Mick, a Sydney local, a mechanical engineer and an undeniably vibrant human being sits before me with an incredible story to share.
He tells the tale of his harrowing account of rapid decline in health over Christmas 2018. Mick and his wife and two young children were blissfully preparing for a five-week drive holiday through the Victorian high country. Avid fans of camping and a love for travel and adventure, their family was meticulously finalising the necessary preparations in the lead up to Christmas. Mick has always been a keen cyclist, however had been recently seen by a physio for complaints of a right gluteal pain, and he was recommended not to cycle on this upcoming holiday.
Mick recalls feeling symptoms resembling the flu on Christmas Day. He accredited it to being busy with not only their holiday planning, but also the rigorous cooking and family commitments that inevitably occurs around Christmas time. Mick subsequently had a deep muscle pain in the middle of the night that was so intense he knew he needed to be seen by a doctor without delay.
The next few weeks, even months, of Mick’s life were filled with unmitigated disarray, starting with a diagnosis of a streptococcal infection, leading to sepsis. Soon after, blood flow to Mick’s extremities ceased and ultimately led to a total of six amputations after multiple infections. Mick suffered severe breakdown of his skin, naturally your body’s most expansive and protective organ. Mick spent a total of 8 months in and out of hospital.
Mick says of his experience, “I just took it day by day. I think I’m really lucky. What I saw and experienced in rehab was life-altering, I found the harder I worked, the more I could do.”
An average week for Mick entails visits with physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, and occupational therapists, and occasional trips to the hospital, while also learning new skills with his prosthetics, manoeuvring in his new wheelchair and finally and most importantly being a genuinely remarkable father, brother, son and husband.
Our Complex Rehab team is entranced by Mick, in awe of his positive attitude and abilities and has been fortunate enough to join him on this incredible journey. We’ve scripted Mick with a Permobil F5 power wheelchair, this chair due to its advanced suspension with oil filled shock absorbers offers a smooth ride which is essential in maintaining his skin integrity. Additional features of the M5 like the power seat functions of seat tilt and recline allow Mick to control his posture and pressure relieve whilst the power seat raise means he can interact with others at eye level and assists with transfers which is important in everyday interactions with his family and busy life. Mick also noted the lights and indicators that we fitted in the chair have come in handy for evening strolls with the family.
Mick tells his remarkable story seemingly with ease, with each challenge, he pinpoints a sliver lining and it’s no wonder he has achieved so much since that Christmas Day two years ago. We look forward to sharing more of Mick’s story with you soon.