June 2014

Autumn greetings from the ARCH desk!

Today’s newsletter is about our patients. What better way to recount the work we’ve been up to, than by letting two of the many people we help tell you in their own words what surgery through ARCH has meant for them.

‘I was diagnosed with femoracetabular impingement in my right hip in 2011 following a nasty injury to my knee. For nearly 2 years I suffered from intense pain and restricted movement causing me to rely heavily on pain medication. As I was unable to exercise or even walk a short distance, I put on a bit of weight and felt incredibly depressed about my situation. I was unable to obtain ACC cover for this hip surgery and it is currently unavailable in the public health sector. Hence I had a fairly bleak outlook.

I am a full-time caregiver for my 13-year-old son who has muscular dystrophy and is confined permanently to a power wheelchair. It has been difficult to care for him fully and thus this has impacted on my entire family. To make matters worse, my knee injury was unable to be fully corrected by physiotherapy due to the pain and restriction in my hip.

Since the surgery (through ARCH) I have regained nearly full motion in my hip … I am back to being “Super Mum” again and feeling great about life. Thank you ARCH from the bottom of mine and my family’s hearts! I will never forget the life-changing generosity and kindness you have extended.’

‘My GP confirmed I had an inguinal hernia and referred me to Waitemata DHB for treatment, presumably surgery. They were unable to accept me and I presumed I was low priority because at 81 years of age, I was past my use by date.

The pain of the hernia was intense at times, severely limiting what I could do. I am my wife’s main caregiver as she is unable to walk because of spinal stenosis and uses a walking frame. Her condition also causes incontinence and she has a permanent catheter. I have to be able to care for her so the hernia made things extra difficult for us. (Even) our weekly grocery shopping was an unhappy experience.

Since … the operation (through ARCH) I’ve made it through the rehabilitation period and my life is back to “normal”. I can do all the necessary tasks being my wife’s caregiver requires … I’m a young, fairly fit 82-year-old now and can look forward to a few more years of active life and being able to look after my wife properly. I am very grateful to all the people involved in helping be back to this state of health. They helped not just me but also my wife and we both give thanks for that.’

The stories speak for themselves.

We at ARCH will endeavour to continue our work while people such as these still exist in our community, needing our assistance. The referrals we receive suggest the need remains real, as it does in other parts of the country, judging by recent media coverage:

Warm regards from all of us at ARCH

Dr Fiona Sussman
Director, ARCH