HOSPITALNEWS Nowra Private’s Luke wheely is an inspiration! 6 The Ramsay Way - 2015 | 02 THREE YEARS AGO THIS MONTH, KIM STOJANOVIC RECEIVED THE PULSE-QUICKENING PHONE CALL THAT EVERY MOTHER DREADS. Her son Luke, 22, an up and coming Motocross rider, had sustained a catastrophic brain injury, after catapulting 4m from his saddle during a routine training exercise. Following a harrowing two-hour drive to Canberra Hospital, Kim and her husband Ron were told Luke had a 20 per cent chance of surviving the night following a severe, diffuse, axonal brain injury. If their son did survive, there was only a 4 per cent chance of “minimal recovery”, with Luke most likely to be in a severe vegetative state. “I remember a wave of heat creeping over my body from the top of my head to the tips of my toes,” says Kim. “We went in to our son’s room knowing it may be the last time we saw him. We hoped. We prayed. We told him we loved him and that he was strong enough to survive this. “Somehow he must have heard us because he did survive the night. After that I told myself we were in for a long journey, but in my heart I just felt he would live.” From that point on, the pace of recuperation was glacial, with Luke drifting in and out of a post traumatic amnesia for 69 days. Kim kept a bedside vigil for many months - first in Canberra Hospital, then at Liverpool Hospital’s Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit and finally in Nowra Private for 1 month and is still a regular outpatient today. “Luke’s motto is that if you give in you give up. And the Nowra Private team was behind him all the way,” said Kim. “Luke loves the hydrotherapy pool, and the speech therapist Wendy Kettlewell gave him the gift of communication by teaching him (and me) to sign. The multi-disciplinary team at the hospital has been instrumental in helping Luke to walk (with assistance) again too. “Luke, still has no use of his left arm, but he can text on an IPad with his right and recently had surgery to his vocal folds to help him speak.” Luke’s extraordinary journey last month culminated in his 180km charity cycle on a recumbent bike - from Nowra Private to Liverpool Hospital’s Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit. Despite torrential weather at times and epic muscle aches, the stoic cyclist proved that even when his cycling legs were ready to give out – his head wouldn’t. “Luke was basically sending the message to other brain injury victims to never give up,” says Kim. “He might not be the fastest, or the strongest. But he’s darned well the one who tried the hardest.” There are no short cuts to any place worth going…Luke in the Nowra Private Hydrotherapy pool with physiotherapist Meredith Primrose. BELOW: Luke Stojanovic with nurses, staff & supporters at Nowra Private Hospital where he set off on his inspirational Never Give Up ride to Liverpool Hospital to raise $76,000 for life saving equipment for Liverpool Hospital’s Brain Rehabilitation Unit. RIGHT: Luke in ICU at Liverpool Hospital. LEFT: Luke before the accident.
The Ramsay Way - Winter 2015
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