Bill is a doer. Always out and about in Pelorus Sounds keeping active, it was a shock to the system when his lungs started filling up with fluid.
I couldn’t lie down flat, as I would start to choke. I found myself sleeping in a chair in the lounge so I could be upright.
Bill made his way over to Wairau Hospital where doctors conducted a CAT scan.
“About 30 seconds after laying me down and putting me through the scanner, I had to put my hand up because I was choking”.
Trying a second time, it was only 15 seconds before Bill had to put his hand up to stop the procedure. Worried, doctors immediately called Life Flight, and within 15 minutes, a crewperson in a Life Flight jacket arrived to take Bill to Nelson Hospital.
After a short flight over the Richmond Range, an ultrasound of Bill’s heart showed his condition was critical. The team needed to get the fluid out of his lungs, fast.
“They even asked me if I had made my Will. That was a bit of a pull-up”.
Over four days, the team drained a total of 11 kilograms of fluid from Bill, making him ready for yet another flight with Life Flight – this time to Wellington Hospital.
“The crewperson was lovely, she said, ‘you’re in good hands now, and you’re going to be in better hands when we get you to Wellington’”.
The morning after arriving in Wellington, Bill was in the surgical theatre to receive an aortic heart valve replacement.
“This was the second one I’ve had; the first one being a tissue valve which lasted me nine years, so this one was a carbon fibre valve”.
After four days in Wellington, Bill was flown back to Wairau Hospital for another couple of days where he has now made a great recovery and is getting back to being active.
“It was pretty scary for my wife Pam, who couldn’t see me due to the pandemic”.
Despite it being a nerve-racking time for Bill, he couldn’t commend the Life Flight team more.
You just couldn’t fault them. They just made me feel so good, and the communication was brilliant.
This was not the first time Bill has been affected by Life Flight’s service. A few years before his incident, his former wife, Lyn, suffered a brain aneurysm at their house, and a neighbour found her collapsed and called 111. Within 18 minutes the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was there, but sadly she passed away not long after.
Life Flight is an essential service to people like Bill, who live out in places that are not easily accessible.
“In Marlborough, everybody realises that the helicopter is our quickest option…please keep donating, because you may just need Life Flight”.
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