Saturday, September 19, 1998 Published at 06:40 GMT 07:40 UK
I'm lucky to be alive - Rik
Rik Mayall: "My life hung in the balance"
Comedian Rik Mayall has spoken for the first time about his recovery from a quad bike accident.
In an interview with the Mirror the actor and writer declared: "I feel elated - I know I am lucky to be here."
But after months of painful and difficult recuperation, he has now said the experience was "unique" and will live with him forever.
"My life hung in the balance. The slightest increase in pressure on the brain from either swelling or bleeding and that would have been it," the star of The Young Ones, The New Statesman and Bottom told the newspaper.
The father of three explained how his brain haemorrhaged in two areas, one deep inside the tissue on the lower left back.
The other, on the right side, was forming a pool of blood under the skull putting pressure on the brain as it refused to disperse.
"I had a lot of drugs swilling round in me and obviously my brain was damaged," he said.
"When you break an arm or a leg it takes months to heal and so does the brain.
"While it is healing it refuses to work properly. It does all sorts of things. It's just that I had no idea how oddly I was behaving."
The comedian also told how, in his confused state in hospital, he became convinced he was being held against his will and even hatched plots to escape.
"It's all like a surreal dream now - I was talking gibberish," he said.
Barbara, his wife, found her husband's crumpled body after the bike crash.
She said: "I never thought Rik was going to die. I wouldn't let myself think like that."
TV and Radio