PLEASE NOTE DONATIONS ARE IN USD
This is my story. A story of love, hope, miracles and prayer. I am a Medical Practitioner who practiced in Cape Town, South Africa. On 17 October 2016, I was admitted to Panorama Mediclinic situated in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. I was diagnosed with a discitis/cauda equina syndrome, which in practical terms mean that something has compressed my spinal cord and this led to paraplegia as well as loss of bladder and bowel control. I am currently, 9 January 2017, still in rehab.
My professional career as a doctor started in 1985. Two years later, I started to work in a Rehabilitation Unit in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. This is where my love for this type of work started. Having had a father who was using a wheelchair, I was quite aware of the challenges facing a person with mobility impairment. For the next 15 years, Rehabilitation Medicine was my life. I probably managed more than a thousand patients presenting with stroke, spinal cord injuries, amputations, etc. To further my knowledge, I obtained a Diploma in Medical Rehabilitation in the UK at the Royal College of Physicians, underwent three years of advanced training in rehabilitation in Australia under the auspices of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine and obtained a Kessler International Fellowship from the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey, USA. I finally had to resign my job, having worked in rehabilitation for 17 years, due to stress and severe burnout. I did various jobs over the next few years.
The year prior to my admission to hospital, was very difficult. I became severely depressed, struggled to find enough suitable locum work, went through a divorce and had to pay out a substantial amount of my savings. I was unemployed by the time I went to hospital.
My stay in hospital was stormy. I was in ICU most of the time, underwent 2 operations to my spine, my elbows were drained twice as I developed olecranon bursitis in both. I developed septic shock twice. My physician throughout the stay, was Professor Vernon Louw, a brilliant dedicated man. On many occasions his colleagues would tell him: “You know this man is not going to make it”. He would then respond: “I will not stop fighting”. He trated ten organisms while I was in ICU. Most of these were highly resistant “bugs” (bacteria).
After nearly two months I was transferred to a ward. I can only remember a few bits and pieces of the preceding weeks. On 12 December 2016, I was transferred to the Life Vincent Pallotti Rehabilitation Unit. Although I was awake, I cannot remember the following 2 days at all, as I collapsed 3 days after this admission and was transferred to the Medical ICU of the same hospital, where I was critically ill with Klebsiella septicaemia, Staph Aureus septicaemia, status epilepticus for several hours and during this period I developed multiple pulmonary emboli. I survived against all odds. I was left with paraplegia, bladder and bowel incontinence and a destroyed right elbow. (The elbow was probably destroyed by the same organism that destroyed two of my disks), which can only be operated on after at least one year. An elbow replacement is the only hope.
In a twist of fate, I am ending my professional life in rehab, this time in a different role. I am still very weak, can do transfers with assistance, can stand for less than a minute and have limited function in my right hand/arm. I am still totally dependent on help for bladder and bowel care.
I am in a major financial dilemma. Not only are the medical costs piling up, I need to buy a wheelchair, alterations are needed at my house, I still owe a huge amount on my house. If I take the maximum amount from my retirement annuities, I will only get a very limited amount, that will not be enough to these excessive expenses.
My request is therefor for any amount that you are able to donate. Your money will be used wisely to help me literally and figuratively stand on my own two feet.