The physiotherapist asked me if I was comfortable.
I replied ” I make a living ”
In 2012, at the age of 59, I was forced to use a wheelchair, following a stroke and a spine operation.
This site aims to tell my story.
I had travelled to Paris, France with my wife, Flossy, and one of our four children, Katie, aged 18 at that time.
We were staying for just 10 days and we were in a rented an apartment in the 7th arrondissement. We rented the apartment through nyhabitat.com
I had the stroke in the apartment. Katie called for an ambulance and 2 very small ambulance men carried me in a wheel chair down 4 flights of stairs. I am 187 cm tall and I was a bit overweight.
They struggled and sweated.
The very small ambulance had to be emptied of fire fighting equipment to fit me in.
I was then rushed to the nearby St Anne’s hospital and told that I had suffered a brain aneurism in the right side of my brain. The left side of my body was numb.
St Anne’s hospital specialised in neuro so I was in good hands.
A physiotherapist named Cedric got me walking again with the aid of a 5 pronged stick.
I described the stick as just like the one used by Frasier’s dad in the TV series.
The doctors, nurses and other patients were all wonderful to me, the English speaking Australian. However one nurse had trouble finding a vein to take a blood sample. She pricked me many times in the bend of my arm. The arm became infected and swollen. I sweated, hallucinated and shivered through the night. The infection seemed to disappear after a couple of days of anti biotics.
I had paid for travel insurance before we left Melbourne, so the insurance company sent a male nurse from Brisbane to take me home.The trip home was delayed by the infection in my arm.
Finally after 3 weeks in St Annes hospital Paris, I flew home business class via the Middle East with Emirates in the care of the Australian male nurse from the insurance company.
Before I could be discharged from hospital, the nurses had a couple of questions for me
I translated the first French question as “Where is your colon?”
I replied in rapid fire Australian English ” If you don’t know where it is, and you are a qualified nurse, then I am not telling you…. and Why do you want to know?”
The nurses then did a charade to get me to understand and I realized the question was “Where is my cologne?”
They made it clear to me that I was not leaving their hospital without waering cologne and a freshly laundered shirt. the insurance guy took my shirt back to his 5 star hotel and washed it for me in his bath.The nurses produced some cologne so the next day I was taken by ambulance to Charles De Gal airport.
The ambos looked like film stars. At the airport I was put in an airport wheel chair and then pushed down a concrete tunnel with the airport porter standing on the back of the wheel chair.. We reached a speed of 40 k per hour.
The plane ride was wonderful. In the morning I was given the choice of Moet champagne or an oxygen bottle. I chose the oxygen. It appeared to me that there were only a few people on the plane. of course there were hundreds in Economy that I could not see or hear. The business class seat turned into a bed by touching a button.
We stoped for a few hours in Dubai and then an hour or more in Singapore
I was rushed through immigration and customs to a waiting ambulance in Melbourne and taken to the Alfred hospital
I stayed 3 nights there and then went to Caulfield Rehab hospital for 2 months
Below is a photo of an Australian nurse who gave me IV at midnight for 10 weeks. Her heritage is Burmese. I really enjoyed her company at midnight although I detested the IV machine and its beeps.
I am now in a electric wheelchair that gives me FREEDOM