MOTORCYCLING star Theo Pijper today revealed he nearly died after mistaking pneumonia for a touch of ‘flu.
The 32-year-old Dutch Speedway racer said he was lucky to be alive after being rushed from his Edinburgh home to the hospital when he was coughing up blood.
On further examination, doctors revealed that Pijper had pneumonia, rather than a bad dose of the flu.
He said: “The week it happened, my wife and two sons were suffering from flu and when I went to the doctor he told me I just had flu as well.
“But when I got home from the doctor’s I went to bed at four o’clock in the afternoon because I felt so tired and four hours later I was in an ambulance on my way to hospital after I was coughing up blood.
“I didn’t know what was going on, they had me in hospital right away, but once I was there, they got straight on it, because they knew what they were doing.”
Doctors at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary said that the Dutch star had sought help just in time.
“I was told had I left it 24 hours longer my lungs would have filled up with blood and anything could have happened after that, it could easily have proved life-threatening, looking back it was so scary,” he said.
The star, who is based in Edinburgh , was told that it would take two months for him to recover which would have hampered the start of his 2012 season riding with Edinburgh Monarchs.
But, defying medical predictions, the rider went on to take part in a practise session at Scunthorpe last week.
He said: “My wife told me it was far too early to go to Scunthorpe but I needed to know if I could do it. I did 16 laps and didn’t feel tired and I felt good afterwards and now I’m looking forward to our first meeting at Redcar .
“The medicine I got from the hospital was heavy duty stuff but I’ve finished it now. I’ve to go back for a check up just to make sure I’m all right.”
The Monarchs rider hopes to be fit for the league cup tie at Redcar Bears next week, and is thankful he got to the hospital on time.
“I’m still here and that’s in the past now so I don’t really want to think about anything like that too much.”
Monarchs co-promotor John Campbell said he was amazed by Pijper’s comeback.
“What happens with speedway riders is they dismiss all ailments and injuries and the like and carry on as if nothing has happened, so his approach doesn’t surprise me, but from being very, very seriously ill to riding a motorcycle competitively in about a week from now is quite a turnaround in about four weeks.”