Jenny’s Diary 2010-2011

While playing in the Under 20’s rugby tournament in Bangkok, Ben has suffered a serious spinal cord injury while pulling out of a ruck after a simple tackle, where a member of the opposing team tripped on him  The neurosurgeon put him in traction and gave him steroids immediately after the surgery. Three days later the surgeon performed a fusion of the c5-6 vertebrae, and the same evening brought the sudden onset of hospital drug resistant pneuomonia, so a breathing tube was inserted in his throat and he was hooked up to breathing apparatus. Mom and Dad have moved into a room of the hospital in Bangkok and the players from the under 20’s rugby team and the coaches have been visiting on a daily basis. The doctors say he can not be moved

Ben’s injury is c5-6 tetraplegia.

BLOG FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER 2010

After three and a half weeks in Bangkok, the pneumonia was manageable enough that we were able to airlift Ben to Hong Kong with SOS.  He was so happy to be back home in Bangkok with his family and friends

However the pneumonia took a dive for the worse and he was on 100% oxygen. In the intensive care unit we learned that he needed a duradectomy to release pressure on the spinal cord, so a team was assembled on Saturday afternoon and the surgery successful.This is when he started to get  more movement in his arms and feeling in his legs and his injury changed from ‘complete’ to ‘incomplete’ as there are signals now going to his legs and sacral area.

By the following week they decided to perform a tracheotomy because he had been tube fed for so long. Ben has physiotherapy twice a day, occupational therapy and acupuncture

Each night the intensive care room was heaving with friends visiting and watching movies together.

BLOG FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER 2010

It is a relief that Ben is finally eating food again and to see the end of the tubes down his throat.

The journey from Hong Kong  to Sydney was good. Ben was farewelled at the Adventist hospital by a big group of school friends. He said goodbye to his little sister and dog as he was stretchered into the ambulance and driven to Chep Lap Kok airport and had a comfortable journey in business class accompanied by a doctor and a nurse, then straight to North Shore hospital on arrival.

BLOG FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER 2010

After a week in the intensive care unit Ben was moved up to the spinal injury unit of North Shore Hospital. A skin swab showed remains of pneumonia so he was put into a single room. There is a gym in the unit and an OT room so Ben takes himself off to physio twice a day as well as occupational therapy, where he is learning wheelchair skills, self care and computer skills.

BLOG FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER 2010

After a month in the spinal unit of the North Shore hospital, Ben finally got a much awaited place at Moorang, Ryde Rehab Centre. It seemed like a long wait and he has a team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, rehab doctor, social worker and clinical psychologist.

Ben was happy to have Christmas day at home with his whole family and his cousins, aunty and uncle, and

New Year’s was spent  with family friends.

BLOG FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY 2011

Ben now has two school friends at university in Sydney and the weekends are always with the girls, Emma and Anthea.  Ben was really happy to see Isabella and Dad  at Chinese New Year and embrace some of the customs that he had grown up with, like laicee packets and Chinese restaurants.

BLOG FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY 2011

In February the residents of old Moorang were moved to Coorabel, an equally old building but with large rooms and terraces overlooking the Parramatta River.  In the meantime, building will soon commence on the new rehab centre, a 2-3 year project. The move was well orchestrated except for the hydrotherapy pool, which  sadly was never resurrected. Because Ben still has vestiges of multiple resistant pneumonia on his skin, he continues to have his own room.

BLOG FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH 2011

Josh Owens flew down for 6 weeks to spend time with Ben – what a hero! With Jenny in Hong Kong for 2 weeks, he somehow managed to get himself from Northbridge to Ryde every day and back again, and incredibly difficult journey by public transport. Peter was down again on his monthly visit – off to watch rugby and cricket whenever they could get the opportunity.

BLOG FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL 2011

Easter took the whole family to  Maroochydore for a week’s holiday. It was a milestone for us all and so great to be out of a hospital. Our best day was heading down the river on a big pontoon with our friends Mary and Kim. Our worst moment was when the airlines left the wheelchair behind.
Dan Wilson and Nick  Codrun flew down this month from Hong Kong and it was a flurry of outings and rugby matches.

BLOG FOR THE MONTH OF MAY 2011

They think Ben might possibly be able to transfer  from a chair to a bed and so on perhaps by the end of the year. He still needs to strengthen up his arms.  Ben was so happy to discharge on May 19, after 9 months of hospitals and institutions. He moved into Aunt Chris and Uncle Tony’s house – he loves their cooking!  He has a great room and we have set up the functional electrical stimulation bike in the pool room downstairs.

It is a whole new world of carers twice a day, but Ben says he is used to help,  coming from Hong Kong.

He loves the Walk On program that he attends at Sydney Uni three times a week and the other physio, hydro and therapy that he has started.

There were some great guys at Moorang and he missed their company but  fortunately Tom Pat flew down for 2 weeks from Hong Kong.  His timing couldn’t have been more perfect! The 3am and 5am returns in the morning felt like the old days!

BLOG FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE 2011

Dad and Ben shared their birthday party last . Emma and Marcus were there and  generally the  young  people were models of sobriety while the middle aged were tripping over themselves.  Unfortunately poor Grandma had a fall on Ben’s ramp and took herself home black and blue.

Peter and Jenny (mom and dad) are off to Tash’s graduation  and 21st birthday in England, while Andy Ben’s godfather is holding the fort back in Sydney.

BLOG FOR THE MONTH OF JULY 2011

Just in the nick of time Dan Russell arrived in Sydney to keep Ben company. Ben’s friends are amazing – they are learning how to use the hoist and I find it remarkable.   Tash and then Bella will be down soon and he will be really happy to reunite with his sisters.

BLOG FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST and SEPTEMBER 2011

Ah sigh! Great to be back in Hong Kong.  Ben is out with all his friends and we have brought over a Project Walk trained therapist,  Emma, to work on Ben and David Wishart and to train up Jennifer, a  local physiotherapist.  It is good, even without the equipment.  Just like the old days with late nights, Ben is so happy to be his with old mates.  They have been absolutely amazing – they drive him everywhere and they put him to bed.  We shipped the old van from Sydney to Hong Kong – what an effort but so worthwhile.Emma has persuaded Ben that he should go to the States and spend some time at the Project Walk there, so we are off to the States in October. I am now going to hand this blog over to Ben:-

 

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