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Sydney Hospital - January 2009

After I was airlifted to Sydney and after 3 days in the ICU, I was transferred to the Severe Burns Unit where I would begin the recovery stage of my journey. The spinal ward was full at the time so the decision was made to send me to a burns ward where they could still handle my chemical burn that covered pretty much the entire left side of my back.

The care given in Australia is pretty close to the same as in the states. There is the same knowledge of nursing staff and surgical team, maybe a bit better on social aspect and customer service, but could be just my experience. All in all, the nursing staff rocked and nurse manager Di was well praised by her staff. One day, I was supposed to go and see the doctor about the fracture in my hand while still in the burns unit. On the previous Friday, I was told I had the appointment to see the doctor and was glad to finally see him. I was told my appointment was Monday morning, so when Monday finally came around I woke up early, got myself dressed, and was ready to go by around 8:00 am. I sat and waited for the nurse or someone to come around and tell me it was time to go. By 1:30pm one of the physical therapists who I had seen a few times came in and asked how the appointment went. I had explained to her that I had not yet been down to see the doc, and was unaware of the exact time to go down, nor was it in my documentation at all. After a few phone calls to the people she knew, we had learned that the appointment was at 8:30am and that they had wondered why I wasn’t there that morning. So, apparently even if you are in the hospital the communication still has problems from one department to another. With this particular doctor only seeing patients on a Monday I had to wait a whole entire week to see him again.

A couple days after the clinic day mess up, I had an appointment to see the hand therapist Ray, who I had seen on a couple occasions prior and had great success. I explained my situation and he got right into doing everything he could to help me. The main thing was getting me casted in a way that I could still transfer and get back my mobility so that I could be discharged from the hospital. After only a few minutes and a couple demonstrations from me he put his signature on the line to let me go home. This was something that I had tried to get the doctor himself to do for 2 weeks, all the while never getting to see him in person for one reason or another. It truly pays to talk to the right people, even if you may think they are not the ones in charge of everything. They just may still be able to get done what is needed.

At the end of the stay I set up the payment arrangements with the accounting department because I had not gotten traveler’s insurance before I left I had to pay for everything out of pocket. The costs were actually considerably cheaper than the U.S. --$2100 AU per day in the ICU, $800 AU per day in the burns unit room and board. Although the costs seems to be so much lower than what I had received for similar treatment in the states, the service was just as good if not better than what I met with in some hospitals. And they didn’t treat me any different because I was an “overseas” patient.

Once I was out of the hospital, I had a chance to review the video footage from the crash and seen all of what happened. After everything was watched over carefully, it all came down to rider error – me— and it is yet another example of “stupid hurts”. I had ran into a tree straight on after hitting a bermed corner wrong. I had fractured one bone in my hand close to the wrist, fractured my hip, had 7 stitches to close my upper lip, 8 stitches to close my right under arm, had a pretty serious brain bleed, and a rather hefty chemical burn down my back and thighs. I think I have enough reminders of this stunt gone wrong.

It is now 3 months past and I am at 95% back to my normal. I have been cleared from all my doctors and told I can resume my “normal life”. Now, with this knowledge I will go on to doing stunts and living my life, but I will do it a lot smarter and a bit more cautious.

Thanks to everyone who supported me and sent there love and get well wishes.