event, to say thanks for making this talk happen, I treat dad to a steak dinner at TGI Fridays beside the Yarra River.
The least I could do was to treat Dad to a steak dinner
I like to shower every night before bed, it refreshes me and helps me get a good night’s sleep. Tonight’s shower is made possible by none other than Block! My mum’s mum, my grandmother, Ethel May Elliott, pointed to me when I was a wee boy and said, “He’s a chip off the old block”. That’s how dad got the nickname of Block!
The solution – Block, stool and plastic bag cover
I can’t thank dad enough for his love, support and energy. I knew I’d be writing about this adventure but as a picture paints a thousand words, I’ve included a few below that capture this special speaking visit to Melbourne.
In the words of Borat “Great success!”
I’m looking forward to bring you the 4th and final part of Planes, Ubers, Wheelchairs and One Big Travel Bag. ‘Til then.
Frustration and a Golden Opportunity
A long road ahead
The surgeon advises against squatting or running for six months. I’m demoralised. Running is a salvation for me. The health benefits, the endorphins released, the sheer pleasure of being outdoors and immersed in nature is a necessary balm for my mind and soul. Reality bites when I ask if I can walk for 30 minutes at the end of the 10 week rehab. The answer is a firm ‘no’. I’m only allowed to walk for 10 minutes to start with. The physio warns it’s imperative to take things easy. “This is equivalent to a knee reconstruction. The danger period for re-tearing the meniscus is in the first 10 weeks.” I realise this is going to be a very slow and gradual process.
Frustration… even the simple things take forever
Before leaving hospital, I’m given a lesson on using crutches. Stairs are extremely challenging and I can’t carry anything. There are many adjustments to be made at home and because I live alone, my 85 year-old dad, Alan, moves in with me to provide 24 hour support.
Moving on crutches, ensuring I don’t put any weight on my left leg, is a struggle. Initially, I only move from bed to couch and back again. I dull the pain with painkillers and inject myself in the stomach each evening with a blood thinner. The simplest things I do for myself take an eternity but the hardest thing of all is showering.
The Danger Zone: the dreaded shower!
My left leg is in a full-length brace to keep my knee straight. I sleep with it on only taking it off to shower. I undo the brace, slip it off and pull a rubbish bag over my leg, protecting my knee and its bandage from the water by sealing it with tape at my thigh and ankle. Showering is dangerous because the chance of slipping on a wet floor is high. I have some close calls. Showering sitting down is easily fixed with a plastic chair. Even with the brace off though I can’t bend my left leg at all. I sit in the shower with my leg out the door and as water hits my thigh, it runs down my leg and all over the bathroom floor. Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of dear dad. He makes sure I don’t slip and I extricate myself from an embarrassing water soaked bathroom disaster.
I have a lot of couch time, very unusual for me. Time is so precious. I’ve learnt the hard way we only have one shot at life. I’m frustrated but I want to put this time to good use. I do something I’ve been putting off for a long time — I upgrade my phone from an ancient sluggish overused Samsung S5 to an S8+. It takes me about two days to get used to the new phone. I’ve installed apps, contacts and configured the settings to my liking. The phone works fine… for a week. Then one night on the couch, I’m watching TV and multitasking with the phone (I know in reality, multitasking is a fallacy…it’s actually paying inadequate attention to all the tasks at hand!!!). The phone is plugged in and charging. One of the apps is playing up. Easy. I reboot. Disaster. The OS is completely corrupted and fails to boot. The phone now has my full attention! A little Googling reveals I’m not the first S8 owner to experience this reboot fail. I restore the phone to factory settings so at least I have basic call functionality. I hop off to bed on my crutches and decide to dedicate tomorrow to setting up the phone to my liking, yet again! The joys of modern technology. At least I have a project and ample time to spend on it.
A phone call to lift the spirits
The next morning, I have a missed call and a voice message from ICMI Speaker Bureau consultant, Neil Baird-Watson. I’m now keener than ever to get my phone back on track. I plan to call Neil the next day, keeping to my ‘24-hour rule’ of getting back to people (I’ve learnt this from Alan Weiss, one of the world’s most renowned consultants). The following morning, before I have a chance to phone Neil back, he sends me a follow up email. Neil’s call, message and email, all in quick succession, make me think he’s pretty serious about what he’s proposing. I show the email to dad.
A golden opportunity
Neil thinks I’d be a great fit for an upcoming talk hosted by the Australian Psychology Society (APS) on how psychology has changed people’s lives. He usually presents two to four suitable speakers to his clients who then select from his short list. Apart from being a Senior Sergeant with the Queensland Police Service, I’m also a professional speaker. I’ve been building my motivational speaking business, TWICE SHOT, since 2015 when I was recognised by Professional Speakers Australia as the emerging speaker of the year and awarded the prestigious Kerrie Nairn Scholarship for Public Speaking.
Dad finishes reading Neil’s email. He looks up and says, “What lousy timing”. I wholeheartedly agree. Frustrated, I respond, “I have such a powerful story on this very subject. I could do this talk standing on my head but I’m marooned on this bloody couch!” Dad and I while away a few hours in my apartment, me doing my rehab exercises, dad making lunch. Then, out of the blue, dad says, “I’ve been thinking, what if I took you down to Melbourne?” I’m a little startled. I reply with a “What????”
Alan saves the day
Dad says, “I know I’m 85, but I’m in pretty good health and you were such a wonderful support to me after your mum passed last year, Mum would want me to support you now.”
In mum’s twilight years, she battled pulmonary fibrosis, scarred lung tissue that makes breathing increasingly difficult. She’d never smoked. Mum, or my nickname for her, “the best little girl in the world”, was eventually wheelchair bound and on oxygen 24/7. Dad lovingly took care of all of mum’s needs, preparing meals, showering, placing her in bed, taking her on drives and pushing her in a wheel chair so she could enjoy time with friends, picnics and the outdoors. I called into mum and dad’s every day because I never knew which would be the last. Before leaving my parents’ home on the evening of 15 August 2016, I gave mum a big hug and told her I loved her as she sat in her recliner chair next to dad. After 53 years of marriage to my father Alan, mum passed away on 16 August 2016 leaving a huge hole in our lives.
And so, despite dad’s age, I know he’s an experienced high carer! I’m inspired by the old English proverb, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” and my dad is one hellava Englishman!
Eileen Jean Green: 1 November 1934 – 16 August 2016
A mission to Melbourne
We put our heads together and work out the logistics. We’ll use Uber for vehicle transport. We’ll fly Qantas and request wheelchair support at each airport. Since we need to overnight and I can’t carry anything, we’ll share a bag. It all seems simple. I phone Neil and explain my circumstances. I tell him if I can address the audience on a stool, the surgeon will give me the go ahead. Neil sees no issue and puts my name forward to the client. On Friday 8 September he sends me an email: “Hi Daryl, great news ̶ lock it in!”
“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.”
I tell dad. He has a great, big smile on his face and reminds me I was supposed to be in the Philippines about now. He then recites a favourite saying of his mother Ellen, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” He means if it wasn’t for the devastating knee injury, I would have been away and wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be selected for the talk. I’m a big believer in misfortune having an upside. Every cloud has a silver lining. Then it dawns on me…there’s one major obstacle we haven’t considered…the danger zone…the dreaded shower!!! I look forward to telling you how it all unfolded in part 3. Stay tuned!
Best Laid Plans
Start of the 100 metres
The fateful ‘one hundred’
I’ve always loved running. As a kid, my best events were the one and two hundred metre sprints. On a sunny winter’s afternoon in July, I decide to go for a 30 minute run. At the end, I time myself sprinting a ‘one hundred’. I have the distance marked out on a stretch of road. I set my stop watch, crouch down, suck in three deep breaths. I click the timer. The next thing I know, I’m punching out of my stance like a rocket! ONE-TWO-THREE-FOUR-FIVE strides. I’m gaining momentum and I’m gradually rising to my full height, pushing my chest out allowing my body to go as fast as I can. I love the sensation. Then suddenly without any warning I feel a ‘twanggggggggg’. My left knee snaps like a huge rubber band. There’s no pain but I know immediately this isn’t good and I pull up lame.
The following day I see my doctor. An MRI scan reveals a damaged meniscus. My doctor says, “Lucky it’s not your ACL [Anterior Cruciate Ligament], that’s a long rehab process”. While none of this is great, I’m aware it could be a lot worse. An appointment is made for me to see an orthopaedic surgeon that afternoon.
MRI of Daryl’s left knee which showed the surgeon the extent of the devastating injury
My father, Alan Green, drops by my apartment just before I’m due to head to the ortho. I update him on my knee. So we can spend some more time together, I suggest he accompanies me to the appointment. Dad sits in on the consultation. The surgeon asks me how I injured my knee and I tell him my sorry tale. He says, “You have a one percenter injury. You’ve torn your meniscus from the root. It’s very rare and very serious. It’s normally associated with the kind of trauma we see from a parachuting incident. We have an 80% chance of successfully repairing the meniscus, otherwise you face life long consequences such as not being able to run.” I’m absolutely flawed, as is dad. After the initial shock, I ask about my options should the surgery not be successful. He talks about breaking a leg bone and realigning it to move the pressure on the knee joint. I sleep uneasily that night.
Anatomy of the knee
Under the knife
On Tuesday 15 August 2017, I’m in hospital. Keyhole surgery is used to reattach my medial meniscus (the inside of the knee). The detached meniscus, which has coiled up at the back of my knee and feels like a sponge, is pulled forward to the front of the joint. The end of the meniscus, and the bone area it will be attached to, are scored or roughed up to assist them to knit together. Lastly, a screw is inserted through the meniscus into the bone to affix the root in place. Thankfully, the operation is deemed a success. Despite this, the recovery ahead challenges me more than I could ever have imagined. Yet, as so often happens in life, it also brings me an incredible opportunity. I’m looking forward to sharing this with you in the next instalment.
The operation is a success! Smiles all around from me, dad and great mate, Neil Robson
Three key events took place over three years:
- A casual conversation with a film producer
- Approach to the Queensland Police Service to produce a short film
- An introduction to the Chairman of Lifeline
These are all culminating in a special event for Lifeline on the evening of Wednesday 16 May 2018.
Visit the TWICE SHOT Events page, read the flyer, click the ticket link and be part of an historical special event.
In February 2017 I attended the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) in Melbourne. At the event, another attendee from Brisbane, Gail Sawyer, who is the Marketing & Communications Manager for the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, introduced me to Martin Donovan.
Martin is the editor of MIX – Asia’s leading MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) magazine.
As the last day of the conference was winding down, over a glass of wine, courtesy of the Macao trade & exhibition stand, Martin and I discussed our travels, love of South East Asia and our backgrounds that brought us to AIME.
Our friendly networking resulted in a three page TWICE SHOT® article in the print and online edition of the October/November 2017 MIX magazine.
I complimented Martin on the article and he responded:
Thanks for helping with the great content Daryl – it’s going to be a challenge to make the next edition look as good after that!
I am grateful for Martin’s humbling words.
The condensed version of the online article is available:
- Part 1 – “Gunned down… how a night of terror unfolded”
- Part 2 – “Gunned down, but not out – Daryl Elliott Green”
If you wish to receive an electronic copy of the full article which appears in the print magazine, please e-mail: email@example.com
The Australian Psychological Society approached me through ICMI Speakers Bureau to speak about how psychology assisted me after the shooting, for their event Why I Believe in Change, at Federation Square in Melbourne on Sunday 8th October 2017.
I will soon write about this experience and the amazing Queensland Police Service psychologist Chris Manktelow—a man also with an incredible true story—who provided incalculable assistance to my mental health.
I was speaking along with three other leading Australians:
- Libby Trickett OAM, Olympian, broadcaster and mother
- Fablice Manirakiza, former child soldier and 2016 Young Victorian of the Year
- Leanne Faulkner, founder of Billie Goat Soap
Prior to the event senior reporter for News Corp Matt Young interviewed me.
He had done his research and one of the first things he said:
‘Your story is amazing, but I’ve never heard of it!’
I immediately thought of Eddie Cantor’s famous quote, “It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.” 😊
We spoke at length about the fateful night, when two colleagues and I were shot multiple times by deranged gunman Nigel Parodi, and the harrowing journey afterwards.
Matt went on to say, “…we can share your story with the world and help promote mental health.”
To accompany the article news.com.au created by agreement this social video using TWICE SHOT® footage and collateral:
Enjoy the read…
On Saturday 7 October, as part of news.com.au’s Real Life -> True Stories reporting, they published this online in depth article (please note confronting content): The incredible story of how Daryl Green was shot in the face — and survived.
My mother and father were the glue that held me and my life together, whilst professionals—psychologists and psychiatrists—treated me for years during the worst stages of chronic PTSD.
I know from experience, the secondary causalities of PTSD are the sufferer’s loved ones – wife, partner, children, siblings, parents – the ones who see the effects of PTSD up close and personal. The depression, anger, anxiety, hyperarousal, dreams, flashbacks, withdrawal and massive personality changes.
One of my first memories of what I was going through affecting my parents, was in the first week after being released from hospital following the shooting.
I was having a nightmare and my father tried to wake me. As soon as he touched me I lashed out kicking at him repeatedly until I woke and realised where I was!
Love ones often feel helpless, are often overlooked by support services (although this is improving) and suffer in silence. For years I underwent intrusive operations to reconstruct my shattered mouth from that first bullet, with each procedure re-igniting the full fury of PTSD.
This is the damage the first bullet to my face inflicted…
As all loving parents know, what affects your children, affects you. Things became so bad in the early years after the shooting, my father suffered severe depression. I was being treated by an experienced psychiatrist who had children of his own. He had more than an inkling of what my parents were going through. When I shared my concerns about my father’s declining mental health, even though he was not paid for it, the psychiatrist volunteered to see and treat my father for 15 minutes after each session that I had with him. My dad started a course of anti-depressants, which combined with talking about his feelings and emotions, and the wise counsel of this generous psychiatrist, helped in time to relieve his depression. This enabled him to ‘keep going’ and along with mum continue to be a bulwark of support for me.Tony Dell is the only first-class cricketer to serve in the Vietnam war and said, ‘I saw things in Vietnam that the human brain is not meant to experience…’. Forty years after his war service, his experiences led to a diagnosis of PTSD. Not the type to receive his TPI pension and do nothing, he founded Stand Tall for PTS to help reduce the condition’s stigma, educate and encourage governments to do more. In early 2017 he asked me to participate in a music film clip about the condition we share in common. He also asked, ‘Do you know anyone else touched by PTS who would be willing to contribute?’ You don’t need to be a Rhodes Scholar to know who I turned to! 😊
Despite his waning years, my dad was once again there for me and agreed to participate in the music film clip. However this time, he was not there solely for me. Anyone who knows my dad, knows his gentle kind and empathic nature – if he can help someone out, he’s the first to show up! Alan participated to help raise awareness of PTSD and in his own small way, try to make the road for the condition’s suffers and their loved ones, a little bit easier than we have had to traverse together.
Hint: Dad appears between 3 and 4 minutes.
The ‘Stand Tall’ music film clip will give you a true glimpse of what it is like living with PTSD and help you understand and better support those affected by the condition.
Please watch the film clip’s scenes and listen carefully to Tony’s own words based on his personal experiences.
More than 15 million Australians are affected by trauma and it is estimated that between 5 and 10 percent of the population will suffer PTSD at some point in their life (Source: Phoenix Australia).
If you wish to…
- learn more
- receive help for suffers and supporters
- support research for effective treatments
My number one supporter was there on the night, my 85 year old father Alan, who along with my late mum Eileen, unwaveringly picked up the pieces with each shattering blow, both physical and mental, that I encountered on my long journey after the shooting.
One of the themes throughout the keynote was what can come from helping people out of the sheer kindness of your heart, which Lifeline epitomises with its over 11,000 volunteers.
I role played the shooting and a number of key turning points during the 45 minute talk. Two very dear friends were present in the audience that night, Joel Palmer and Michael Alafaci, who had stepped up to help me when they saw an opportunity to assist. I was able to share Joel’s and Mike’s stories of support and the ripple effect of their pure acts of kindness.Joel owns a financial asset management business, Palmer Portfolios. He knew that I was speaking within the police and had a powerful story, but was a diamond in the rough when it came to presenting. He did not say anything to me, but he had an idea. At the opening celebration of a new business venture in 2014 he made a specific point of walking me over and introducing me to one of his friends and business associates. He said, ‘Hi Mike, I’d like you to meet Greeny, he has an interesting story.’ I told Mike about my backstory and he listened intently. It turns out Mike is an Executive Performance Coach and one of his core professional services is teaching speaking and presenting skills. A few years later, Mike confided in me saying, ‘When we met mate, I knew you had a lot to offer the world by speaking, but I also knew you could not afford my fees!’ So he made a generous decision and volunteered his time and commenced coaching me in professional speaking. Next he introduced me to Professional Speakers Australia, encouraged me to apply for The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship for Public Speaking, which I was awarded in 2015, and became an amazing friend who continues to coach me to this day.
It was an honour to recognise my father, Joel and Mike in the keynote, and tell their stories of selfless kindness, which had a powerful butterfly effect, of not only helping me to ‘keep going’, but turn a traumatic event on its head and launch me into the world of professional speaking.
Lastly it was a privilege to recognise these same types of selfless acts of kindness demonstrated by Lifeline’s employees and thousands of volunteers each day around the country, helping those members of our community who may not be as fortunate to have a support network such as mine and are doing it tough.
It is a pure joy to support Lifeline’s work. After my talk, John Brogden AM, Chairman of Lifeline Australia had these humbling words to say…
Lifeline Australia’s 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention line is 13 11 14.
Please support Lifeline’s mission of An Australia Free of Suicide through volunteering your time or making a donation.