Denis and his wife have lived on the Isle of Wight for almost ten years and are both enjoying retired life, dividing their time between the UK and New Zealand. On a cold and miserable day in November 2017, Denis was playing golf when he required the skills of our Critical Care Team and the speed of the Air Ambulance. Below he tells his story.
In the ten or so years we have been on the island, my wife and I have been very fortunate to meet lots of lovely friends and acquaintances through our work and hobbies. I made two great friends when I joined Newport Golf Club and we often enjoy a round of golf and the usual banter that comes with it.
The day of my accident was chilly and bleak, but luckily very dry. I’d decided to have my last game of golf for 2017, prior to my wife and I flying out to Australia for our granddaughter’s wedding in early December, and then on to New Zealand to escape the worst of the British winter.
We had finished the first two holes and I was only one behind- quite unusual! I started to walk up the steps towards the third tee when I missed my footing, and as I started to fall backwards, I noticed a golf trundler blocking my way. I had two options; attempt to jump over the trundler, or try and go around it. Never being a great high jumper, I chose to go around- the best of two bad options. My body flew up in the air and twisted around.
I came back down to the ground with an almighty thud. My initial reaction was to try and sit up, thinking perhaps I’d only pulled a muscle, but the pain in my upper left leg was excruciating! It was at this moment we all realised the severity of the situation, and one of my friends returned to the Club House to get help and to call for an ambulance.
He returned with bad news; there were no ambulances available on the island, nor did they think it advisable to move me inside. I was cold and in pain, with no idea of how long I could be waiting. Meanwhile my wife had arrived to offer her love and support, but by the time an hour had passed I was starting to shiver and the pain was becoming unbearable. Members of the club continued to contact 999, but with no luck. Ironically, I could hear busy sirens going in the background, but none were coming my way! It was then that we were informed that Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance were aware of the situation and would attend as soon as possible.
Some time had passed before I heard the sound of rotor blades cutting through the bitter air as the Air Ambulance prepared to land, just short of the third green of the course.
I felt immediate relief when the Critical Care Team arrived, like heroes in their red suits, and got to work cutting off my trousers. It was obvious then that I had badly injured my thigh and I was later told that it was a spiral fracture on my femur. The team did all they could to put my mind at ease as they went about packing me on to a stretcher, ready to take me to St Mary’s Hospital.
Some time later, my wife told me that they had administered ketamine for pain relief, which explains why my memory from here is so skewed.
The level of skill and compassion I received that day was incredible and although I was devastated to have missed my granddaughter’s wedding, my recovery has been smooth and I owe this completely to the HIOWAA Critical Care Team.