WHILE he prepared for sorghum harvest on his property 75 kilometres northwest of Inverell on the morning of March 1 last year, Dugald Storie had a nasty accident with a grain bin.
It was about 7.30am when the accident left Dugald with a bruised brain from a shattered rectangular three centimetre by seven centimetre hole in his skull above his left temple and a cracked brow, right through side to side.
The impact cracked the floor of his skull and shattered up the right side of his skull to about eight centimetres.
Dugald was rushed by ambulance to Inverell Hospital and then airlifted by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter to the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle.
He arrived there at 1.45pm and underwent emergency surgery, which left him in the Intensive Care Unit for four days. For the first two days the neurologist wasn’t sure if he would survive. He was in a very precarious situation.
He lived but upon arrival at John Hunter Hospital he had a section of his skull removed and three weeks later had an acrylic plate inserted. Dugald spent three weeks in the Neurology Ward and then was transferred to the Rankin Park Centre (John Hunter Hospital) where he went into rehabilitation for 35 days prior to being discharged for further rehabilitation, to the Brain Injury Unit at Tamworth. Dugald’s injuries left him with post traumatic amnesia for 28 days, a few days of delirium and a rupture of his left frontal sinus.
“Fortunately on day three, my wife Anna was told that I would make a full recovery, I was still unconscious.
Thank you to my beautiful Anna, and our children Emma, Angus and George for being tough as nails through this lowly ordeal,” Dugald said.
“Thank you also to my siblings John, Belinda and Liz and my mum Beatrice, who immediately rushed to Newcastle to take turns in being with me around the clock for the first two weeks.
“My parents-in-law, Margot and Allan Warby, were amazing at holding everything together back in Inverell with the children and property – thank you.
“The best thing now is that I have indeed made a full recovery.
“There have been many confronting issues along the path to recovery though.
“Thank you to the wonderful souls in the Brain Injury Unit at Tamworth, with their compassionate and meaningful support. They all treated me like I was a friend, and friends today we still are. I believe strongly that their assistance brought the best out in me to work really hard to get well again.”
When Dugald saw his neurologist for a check-up in November 2011, he said his recovery was remarkable.
“He said that he could not believe that I was talking to him like anyone normally would,” Dugald said.
“He then said those magical words ‘Well I don’t need to see you again Dugald’.”
“I couldn’t have come this far without rehab which was mainly speech therapy in Tamworth and speech therapy and occupational therapy in the Rankin Park Centre.”