LIFE THREATENING SITUATIONS 2017-05-22T14:26:31+00:00

LIFE THREATENING SITUATIONS

(Beware, not for sensitive viewers – graphic images below)

 

Yes, I have to admit in the life threatening situations I have been in, I should not be alive today. My wife once gave me a key chain that said heaven doesn’t want me and hell is afraid I will take over. I think it was decided it is best to keep me on land, and I believe the reason for this is that I have a further purpose to serve and that’s you!

I am not looking for sympathy to my near death experiences, what I am looking for is for you to believe how P.M.A can save your life.

I had an important meeting in town on the 8 February 2012 at 8:30 am. Then I had a business golf invite at 12 pm at Stellenbosch golf course. Now as we all know for golf you must tee-off on time. I used my supped up Hayabusa 1300 that can clock 330km per hour to get to my meeting as I could not risk the traffic being slow. I am not insinuating I would travel 330km per hour, nor saying I have not tried a few times.

Unfortunately, the meeting went much longer than expected. So I organised my fleet manager to drop my golf clubs off at Stellenbosch as I knew I would now have to ride straight there. Unfortunately for me as it was a high profile client, I could not dress like a typical biker so I had a smart pants, shirt and shoes on. No protective biking gear except obviously my gloves.

Now, pressed for time, I was taking the Stellenbosch turnoff and moving fairly rapidly, putting it simply, I would say around 80 km. Someone once showed me a speedo that can do 250km. Wow, can you believe that’s possible?

In any event, as I was travelling, this huge 18 wheeler truck turned in front of me onto the highway. In those split seconds, my P.M.A kicked in telling me that if I had to hit that truck in the direction I was travelling I would be dead. I had to change direction.

I saw the gap. The last section of the truck was parallel to the road I was travelling on and the rest had turned to the right as the truck was entering the highway from the road we were both travelling on. I realised if I could travel parallel with the last section of the truck, I could use it like a berm (motocross term) and bump against it until I angled to the same direction the truck was facing the highway, then throw myself off the bike and I would hit the tarmac and not the truck. It worked, yes with luck and Gods intervention the bike turned and eventually hooked on the fuel tank tearing it open and I guess that also degloved my foot.

I rolled for more than 20 metres and when I stopped the first words in my head were “great, I am alive”, but then I saw the fuel come splashing across the road towards me. I immediately thought I survived the crash and now I might burn to death. With my pelvis fractured in two places and disjointed, my foot degloved and a laceration all the way down my calf muscle where one could see all my bones and my shattered hand, I once  again summed up P.M.A (positive mental attitude) and crawled on my elbows with excruciating pain for over 10 metres to reach the grass.

IMG_5513When I achieved that it was a great feeling, but the feeling of pain was incredible. My groin was the most painful, even causing a dent in the fuel tank on impact.

Later in the hospital, upon looking down at my crown jewels, to my horror I was showing all the colours of a blue bull supporter! I  Luckily that only lasted a couple weeks. So my first goal was to get back to being a Stormers’ supporter.

The tough part for my wife Maureen, her son and my brother, Graham, who were there at the hospital when I arrived in the ambulance was when they asked the doctor whether I would make it. The trauma surgeon replied saying we can’t answer that and all they could do now was damage control. From what they could see their challenge was in trying to save the foot and hand. They estimated about two hours of surgery, only after five hours did they finally come out to say they have done their best to save the foot and hand, but only in the next 48 hours would they have been  able to confirm that. The shifted, cracked pelvis they could not attend to yet as it was also not life or limb threatening.

Over the 48 hours which passed, they gave me blood transfusions to replace all the blood I had lost, but it was great news to hear the operation on my foot and hand was a success. The hand was too swollen to do a proper operation, so they agreed that in two weeks after the accident they would operate again on the foot, then the hand and then put a pin in for the pelvis. After 250 stitches internally and externally, the foot was saved.

From the wrist having every ligament pulled and seven out of eight bones connecting the hand to the wrist dislocated, everything was restored back to its original place. Yes, it was a challenge lying in one position for 14 days, on my back, literally being able to move only 2 inches left or right. The pelvis was the reason for so much excruciating pain, you just don’t want to move, but then after the pin was put in to stabilize the pelvis, where-after it was heaven. No more bed pans. Luckily after the first two times I was in theatre I was constipated for two weeks, not consecutively, just in between operations.

Just before I was discharged from the hospital I asked the surgeon if he could advise me on what I can and can’t do regarding certain sports, as I am a very active person. He asked me “what sports and hobbies do you enjoy”?

I told him “golf, wet biking, road cycling, quad biking, squash and deep sea fishing”.

The surgeon said, “Oh no, let me carefully explain how your life is going to change.”

He told me that for everything to heal properly I will need physiotherapy every day, and in about 12 months I can start being active again in limited sports.

He did say with my crushed hand and fingers, I won’t be able to play golf as two of my fingers will never close due to the scar tissue. Nor will I be able to ride quad bikes as I won’t be able to pull the clutch down properly due to my limited fingers.

The four-inch screw in my pelvis will prevent me from any off-road mountain biking, but I can ride on the road where it’s flat and easy. Definitely, no wet biking because when you jump waves the jolt on your hips is too severe as I now had a four-inch screw in my hip bone, and the middle of my pelvis was widened by over 3 cm. The dent in the tank from the impact of my crown jewels was an inch deep, so that explains the injury to the pelvis. I was allowed to walk short distances but any further and my foot would not be able to handle it. Deep sea fishing would be too much pressure on my pelvis, and to bring in a 90 kg tunny my hand would never be strong enough to pull it in.

Well, how was that for a motivational speech. He almost made a standing ovation.

What does the definition of P.M.A mean again? The absolute belief that without a shadow of a doubt I will be successful in whatever it is I want to do. So everything he said I can’t do, I was insistent I would prove him wrong. But before I could start that journey, I wish to discuss the lead up to before I started sport again.

It was estimated I was to be in the hospital about 2 months. Recovery at home in a wheelchair about two months and crutches a further two months. Playing limited sport again in 12 months.

I was out of the hospital in one month, out of a wheelchair in one month and off my crutches within a month. Within four months of my accident I was playing sport again, and within two years since the accident I completed the toughest mountain bike race in the world, The Cape Epic in 2015, which covers 8 days of mountain bike cycling where you complete 739km and 16 000 metres of climbing.

P.M.A is what kept me going.

I would like to share with you my plan of action on how I healed so quickly despite all the odds against me.

Experiencing pain, discomfort and frustration is a given, therefore, it is vital your mind is primed right to overcome these challenges.

When I experienced any of these three, I would prime my mind. For example: When I experienced excessive pain I would prime my mind by saying “pain is only temporary”. Yes, then I would hit the button for a happy pill. Lol!

When I could only move one inch in two weeks due to my cracked pelvis, I would look at other parts of my body and say I am healing better and better every day. Never ever did I let doubt or negativity creep in? I kept on reinforcing in my mind that I am getting better, stronger and healing more quickly.

Champions, feed that positivity to your body and trust me your body will heal more quickly.

Mentally I was very blessed as my wife, Maureen, visited me every morning and night for the entire month that I was in hospital. It was almost an hour’s drive every time. My brother, Graham, was there almost every day. You can see who your true friends and family are when you can’t entertain, and I can say everyone that is meaningful in my life came to visit me. People flew in from overseas, even as far as Taipei.

It’s important to keep your mind stimulated and to control the right thoughts, not to have a pity party. Even while I was in ICU, flying like a kite from all the morphine they were giving me, I was already having business meetings after my first week. My staff would come to my hospital bed. I think the morphine must’ve softened my business stance as everything at that stage was just so happy.

I preferred mostly my own food especially sashimi, as I wanted food that would compliment my body in order to heal more quickly. I would also choose meals sometimes that may not have been so healthy, but I referred to it as my happy food which was great for my PMA. My favourite treat being the Spur chicken wings.

IMG_2940My mate Andrew would come and visit me with happy drinks and smuggle in ice cold beers.

Sadly, I am sure many of you have experienced the incompetence of people in the medical field that can affect your recovery drastically. Do you agree? My biological dad died in hospital due to incompetence. Fortunately, I am not one of those people who accept incompetence. Like an eagle’s eye, I am constantly watching.

It’s a no brainer that if the nurses and physio do their jobs properly you will recover within the time prescribed by the doctors or earlier.

As soon as I saw them giving me the wrong medicine, incorrect dosages, prodding me when they needed to find a new vein for the drip and then inserting the needle and leaving it in but completely missing the vein, not even to mention the physiotherapist being a different person daily, I fired them all. I simply said, “don’t ever come back, if you have a problem call my mate Gerrie who is one of the founders of Medi-Clinic”. It was a little naughty to use my friend’s name but damn it proved to be very effective.

My foot was not healing as they expected it too, so I had a skin graph which was taken from my thigh.  Wow, the wound healed fantastically thereafter.

A ramp was built in my house downstairs and a queen size bed set up, as I could obviously not always have my wheelchair carried up and down the stairs with me in it all the time to shuttle me to my bedroom back and forth.

My mates, especially Andrew and Brian, including my sons, would timeously come to the house at anytime I asked, for them to carry me up and down the stairs. Fortunately, to urinate I was provided with some disposable bottles by the hospital. My wife arranged a monkey bar which I could pull myself onto in order to manoeuvre myself out of the wheelchair and back into my bed. Let me add, with great pain.

They gave me Tramacet which had to be taken six times a day for pain, but I only took it at night. I felt pain indicates how you are doing and I could also then measure improvement. At night for over a month my degloved foot had to remain in one position for the entire night. Twisting the foot would cause damage to any past healing. I truly didn’t enjoy sleeping in one position every night, but always kept myself focused on my successful progress. Romance, was on hold.

The one problem I incurred, was my sons playing in my wheelchair, spinning it around and then wishing me goodbye, but leaving the wheelchair a metre away out of reach. You can imagine, when I needed a number two, I could not get into my wheelchair. Not lekker boys!

I decided to come up with a quick plan for instant communication. My friend Janet had a company that sold long range walkie talkies, so she gave me two, one which I kept close by and one which I attached to our house manager Gladys’ work outfit.

Wow, I felt like a king. I would lie in bed, put the walkie talkie on saying “Gladys, Gladys some coffee please. Gladys can you make lunch please”.

At this rate, I never wanted to leave home. Soon I was on to the crutches and eventually back to normal.

I would like to concede half my reason for not hitting the truck straight on was because of P.M.A, but I also believe God lent His helping hand too. I believe He has a purpose for my life and my time on earth and had to intervene to make sure when I was getting smashed up against the 18 wheeler truck, and eventually coming off the bike it would be on the road and I would not have full on impact with the 18 wheeler truck.

“When you get lemons in life, add tequila and salt or for the non-drinkers turn it into lemonade”

Champions, it’s your attitude, not your aptitude that helps you mostly through life.

Can I assume that my challenge with near death and having a quick recovery has encouraged you to see the glass more as half full rather than half empty?

If so, well done, enjoy the start of your new journey to a life of better and improved quality.

As it goes in life, more will be experienced and these I will share with you in time. Watch this space.

P.M.A

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