Monday, 29 February 2016

The 4 month hiatus is over! I'm BACK!!

Hi you!

Apologies for not updating my blogs sooner! I would've if I could've, promise! Wrote this one up last night so could upload for you today.
See the thing is (if you hadn't noticed), I've been away for just over 4 months, recovering. Its true that I almost died couple of times and almost lost use of my legs forever. Yup. Fairly serious stuff.
So the purpose of this post is to not only let you know that yes, I am absolutely alive and back at my work walking the (new) hallowed halls of power (and gas and internet and phones) but to also let you know what happened (and to save me explaining to everyone who is asking) and to let you know what I learnt so I can pass this on to you. 

After all, that is the purpose of why I started this blog in the first place. To help.
So let's break it down a bit, y'know, set the scene some to speak...
I went in for a fairly standard leg bypass operation back in October 2015. This was the result of a somewhat mis-spent youth, martial arts conditioning and semi-pro kickboxing. Funny thing is that repetitive fights and coming from Matamata (where actual hobbits live) can absolutely result in some long term damage that will eventually need repair. That and being over 40 now. And greying. Nothing too serious, operation would've had me off work for 3 weeks tops.
Or so I planned. But as life is, sometimes life doesn't work out that way.
Had operation over in Braemar Hospital in Hamilton. Yay for Southern Cross Healthcare. Everything went well...right up until around 4 hours later when they found a blockage in behind my right knee. Another operation scheduled immediately as risk of losing my right foot. 2nd operation in less than 6 hours.
Transferred to Waikato Hospital where things began to go pear-shaped as no team available in Braemar. Long story short, trainee anaesthesiologist and his boss signed off 10 times the normal amount of blood thinner (to which the hospital admitted full liability) during my op and in HDU post care.
As the method to knock me out to remove the blockage was via an epidural, I ended up developing a rather large spinal hematoma which pressed on all available nerve endings creating a pretty good amount of pain and had me completely paralysed for a good 6 hours, a paralysis they were fairly sure was going to be permanent.
During this hematoma prior to the third operation (5-6 hours between each of the three ops) to remove part of my spine, turns out I came about as close as you can to going into cardiac arrest 2-3 times with massive blood pressure peaks and pulse rate spikes. 
I remember them happening and just clenching my teeth/fists/every muscle I have as all the machines I was hooked up to all went crazy.
Good news is...I survived every single one. Much to a lot of the medical staff's surprise. The spinal specialist seemed quite pleased when I caught up with him only a few weeks ago. 
Like my grandmother used to be fond of saying though, "You can't kill the weeds". True story.
So then has come the long and slow process of getting better. 
Yes, at times it has been incredibly frustrating, a lot of the time painful. I still have constant pain in my left leg, some numbness on my left foot and a disc in my lower back that has decided to slip out as a result of all the trauma. I have multiple visits to physio's per week, each of which almost wipes me out. I am constantly standing then sitting, sitting then standing as long term of either, hurts. Stamina is also an issue, pain is kind of like a slow leak on a car tyre. Hence my short days to start with until the tyre gets fixed.
But even with all of this, I am still very much alive and walking, both of which were up for grabs on more than one occasion.
So what have I learnt from all this that could possibly help you? 
And how is it that I have managed to get back to work so soon given the specialist expected me to 
a) never walk again 
b) on the outside chance I would walk again, that I would need assistance for the rest of my life 
c) if lucky enough to be in the 2% of people who have had the same size hematoma in same place be able to walk again unassisted, I would still be messed up for upwards of 2 years before I could return to some normality
So then exactly how am I back at work now, only 4 months later? And mowing lawns at home?
Well, like a lot of my previous posts, the answer is very simple.
​No, I'm not kidding. Allowing yourself to be the victim changes your outlook on things. Negativity can creep in. Depression. Expectation that things will indeed go wrong or get worse. You have to fight this feeling.
So if you can do something for yourself (without getting hurt), plan out how you're going to do it, then do it.​ ​
Own that shit. Then celebrate your success. Even if it's tiny. Every single success counts towards getting - and keeping - your head on straight. It also helps your body repair.
During my recovery, I have stood by a few simple rules (most of which have gotten me growlings from my better half Andrea for doing too much) like pushing myself every single day. Every day I got out of bed at 7:30am, even though I had nothing to do. I got my own breakfast (well mainly, the ones where I couldn't get out of bed Andrea made it for me), I made a list of things to accomplish every single day and I nailed every single one. Some were simple like "walk 3 steps" or "change light bulb" right up to "swim 30 lengths at pool" and "mow lawns without stopping". Now sure, a couple of times I took things a bit far and popped a few stitches, but all in all, I have busted what was a 98% certainty prognosis and shown the world what is possible with some stubbornness, drive, setting goals and teeth gritting determination - all of which YOU have in spades too. 
Trust me - this is not something "special" about me.
YOU just need to believe in yourself too and TRY. It is always better to try and fail, than fail to try.
Do things for yourself, never let circumstances beat you, you are the one who gets to choose how you will react to any and all situations. 
Yep, YOU.
Now I'll wind it up here so that you can grab a drink and a bite to eat since it's been a fairly long post. Eating and drinking at regular intervals is advised.
In the coming weeks as I get stronger, I'm happy to talk to anyone if you need help unlocking any of these skills and attitude changes (for free), just put in a request in the comments or email me and I'll see what we can do.
But all in all, remember...
You're so much stronger and more resilient than you think you are.

Talk soon.