BY JASON MURPHY, SDA MEMBER
21 November 2017 was a hot summer’s day. I was at the local lake (Lake Narracan) with friends trying to keep cool. I’ve been going to this area for years and was well accustomed to the lake.
I was doing ‘bombs’ off the jetty but slipped — and that’s when things went very wrong.
I was flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital by helicopter where, after investigation of my injury, I was informed that I had injured my neck and that my c6 and c7 vertebrae were resting on my spinal cord.
I underwent surgery at the Austin Hospital to try to repair and relieve the pressure, but unfortunately the damage was done.
My long road to recovery began when I was transferred to the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre in Kew.
After a few months of therapy, I was diagnosed with tetraplegia, which simply means that I have some form of paralysis in all four limbs,
I’ve worked very hard with the support of my family and close friends, undergoing physiotherapy and working to improve my upper body strength.
Six months after my accident, I arrived home at last. I was home for six weeks, then back to the Austin Hospital for a nerve on tendons transfer operation. Thankfully, this was successful and has given me more movement in my left hand.
I returned home a week later where I have done more intense rehabilitation for my hand.
I am now adapting to my life in a wheelchair.
My SDA Union Delegate Julie Holland, with the help of her Organiser Sue Cooke, had applied for the Union’s free accident insurance for me on my behalf, as only being a casual employee they wanted to ensure that I wouldn’t miss out.
The insurance payment meant that I was able to purchase a suitable vehicle for myself and my parents to get to appointments and go on weekend outings.
I am still the same person I was before the accident — I still love playing Xbox, and spending time with friends.
I am looking forward to the future and I hope to fulfill all my goals in life and to live independently, get my driving licence and strive towards a career.
I am thankful that my Union could help me along the way.