Like so many of us in middle age I had always taken my health for granted. I had experienced my fair share of sporting accidents and self-inflicted injuries of one form or another, but nothing that was serious, was not fixable, or which did not go away quickly of its own accord. I was bullet-proof, thought that I would live forever, and somehow the challenges of business and a busy life always took priority over health.
Then one day in the Christmas break I experienced a minor injury that I thought would go away but it did not. Instead, the minor issue transformed itself into a major problem. I ended up in an ambulance on the way to hospital in Sydney with a ruptured artery and massive internal bleeding and came extraordinarily close to my losing my life. I do not remember everything about the incident but I do remember the impact that this had on my family when they prepared for the worst and above all I remember the unbelievable skill, determination and kindness of the Intensive Care staff at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney who fought to keep me alive. Without their tireless efforts and a few weeks in hospital in their care, I absolutely would not be here to write this.
For the hospital staff, despite their very special care and attention, I guess that I was just another patient passing through their capable hands in a busy schedule. For me and my family, however, the experience was literally life changing and they will never know the level of gratitude and admiration that I will retain as long as I live.
We are truly lucky in Australia to have facilities such as those at the Royal North Shore and I give thanks for the dedicated and wonderful professionals who staff them, working long, long hours, saving lives and impacting families such as mine each and every day.
I do not take these advantages for granted anymore and never will. Like all such facilities, Intensive Care Units cost a great deal of money to run and improve and I can only endorse the activities of the Intensive Care Foundation in the strongest possible terms and recommend that anyone reading this supports them if they can. As the old saying goes, today it is me but tomorrow it could be you…