In a nutshell, my body was battered and bruised and unfortunately I was unable to walk more than a few pathetic little steps. Initially the pain shot right up my right leg and made my leg spasm badly. After a while I could get in and out of bed without too much pain, and was slightly able to manipulate myself around to get in and out of the wheelchair at the hospital.
Many people used colourful depictives to describe what happened. I have said many times that this is a long journey made up of many stages and they can’t all be positives! Marilyn managed to obtain a narrower wheelchair which would make getting in and out of the bathroom a lot easier when I returned home. It was anticipated that I would return home after the Botox treatment and prior to returning to hospital again on 2 October 2010. The completion of that stage at that time, was very much a case of the rider being lucky enough not to be banished from the Tour, by just getting over the line and remaining in the race!
The next Stage commenced with re-admission to St Vincent’s Hospital Rehabilitation, Bolte Wing for the much anticipated Botox. Upon presenting at St Vincent’s the only Botox I obtained was in my arm to help release the muscles in the hand. It was decided not to do any Botox on my leg at that stage. I spent ten days initially at St Vincent’s with intense Physiotherapy in the morning and afternoon, some Hydrotherapy sessions and various Occupational Therapy sessions. Whilst this was a flat stage of the Tour, it was particularly tiring in that I was starting on from a low base of activity.
The re-admission to hospital ironically allowed me to catch up with various people who were still there and who were leaving, and of course, the major Physiotherapy and Nursing Staff who were all fantastic.
For those who are interested, of course I had a project whilst I was there. It in fact was the Catering Department. Partly it was in relation to the quality of the food, but more particularly it was the non-appearance on the plate of the food that you had ordered and the appearance of food that you had not ordered. After the Head Nurse lodged my complaint which was on-forwarded to the kitchen, the Nutritionist became my ally.
We photocopied orders, compared orders with delivery and found literally dozens of mistakes just with my orders and a considerable number of mistakes with those around me. By the end of the nearly two week stay at hospital, I must say that the food delivery had improved a fraction with about an 80% strike rate on getting what you ordered. This poor food delivery of course made the race even slower as distractions were high but the amusement level on trying to get things right was also high.
I came home for the weekend of 25th November 2010 and played in the Petanque at the Rock Triples Championship. The event was spent with my Team partners Bill Salathiel and Ken Helmore.
I was feeling reasonably confident we would be competitive as three years ago, Bill and I had won the Event. However, we were not to know how this particular combination would go.
Suffice to say that Ken Helmore pointed brilliantly, Bill Salathiel stepped up to the mark to be the aggressor and hidden in the middle was the occasional good job by me. It was a tiring day but I was tucked into my bed at St Vincent’s by 5.30 pm and quite satisfied with the weekend.
Upon arriving home, I had the inevitable round of Physiotherapy and Doctor’s appointments and found myself in a regime leading to Christmas which involved twice weekly Physiotherapy, potentially some Hydrotherapy and various walking and arm exercises.
I encouraged my friends and family that should they see me during the Christmas Season, I would appreciate their help in grabbing my arm and helping me to shake hands with them. I did have some movement but not much, and a little bit of pressure indicates that the biceps and various other muscles are at least attempting to be active.
My walking had been set back a long way and would only improve with practice and the exercises I was required to complete. I felt I was making slow progress and beyond that would be a challenge, not forgetting that there were still many stages to go.
To be continued…….