"The Rehabilitation Unit at PA Hospital"

About: Princess Alexandra Hospital / Cardiothoracic surgery Princess Alexandra Hospital / Colorectal surgery Princess Alexandra Hospital / Geriatric and Rehabilitation Unit (GARU) Queensland Ambulance Service

(as the patient),

Recently I was unfortunate enough to suffer a Type A aortic dissection and to make matters worse, I suffered a stroke from the lack of blood being pumped to the head. There was no pain and my wife was at home also. When I told her something was the matter, and after a BP check, she was on the phone to the ambulance with her readings. They were very high! I have no memory of what happened later. Apparently, I was whisked away after a short wait and taken to the Princess Alexandra Hospital. There, the doctors stabilized me and prepared me to have the aorta repaired. They knew then I had suffered a stroke. The family were told to pray for the best.

I ended up in ICU for a while and I was then taken to another ward. Recovery was not to be had as there was something in the lower region causing a problem. The doctors found out that I had a perforated bowel. So it was back to theatre where they mended the bowel and I ended up with a stoma bag.

I was then transferred to the GARU unit. This was the only ward place I can recall. I can’t remember much at all about the theatre recovery periods but I seemed to be asleep much of the time and had some weird hallucinations about a lot of things, mainly my family, places, and where I was.

After a few weeks of being in the GARU I started to get my bearings and recognise my wife and children who have lent me tremendous support.

Settling into the pattern of GARU was interesting. At first, I thought I was at a hospital on the north side of Brisbane. A couple of reasons led me to believe this to be so. I had a sibling have a week’s stay in Prince Charles Hospital, so I knew where that was located; and also because the choppers landed very close nearby at GARU, I figured there must be a link between the hospital and Brisbane Airport. Both the airport and the Prince Charles Hospital are north of the river.

The staff in the GARU were excellent. The nurses and doctors were fair, firm, and friendly in keeping with our military officers and NCOs. The meals were top standard with a good variety. On a whole, the ward and mess area was always kept clean and tidy.

I participated in three rehabilitation programs. They were speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy. On some days when you felt like curling up for a lie-down, they were a pain, but I think the boss there knew a bit about rehab so that was what it was. After all, we weren't there on a holiday. I take my hat off to the therapy staff. They knew their stuff. Excellent.


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