The accident happened on 20 November 2011 and I was in the Trauma Unit of the Alfred Hospital before moving to a rehab hospital. Whilst in the Trauma Unit I had two operations one to pin my collarbone together and the other to wire my hand bones together. The collarbone surgery was two days after the accident and was rather traumatic. After the surgery my blood pressure went “through the roof” and they feared I was about to have a stroke. My wife was urgently called to the recovery room. Luckily the treatment worked and all turned to normal.
I haven’t mentioned that I am a bit of a fitness nut and this has influenced my recovery. I was never going to sit and wait for it to happen. As soon as I was told to get out of bed and try to move, I was at it. Sometimes to my own detriment. Nevertheless I remember staggering around the ward trying to convince everyone I was getting better. It was horrible how you can be reduced so quickly from extremely fit to a staggering mess. It was only months later that I realised how sick I was.
My wife convinced the doctors that I was not able to go home and I needed to go to rehab. She was correct and rehab provided an opportunity for me to learn how to cope with one arm that didn’t work at all. It was not only the inability to do simple tasks but getting my head around the dramatic change this was going to make to my, and my family’s life. The rehab staff where fantastic, especially the young physiotherapist, Nicky, she was amazingly supportive for one so young. She understood all the issues spinning around my head. All you want is someone to be able to tell you if and when there will be any improvement. The reality is no one knows until there is some detailed imaging and testing done. What is important is that people are honest with you, and if possible, give you hope. That is exactly what Nicky did! The neuro-psychologist meetings where the most dreaded. As I had a brain bleed they kept testing me for the its impact. My word retention skills were diabolical, however my numeracy skills created records. Something to do with being a maths teacher. I suspect there was little impact from the accident, but that was not their prognosis. Who knows!!
After two weeks I was out of rehab ready to tackle the world of home. I was keen to get home, although a little nervous of what lay ahead.My wife Kerry then stepped in and took over my management. She is amazing at organising and I was able to sit back and focus on recovering. The next weeks seemed filled with medical appointments. They seemed endless and told me little about my hopes for recovery until I met my surgeon.