I don’t remember much about the accident. All I know is that it happened on my motorbike with my partner as passenger. We were crossing the lights behind another vehicle at under 10km/h and a driver ran a red, straight into our path. It turns out the driver of the vehicle that hit us didn’t possess a license.
I was thrown against a wall along with my motorcycle which was full of petrol. It caught fire and my legs were badly burned, along with other parts of my body. We were lucky. If not for the two nurses who happened to be at the petrol station nearby who had witnessed the accident, one of us might have died.
Two ambulances were called and we were rushed to the Royal Perth Hospital. My partner was transferred to Charles Gairdner Hospital and learned that she had sustained a critical head injury. She hit her head once more when she went to step out of her hospital bed, not realizing one of her legs had been removed. It wasn’t funny at the time, but she’s recovered and it’s something we can look back on and laugh about.
I don’t remember much from the accident because I was immediately sedated and operated on multiple times. I spent 8 or 9 months as a patient in hospital and am eternally grateful, from Fiona’s team and in particular Dale the physician, to all of the nursing staff who had to deal with my lack of patience.
If I was anywhere else in the world, I reckon my legs would have been amputated – that’s what they tell me. Judging from the photos, I feel very lucky to be in WA with our excellent burns service.
Joe had a traction injury of his right arm. His brachial plexus was essentially torn out of his neck and thus his eventual decision, three years later to amputate his arm as it was painful and non-functional without any real prospect of recovery.
I traveled to Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital to enquire about a bionic arm, but unfortunately the nerves in my arm were too badly damaged, with only one working. We are incredibly lucky to have Fiona and her team, and I am extremely grateful to have walkable legs that aren’t plastic. It makes me very happy. I love my doctors and nurses. They would have had a lot to deal with from me, but I am lucky to now understand what goes on in the process of treating a burns patient. Now, if I hear patients in a doctor’s room complaining about how long they’ve waited, I wish they’d understand that there’s probably a very good reason as to why they’re delayed. Doctors, police, ambulances and nurses in Australia don’t get enough recognition. I wouldn’t understand if I hadn’t had my accident, but I’m glad I know now.
Now, I’m 63 and I’m going to have a good life traveling, working and spending time with my family and friends. I’m very lucky and extremely proud of Fiona Stanley Hospital – everyone is beautiful and they do a great job. I’ll keep saying it until I can’t anymore. Thank you to Fiona, the burns team and all of the staff and nurses who helped me get to where I am today – opening a pizza shop with my son in Ballajura! Thank you.
Joe is truly inspirational and he has given generously to the Foundation which has enabled us to purchase a portable TV and DVD for our inpatients for their use during their stay at the Burns Unit. Thank you Joe!