Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at just 18 months old, and then later in life as a teenager suffering complications, it was no surprise that Josh knew something wasn’t right when he started experiencing strange symptoms.
Having a high pain tolerance, Josh knew his worsening symptoms of muscle and back pain weren’t anything to joke about and took himself straight to his local emergency department to be checked out. “I remember the symptoms coming on really suddenly”. During that visit, Josh went through a few scans and was given the all clear to return home.
A week later the same symptoms had only worsened. Presenting again at his local emergency department, this time prescribed muscle relaxants and pain killers Josh returned home again.
Alarm bells went off when Josh woke early the next Sunday morning and couldn’t feel or move his left leg. Soon after, his right leg also went limp and he was rushed to hospital. An MRI was taken, and Josh was diagnosed with epidural abscess. This diagnosis required immediate surgery.
Once stabilised Josh was transferred to the Prince of Wales Hospital’s Spinal Unit, one of only two in the state and this is where Josh spent the next 11 months of his life.
Josh vividly remembers that first day here. Back-to-back meetings with a multidisciplinary team of professionals who would oversee his rigorous, around-the-clock rehabilitation. “It was really overwhelming, coming to terms with how my life had changed so suddenly”.
During this time Josh’s life consisted of around the clock care and rehabilitation. With Josh not keen on being in the water – he went through a vigorous land-based rehabilitation program as well as, patient education sessions on dealing with things like pain management, and a wide variety of other life resources and support that would provide better outcomes on his recovery and return home.
“Mentally it’s not easy being away from home, and the people you love, for so long.” Thankfully Josh had people to lean on in the harder moments. He speaks very fondly of those around him who “became a second family during that time”.
Josh now home, has seen even more improvement and cannot wait to enjoy a BBQ with his friends. The Prince of Wales Hospital Spinal Outreach Program will visit Josh from time to time to check in on his progress.
Josh says, “I feel like I will end up walking again. I’m determined!” and will do everything he can to get back up on his feet and start enjoying all the things he loves.
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