Dulcie Hartley

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Progress was slow, but soon my hands were attempting to obey my commands. One day I struggled for a long time to do up one button on my cardigan. The following day I demonstrated my ability on doing up all eight buttons. These seem small goals in retrospect, but at the time it was real progress. Soon I graduated from the Sling Lifter (the torture machine) to a different type where I had my feet on the ground for the first time in months. I could eventually use bobby pins to give myself my usual hairstyle, small achievements but encouraging confidence in my recovery. Over time and thanks to Physios I was able to graduate from a wheelchair into various walking frames. My ambition was to leave hospital using a walking stick.

While in ReHab I had a faIl one morning, the result of me going one way and my walking frame the other on uneven drainage tiles in the bathroom. XRays showed a fractured Sacrum. I was in a lot of pain radiating from my spine and across my buttocks whenever I moved any part of my body. I was prescribed major pain killers again These were fairly effective, but made me a bit dizzy.

So a week later I fell down again in the bathroom. This time I fractured my left wrist so ended up with a plaster on my arm. I suffer from Lupus and the Prednisone taken to control this condition also has a deleterious effect on skeletal structure. My legs were very swollen and heavy so had difficulty in walking. During late June I wound up spending time in John Hunter Hospital for observation and it was found that I was low on oxygen.

In July, I had the misfortune to contract Bronco-Pneumonia with Multi Resistance Staphylococcus (Golden Staph) which was treated intravenously with the Antibiotic Vancomycin. I had blood transfusions and eventually recovered, although I noticed a tremor in my hands which had not been there previously. As well I had clots on my lungs and scar tissue. I returned to Medical Ward and became paranoid about moving to Re-hab on the floor above where I seemed to have falls and contract life threatening conditions.

I finally received good news that my discharge date was set for 3rd August 2010, after nearly five months of hospitalisation. Early in my illness I had given myself six months in hospital to recover so I was pleased to know that I was breaking this time frame. I have been told of other patients who were hospitalised for much longer periods so I should have been pleased.