Thursday, August 11, 2005

I fell down

Just after 4pm on Saturday 30 July 2005 I ploughed head first into the ground after not landing a jump on my dirtbike (Yamaha WR 400). I mono-ed on the front wheel for just under a metre before going over the handle bars when the wheel went in a hole. I laid face down on the ground with a tingling sensation from my shoulders down. My brother-in-law and two friends where there to help. They started by touching my hands, which I could feel. They then touched my feet, which I could also feel. I then wiggled the same areas - I knew then that I this was not too serious.

After about 40 minutes an Ambulance officers arrived and put me on a hard-board stretcher and into the heated back of the Ambulance. A few hours later, after it was dark, the CareFlight helicopter circled. As we were in a hollow and there was next to no moon light, the helicopter spent the night in the local town. I spent the night on my back with a very friendly and professional team of Ambulance officers and the CareFlight doctor who was driven in by the police. With more funding the 'chopper may be fitted with night vision which would have meant that I could have been in hospital sooner.

The next morning, around 10 am the helicopter picked me up and took me to Nepean Hospital (Kingswood) via Orange (to re-fuel). I was not winched as stated in the CareFlight press release - the helicopter came to a full stop before I was carried onboard.

Once in Emergence I was subject to all sorts of poking and jabbing. I had about 10 x-rays, a cat scan, MRI, ultra sound and many physical tests. At around 11pm my movement of my lower body was getting worse and I was rushed to surgery where I had a hose shoved down my nose to keep me breathing while they put me out.

The next day I woke in intensive care after a seven hour operation which involved replacing my C7 vertebra in the top of my spine/neck with a chunk of my hip and using a titanium plate and screws to hold it in place with C6 and C8. Both C6 and C3 were also fractured but are deemed stable.

I stayed in the ward for two days doing many activities on my lung which collapsed in theatre. Each day I would be x-rayed and constantly monitored by various machines. For the fist time I could sit up (with the assistance of the bed) which was a great relief for my hips.

On my second day in the Ward (Wed) I was up and walking in a frame, but I was short of breath and low on energy as I did not sleep much. The next day I was climbing steps and walking around the hospital without a frame (I even went to the car-park when visited by my dogs).

On Friday I waited for a more restrictive neck brace as my C3 had moved slightly, but it didn't come until Monday. On Tuesday, after some x-rays, it was fitted and I was allowed to go home. I have to return in 4 weeks to get a check-up.

I'm now home where things are getting back to normal [except for the sleeping and sitting for long periods].

I would like to thank all my friends and family for your support and care during this time - it has been overwhelming to know how much you care. I would really like to thank all the medical staff who have helped - the skill of these great people is amazing. Thank you to Blaney and Orange Ambulance services (esp. Ken, Andrew and Steve). Thank you to the CareFlight crew (esp. Shane). Thank you to all the extraordinary people at Nepean Hospital (the best Hospital I've ever been to) (esp. Urma, Kathleen, Aaron, David, Garry, Gavin, Margret, Lyndal, Chris, Dr. Nare and all the other great staff). I wish my patient buddies Missy and Gavin a big "get well soon". But most of all I want to thank my fantastic wife who has been with me everyday and has done so much to make my recovery so much easier - to the best wife in the world - hip hip hooray!