World Social Work Day – A synopsis of our story after a SCI in our family.

On February 1st 2012 Emily fell while snowboarding in Vermont, she broke her C5 and the spinal cord injury resulted in her quadriplegia.

Our initial care was in U.S.A. The American Social Worker was knowledgeable and experienced. The medical repatriation was co-ordinated by this professional and negotiated with compassion and sensitivity.

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A Helper At Home

Day two post surgery. Apart from the enormous cast on Emily’s arm, she was feeling tired. Hospital are not renowned for good food or being peaceful places of rest. The food may be edible but it is never exactly what you fancy. Rest is disrupted by the multitude of professionals; doctors, nurses, cleaners, the trolley lady and the physios, probably visiting others in the ward, but their conversations all audible. It is worse at night. Noises are amplified, patients are disoriented and call for assistance, sleep is at best disturbed.

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The day of Emily’s surgery. What do you do while you wait?

The day of Emily’s surgery.

Clock and iPhone alarms shattered our slumber, pre dawn; getting up at 4am allowed enough time to muster ourselves in front of the admissions booth on level four, Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) for 6am. Emily is only expected to stay 2-3 nights so we hadn’t packed much, no home comforts are required as a speedy discharge is anticipated. We loaded up the car with her single half empty holdall, waved to our energetic neighbour who was out power walking in the dim morning light. Continue reading

To be a nerve, or to be a tendon – that is the question?

didn’t realise I was so nervous until I looked at my worried thumb nail.  Emily and I drove silently to Lidcombe, this morning, to attend her physiotherapy session. Both of us wrapped up in quiet contemplation. Nothing needed to be said, it’s perfectly obvious that we’re both in an emotional holding pattern, circling thoughts, held in a queue, waiting for her time slot to be confirmed for surgery tomorrow.

This process started early last year in Royal Ryde Rehabilitation as Emily was referred to the tetriplegic hand clinic at Royal North Shore Hospital for assessment and monitoring. Walking into clinic 5, waiting to be seen by the specialist is daunting and exciting all mashed into a butterfly stomach. The surgeon didn’t look up as we entered the consulting room; the walls were lined with therapists, students and trainees. I settled into the chair I was offered, Emily had her own chair. Our saucer eyes scanned the room for any familiar faces. The surgeon asked questions and came to sit on the front corner of her desk. Any questions we uttered seemed naive so we listen.

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Pre Operative Hospital Appointment

Today we went to Royal North Shore Hospital for a pre operative appointment in preparation for surgery on 19th November. The department aims to have all the consent forms, information, bloods taken etc in readiness for the day of admission. Alarmingly we were met at the reception desk by a staff member with the name badge – Death!

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