A routine hip operation turned into one of those life changing moments for David Horowitz. The surgeon damaged his sciatic nerve, leaving him with a paralyzed left foot and a reservoir of neuropathic pain, Horowitz divulges in the opening chapter of “You’re Going to Be Dead One Day: A Love Story.” In the midst of his suffering, however, the author found time for reflection.
Horowitz is an accomplished author, speaker, and freedom fighter. One of his most well known works, Radical Son, described the transformation he underwent from a radical leftist to a conservative activist. Recently, however, his physical struggles have urged him to take a break from politics and publish a four-part series on life and faith.
Horowitz’s biggest support system throughout his distressing trial, has been his wife April. Incredibly, shortly before her husband suffered through his painful surgery, she herself had just been through a traumatic experience of her own. A terrifying car accident left her near death in the hospital.
“She had a punctured lung, a broken collarbone, broken ribs,” Horowitz told Townhall. “She came as close to death as you can probably come. But, fortunately for me, she was somewhat recovering when I was struck down by this botched operation.”
Horowitz said his strong relationship with April tells the story behind his new book’s title.
“We had to take care of each other,” he explained. “The climax of the book, where the title comes from, is that we took a decision to make a gamble. You save your life for the future. But you have to see there’s a limit to what the future is. My wife wanted to spend some money to make our environment more beautiful and I tried to stop her and she looked at me and said, ‘You’re going to be dead one day. I’m going to be dead. We need to enjoy our life.’”
Part of enjoying life, he suggested, means not dwelling on mistakes.
“In the book, I’m kind of hard on myself,” he shared. “I should’ve investigated more, although I don’t think he was a bad doctor. Accidents happen. I think, like most people, or at least people who haven’t been through serious health issues, we are pretty ignorant of the way the body works. So I wasn’t really aware the nerves are so crucial to the muscle and I had had a very successful hip operation so I thought, Oh this is a piece of cake...I don’t think it was malicious. There are a lot of terrible things that happen in life that you can’t really blame anybody for. Not that it would do any good if you could.”
Horowitz said that writing, which has always been a cathartic experience for him, has proved even more comforting during this bout of physical pain.
“When you write, you can put the world in order,” he said. “One of the things that people are in denial about, big time, is that everything is really out of control. There is no order. Things aren’t necessarily going to work out. It is very calming and therapeutic. I think a lot of the reason I began writing it, was that I was immobile, I was in pain. Writing took my mind off all that.”
Horowitz also said that to move past the regrets of the present, one must look to the future.
“If you’re looking at yourself in age, you’ve got to look at the generations,” he said. “I have some wonderful children. Some of the book is what they have to teach you about letting go.”
Toward the end of our conversation, Horowitz said he is an agnostic, yet shared that his wife’s strong faith has provided much needed restfulness.
“I wouldn’t have been saved if it hadn’t been for April’s faith,” he said.
As for those concerned that Horowitz has given up politics, have no fear. He hinted he won’t be able to stay away.
“Willy nilly that’s who I am,” he said.