Monday, January 06, 2014

A serious accident put me in hospital (not kitesurfing)

I have just had a serious accident that put me in hospital, but not from kitesurfing.

I had a bad fall from a ladder on Sunday 5 January.  Like most accidents it was a combination of several factors, including:
  • Coming down the ladder face first
  • Wearing boots with worn smooth soles
  • Wearing a bee suit - impaired vision
  • At the end of the day
  • Complacency
I slipped near the top of the ladder then pitched forward to the adjacent shed porch roof.  I then flipped back off the roof and landed on the my back on the ground. I hit the lower back of my head hard on a concrete block retaining wall but stayed conscious.  My lower back hit something else, possible the brick porch - this caused intense pain.

The bee hive above our water tank.
I yelled out on the ground but nobody could hear me.  I decided to push through the back pain and got onto all fours then my feet and walked back into the house.  Lena immediately checked me out as I lay on the floor.  When I tried to get up I had bad spasm and intense back pain so I couldn't walk to the car.  

Stuart came around to help and put some cushions under me.  The ambulance showed up They couldn't get their stretcher up the steps in our house so they but a drip in my wrist and gave me some morphine, after which I was able to walk with assistance to the stretcher.

They checked me out in the Emergency department of the Epworth - the CT scan showed I had two fractured transverse processes - the bone flanges that protrude off the lower vertebrae. 

The good news was the main vertebrae, spinal chord and kidneys were all OK, so it could have been much worse.

I was in hospital for two an a half days, cursing that I was out of action for the upcoming second Across the Bay in a Day kitesurfing crossing.

Peter in hospital in morphine induced haze, trying to smile
James and Simon called by to visit on the last day which cheered me up a lot.

After a final CT scan to check there were no issues with my head I left the hospital, gingerly sitting in the car with large packets of Panadol Osteo and some Ibuprofen.

I had a lot of pain the first couple of days and kept the pain killers up. A short walk to the local shops was an epic outing. After about 5 days I was feeling much better - the pain had subsided, although there is still a large tender region to the left of my spine.

I got some calcium powder and Injury and Bruising cream (Arnica, Calendula, Hypericum and Lavender) from Dartnell's Pharmacy and have been using them.

I am now also able to drive the car for about 30 minutes.

While its very frustrating to be out of action (cabin fever set in on day 1!) I am also very grateful that I was not more seriously injured and that the pain has greatly diminished.

Oakton, my employer, has been very accommodating too.

Apparently over 50% of serious domestic accidents involve ladders.  So I am now part of this 50%.  

My major (re)learning is that ladders are VERY dangerous and that you should use them with extreme caution, preferably with someone else nearby.

I will hopefully be kitesurfing in around 6 to 8 weeks - the time it will take for the fractures to fully heal.

Thanks to all of you that have provided me with your best wishes and support - it is greatly appreciated. 

So I think more kitesurfing and cycling is indicated, rather than dangerous domestic duties around the house . . . 

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