A Travellerspoint blog

Back Update #4

GULP!!! [followed swiftly by a] YIKES!!

-17 °C

Tuesday 8 April
I thought they'd pencilled in me for surgery on Saturday 12 April but when I checked the ACC notes last night it was Thursday 10. As my ACC case manager was away for a week and I was still waiting for authorisation from them for the surgery to go ahead I thought it'd be prudent of me to give them a call.
-Yes, they said, it's all go, we'll send a letter out tonight.
When will that arrive? I asked.
-Thursday morning.
Do you realise surgery is Thursday? Can we do anything to roll this along?
-Ahh, well get your surgeon to contact us and we'll fax through the relevant documentation.



So it's all go. I go to see them tomorrow to fill out forms* and whatnot, then Ross is kindly driving me to Mercy Hospital on Mountain Rd, Epsom on Thursday morning for two nights, after which Sunny has offered to whisk me back to Devonport for some rest, relaxation and recouperation over three to six weeks whilst being looked after by Di & Paul. Paul has offered to also do the operation.

I rang the surgeon, who's done a few thousand of these operations, and asked heaps of questions, but I still wanted to delve a bit more... I had a look on the web at a discectomy and have to say that it scares me a little. I have total faith in the surgeon and obviously it's for the best, but still, who does fancy their back being cut open and someone prodding around the spine? Perhaps I shouldn't have looked.

Click the following for a

I'll be more than pleased to see you :o)

Love n hugs

*the surgery forms (as I'm posting this Wednesday) had on them "Right L5/S1 discectomy" instead of the correct "LEFT L5/S1". Good omen.

Posted by suggs69 23:47 Archived in New Zealand Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (0)

Back Update #3

Flight QF046 to Sydney has been cancelled


Conclusion: Central and left L5-S1 disc herniation
Recommended: under the knife
Medical Certificate: 42 days off work (includes time after the op)
Status: :o(

In layman's terms:
There's a bit of the disc that has separated and pressing against the nerves. It wont reattach and it's a simple op to remove. Usually in overnight, possibly two. Maybe three weeks after that I'll be good to go but still take it easy for several more.

Hopefully, they'll try to get it approved and me in by mid-April, or early May.

Not very good news so I'm a little but down and obviously this Friday's flight is going to be cancelled..
..trying to look to the good points:

  • Friends are here around me
  • Might be able to see a bit of the comedy festival
  • I will be better

love n hugs

ps: For those who've had back problems and were wondering:
Sagittal, coronal and axial T1 with sagittal and axial T2 weighted sequences.
There is a central and left L5-S1 disc herniation extending down into the left lateral angle of the spinal canal displacing and compressing the left S1 nerve root. There is mild annular bulging at L4-5 without significant dural sac distortion or nerve root displacement. The other discs are normal in appearance. The spinal canal is normal in width and the neural foramina are all widely patent.

Posted by suggs69 14:27 Archived in New Zealand Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (0)

Back Update #2

Back Man

-17 °C

The trip up went better than I thought for my back but I've found the last couple of days I'm sore and I'm tired out quickly if I walk up a gradient.. eg. Queen St

Last friday I went and had an MRI scan. Well freaky!

They asked me several times if I was claustrophobic but never realised how tight the squeeze is nor how long I'd be in there.

It was also very loud of grunts, beeps and hammers. I thought I was in a giant fax machine and I would appear out of another MRI scanner in Switzerland. Had to keep very still for 15 to 20 minutes and that's it.. see ya! The scans were couriered to me the next day. I had a look but I'm no expert...

..so I'll have to wait and see what the Orthopedic Back Specialist says tomorrow to see what my future holds re: travel.

Will update this entry tomorrow.
Same back time.
Same back channel..............

Love n hugs

Posted by suggs69 01:28 Archived in New Zealand Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (0)

Road Trippin'


sunny -17 °C
View QTN-AK & AKL-MAN on suggs69's travel map.

Annual work do. Fancy dress. Any theme. Brilliant.

And so it came to pass. My stint in Queenstown ended. Sad to leave. Could easily have stayed on with Linda & Frog who are a lovely couple to live and have a laugh with. After an overnighter in Glenorchy to help out and say goodbye to the Robbie, Coral et al at the hotel, I scraped ice off the windscreen, picked up Daniel from the airport, nipped back home to pack the car and we set off around 11.30, a little later than planned. How did I accumulate so much stuff in such a short time?

Driving via Cromwell instead of the Crown Range, due to the heavy load, we past Warbirds over Wanaka and headed past Lake Hawea and Wanaka which afforded us the first of many stunning views. We set off towards the west coast, winding our way through Haast Pass and The Gates of Haast was amazing. How they managed to get a road there is incredible. I dont remember it seven years ago when travelling on a Kiwi Ex coach, which probably meant I was one of many who were asleep during the day.
After a couple of driving breaks, we arrived at Franz Josef. Our intended destination was Hokitika but we'd had enough (certainly my back had) and it seemed more likely to get a hostel here than there. Daniel was also gagging for a beer or three but as it was Easter Sunday you cannot buy alcohol unless it's with a meal. We went to the Rainforest Retreat because it had Sky (for the F1) and a spa. Fortunately, it also had a bar and because we were guests that was a loophole in the Easter law.

The dorm we got was ace. Room 506. Right next to the sauna and spa and opposite the bar. As we were walking in I shouted to Dan
"if possible save me a bottom bunk for my back"
"help yourself.. choose any"

The dorm was empty. It's a good time of the year to travel. Admittedly, the weather was on our side so far but it was so easy to get into hostels last minute and getting more room to move is a bonus.. (although that can hardly be said of the Go Global hostel in Taupo!)

Beer, shower, change, beer, food, beer, F1, beer, vodka, bed.

As we'd stopped 140km short, this was going to be a longer drive so it was important to set off earlier. We popped to the glacier to get some snaps, as it was only fair that Dan did a bit of sightseeing, and eventually set off around 12.30.

After a lot of windy roads up to Hokitika we had a quick break and almost but decided against hiring a classic Maserati for $90 per half hour as my back would never had handled that suspension. It was probably a better option staying in Franz Josef as this place was dead so we set off north.

We drove up the west coast, passed Greymouth and right passed the Monteith's Brewery (well we were driving) and up to Westport. This section has some amazing places to stop at and take (albeit similar) photos over and over again. Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki were a lot better this time than seven years ago when it was torrential rain. They've organised the paths around quite well and apart from the curious nature of the layered rocks I also got to see three dolphins in the sea and two jumped out.

After Westport, we headed inland along the Buller Gorge and north-east towards Picton along some crazy incredibly long straight road, via a town called Woodbourne.
We were behind time so got there at dark so just drank and played cards at the basic hostel right next to the ferry terminal.

Another glorious morning and we headed onto the ferry and started the three hour crawl to Wellington. It was actually good to be heading in the right direction while I could lie down in the open. The only time I went in was to eat or.. well, the toilets in this thing were unbelievably small. I had to open the door to turn around!
Wellington was a total change for me. After being in the south island for only a few months, it was weird to drive along a four lane highway and see and stop at traffic lights. This actually hurt my leg as the clutch was used more here than the last couple of days in total. It was also funny to see how populated it was.. and I've not even got to Auckland yet. Or Manchester!!!!
We slowly made our way out of Wellington and up to stop at Bulls for a break. This is when I noticed how much the driving had affected me so got out for a lie down. For anyone visiting here or driving past, it's well worth popping in the Billi Tees shop.

Onward and upward, Dan drove us to Taupo. The scenery, apart from Ruapehu, was noticably less staggering. I didn't see this when driving down so I would say if you had to drive from one end of the country to the other, then start from the top and work your way down. We were supposed to be staying at my friend Lucy's but after a few beers, a curry and many games of pool (which I found was one sport I could now play without pain) we missed her being awake and had to stay at Go Global. Avoid if possible. Tiny tiny rooms. Bed very soft.

After swinging by Lucy's to say hello and drop off the bike, we trudged to Rotorua to drop off a lot of other stuff out of the car at Leanne's parents. I also got to see Bender and Fry again so stayed about an hour or two :o) The car was noticably nippier after unloading.

And then we got to Auckland to have one final drink in the Steamship.
Daniel got the ferry to Waiheke.
I stayed at Leanne's in Milford before she had to move out on Saturday.

A great journey overall. My back wasn't too affected at the end, thanks to Daniel doing the majority of the driving. Four days is a comfortable minimum to do the trip. The sights were wonderful and the weather was kind.

For more photos (but reduced as a lot were the same) see the facebook album:

MRI Scan - see next entry Back Update#2....

I am now at Diana, Isobella & Paul's place in Devonport. Fabulous. Almost full circle as seven years ago when I first arrived in NZ, I stayed at Di & Isobella's place in this town. Thank you to all the others who offered to let me to stay at theirs.

Love n hugs
x x x


Posted by suggs69 01:31 Archived in New Zealand Tagged transportation Comments (0)

Back to Auckland

Road Trippin'

After many phone calls, I'm heading back to Auckland. I can transfer my treatment and have my MRI scan booked up there so will be leaving Queenstown on Sunday 23 March.
Dan the Man is flying down to help me out - what a guy!

This journey should be long enough to give me some decent rest breaks. But in the event that I'm not travelling well, at least there are flights I can get back from the major centres. Hopefully there will be accommodation in these parts what with it being so close to Easter (wink wink, cough cough, ahem).. ;o)

    23rd QT - CH
    24th CH - WL
    25th WL - middle (Ohakune/Turangi/Taupo/Rotorua)
    26th middle-AK

It's also looking 95% certain that the start of the trip will be delayed or cancelled i.e. Sydney
If it means I have to stay around an extra week, I'll go straight to Cambodia.
If it means I have to stay around 2 or 3 weeks, it may mean flying direct to Vietnam.
Any longer will... well, I'll cross that bridge.

I'm feeling more mobile now. My left leg muscles have got more strength in them but there are still nerve issues. I'm going spare though... got nothing to do. Bored.
At least I can start packing now.

Bored of packing now though.

love n hugs

Where it all started

Posted by suggs69 05:05 Archived in New Zealand Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (0)

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