Hello my name is Dusty Reker; I am 54 ½ years old and have been travelling round the world working as a SCUBA diving instructor and working in my trade as a Fitter & Turner for about 25 years. I think I started travelling when I was around 29 years old. My travels came to an abrupt end five years ago when I was involved in a car accident in Malaysia in which I suffered severe traumatic brain injury. I have undergone several operations and quite intensive rehabilitation to get me back to the condition I am in nowadays. I have been out of hospital for roughly two and a half years in which time I have been living with a family in a town called Gosport in the county of Hampshire in the United Kingdom. I started writing this book around three and a half years ago when I was well enough to start using a computer again.
I had until my accident lead a very full and active life; I am also a second Dan in Karate which I taught for a few years as well as a SCUBA diving instructor. I have always been good at telling stories and have many to tell about my life as a SCUBA diving guide/instructor, my travels around the world, teaching Karate and repairing ships to name but a few subjects. Because of my brain injury I can not do a lot of activities I use to do. So I feel now would be a good time to ‘put pen to paper’ or my case ‘dictate into a microphone’ and bore you all as friends of mine would say. I would prefer enthral to bore with tales from my life so far.
This will be the only time that I write about myself as I. From now on I will be refered to by my name of Dusty . I was advised to write this way in the ‘third person’ by a proof reader some years ago.
My one thousand and eight hundred plus days of hell and other stories
Dusty started writing this book some three and a half yrears ago with the help of Glenside’s staff. Since then he has begun to use Dragon voice recognition software to help him type the book.
The reason Dusty has named this book 1800 plus days of hell is because of what his girlfriend, Nami used to call hundred days of hell. In which she would be awkward and cantankerous and make life as difficult as possible for Dusty to do simple things with her. Dusty has changed this to 1800 plus because this is what he has been through since his accident in which he damaged his brain. He underwent quite a few operations on his skull in Brunei where he was in a medically induced coma for five months, he was eventually flown home to the UK on the second attempt as the first one failed due to the medics on board the aircraft saying that he was too unwell to fly and that the flight would possibly kill him. Sadly this wasted quite a lot of money that had been saved for him by friends in Brunei and Malaysia. Luckily for Dusty the Sultan of Brunei heard of his plight. Arranged and paid for a second flight to be scheduled for Dusty ’s evacuation back to the UK. This time everything went fine and Dusty was flown back to Southampton on the 14th May 2012 where he was admitted to the Southampton neurological department. After some time there he was moved to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth and from there to a smaller hospital just outside of Salisbury called Glenside where he underwent quite intensive rehabilitation to get him functioning again. It is here where the story really begins . It is Just the small things make this part of his life hellish such as when he was in Glenside Hospital, Dusty was at the stage in his rehabilitation where he could get out of bed and go to the toilet on his own without any help from the staff. It was during the night and he needed the toilet so he got out of bed and went to the toilet. At this stage he was using a bottle to urinate into then pour it down the toilet. Dusty walked into the toilet but tripped over something as he made his way to the toilet. He fell over smashing his ribs and hips into his walking frame and started urinating over himself as he lay there unable to move he tried to get up but couldn’t move and wet himself where he was lying. Luckily the alarm buzzer was within reach which meant that hecould pull the alarm bell and staff could come and help him. The staff quickly arrived and saw the mess he had made of himself, luckily his toilet was in a wet room which meant they could strip his dirty clothes off him and shower him down, dry him off, put him back into warm dry clothes and put him back to bed. This really was a hell day as Dusty had hurt himself in the fall and embarrassed himself by urinating over himself.
Another part of the story is the headaches that Dusty gets often. He first noticed them in Glenside Hospital when he was in his own bungalow. Weekly they would tidy the bungalows up hoovering and brushing the floors in the bungalow. Dusty noticed that when he bent over to pick up rubbish from the floor that he would get a pain behind his right eye which would lead to a nasty headache. Eventually after a few weeks Dusty told the staff in the hospital about the pain he was getting when bending over. They contacted the local doctor in the nearby village. Dusty went to see him hoping for some answers to his problems but all the doctor said was that he was not a head specialist and made Dusty an appointment to go to Salisbury Hospital for a checkup and x-rays. This appointment was cancelled due to the hospital being busy and the day was changed for one later on. On his arrival at the hospital on the new day his sinuses were checked over and an x-ray of his skull were taken.
Dusty waited for the results to come through the nothing ever arrived and his pain in his head got worse and worse but nothing seemed to being done about it. About a year later he was living in what is known as “shared lives’ with a family in the community. The pain in his head had got so bad that he couldn’t do press ups, go to yoga classes, go to the gym or generally do anything that involved bending over slightly even getting out of a chair brought on the pain.
Dusty then waited for results to come and tried not to bend over which was difficult because if he did it wrong he would end up in pain, sneezing was bad as well as coughing all h u r t his head. He finally made an appointment with his local doctor in a Gosport medical Centre near to where he was living. He told them that he been in hospital a year ago and since moving to Gosport nothing had been done about his head. The doctor seemed quite concerned and made him an appointment with physiotherapist and a specialist who dealt in neurology. She also said that she thought it was something to do with his posture when he was sat down and gave him exercises to do and muscle relaxant tablets to take each day. On the day of writing this it is the first day on the tablets and things seem a little better so hopefully this will continue as the appointment with the neurologist specialist was not for a month or so. So the pain would continue for a few more weeks at least. It is now a week since Dusty first wrote about his head pain, this is about the worst thing in the 1000 days of hell so far. It is a serious matter that will not get many laughs which is a shame as this is meant to be a light hearted read. Dusty has been on the tablets for about a week now, and the pain seems to be easing a little bit he just hopes that when he sees the specialist more will be done and the pain will be gone for good. Dusty has just come to his room to write some more of his book and did some press ups first. This put him in awful pain he is now sat down and still only Wednesday. The 4 March 2015 was the worst day that Dusty had experienced the pain in his head. He was waiting for his dinner and decided to do some press ups. He did the press ups and they put him in pain as usual, but Dusty thought nothing of it because the pain generally went within half an hour or so. After doing his exercises he went downstairs and met the grandson Harry. 111Then Harry proceeded to play with Dusty and his toys. Harry is only four years old and very loud and so were his toys which didn’t help Dusty ’s headache to go away. Dusty and Harry carried on playing with the toys until dinner was ready. After dinner Dusty still had a headache and went for a shower and watched some television. He went to bed early because he was getting up early the next day to go to Headway which is the charity for people with brain injuries. When he went to bed he still had a headache and lay in bed in pain. He checked the clock and only an hour had gone by and he hadn’t been to sleep, just lying there in pain this went on most the night, Dusty getting five or 10 minutes sleep every hour or so. He was in a deep sleep when Deborah the lady whose house he was staying in came and woke him up in time to go to Headway it seemed Dusty he had just gone to sleep now it was time to get up. So he got up, his head was still aching the pain had not gone during the night. Dusty got up and had breakfast and got in the car and headed off toHeadway. Whilst he was there the pain got worse. There is one of the patients there who screams and shouts a lot this was really hurting Dusty ’s head and he had to go outside for some fresh air to get away from the shouting and screaming which was really hurting his head. It was now Friday, 5th March 2015. It is now 3rd May 2015 and seems like nothing is being done about the pain that Dusty gets in his head. He has been back to the doctors in Gosport and she asked him whether the neurologist contacted him on not as she had not contacted the doctor seeing Dusty . All in all it seems to Dusty like a lack of communication amongst different departments doing different things. Which is no good for Dusty as he still suffers badly from head aches. Guess he will just have to wait and see what they say. Today he is suffering from wax build in his ears and is half deaf. He went to see an out of hours doctor the previous night hoping that they could syringe his ears but all they said was that he should make an appointment to see the surgerie’s nurse who could do the syringing for him in a few days’ time. Everything seems to take so much time at Dusty just has to be patient and wait. Another thing that has happened in the last week is Dusty has been going to see special agents from the Head for Success team at the Gosport job center with a view of getting Dusty back to work. One idea is that Dusty could get onto an IT course at the local college called St Vincent’s and from there try and find work in the IT sector as this won’t involve any heavy lifting and climbing up and down ladders into engine rooms which she would do if he is working on ships again. The only trouble is Dusty has contacted the college but as this Monday is a bank holiday then the people who could help him are off for the weekend. A couple of weeks ago Dusty went to an exhibition for ROVS
’s and other marine craft. He got the contact details of people who could help him finding jobs to build them as one of the factories is local to where he is living but he still waiting for a reply from these companies. It seems to Dusty that everything takes a long time to achieve in England. He supposes that he just has just get used to it and keep on trying.
It is now the 24th October 2016 which is one year and five months ago that Dusty wrote this piece. Sadly the job searching came to nothing . Just a waste of time . Dusty has written a lot on thie aubject of ‘time wasters’. See different publications on this subject. Dusty has been trying to get his work published for about two years now without any success. He has joined various groups on Facebook which say they are there to help struggling writers like Dusty . But he has received no help and has actually been deleted and blocked from some groups when he has questioned why he is not getting any help. Dusty has also joined a Portsmouth writers ‘hub’ in the hope they might help him get pblished . But once again wuith no luck. He did meet a publisher at one of the ‘hub’ meetings at a trendy café in the Guildhall area of Portsmouth . Not the kind of place Dusty would notnormaly frequent especialy as a café latte cost £2.40 a cup, The meeting was fairly boring as it entailed just listening to a ‘speaker’ talking about how to obtain money from an arts council grant system as writing is regarded as an art form.That is quite hard to believe if you look at the rubbish that fills up the book shelves in a lot of shops.Which makes Dusty think if they can get published then surely he should be able to?
Going back in time when Dusty was recovering in hospital in Portsmouth the specialists he was seeing there told him at a meeting that he would never talk, walk or eat without aid again and that they were recommending he be sent to Glenside which was a special neurology hospital near Salisbury. Basically they washed their hands of him.
These are the specialists that Dusty is now seeing about his headaches so he doesn’t really hold out too much hope that they will come up with an answer to his problem.
When he got to Glenside he met Helen one of the physiotherapist there and told her what the hospital said she also looked in his notes and saw what they had said. According to Peter another physiotherapist this was like showing a red rag to a bull and Helen pushed Dusty extra hard on his road to recovery she had him walking, running, going up and down stairs unassisted and swimming within a few weeks. She also encouraged him to talk and eat. His eating started off slowly with purified meals but now he can eat virtually anything including roast potatoes, pasta bake, cheeseburgers and full roast dinner. The only trouble is he has started putting on weight again and has to go to the gym a few times a week and do press ups in his room which hurts his head. The physiotherapist at Glenside enjoyed making a game out of their sessions especially the hydro sessions in the pool. They would all be in the pool and have lots of soft balls to throw around for Dusty to catch. For instance the physio would say to Dusty so what colour is the ball that I am holding, Dusty would look at them and tell them the color of the ball once he had done that they would throw the ball to him. Most the time he wouldn’t see it to catch it and the ball would hit him in the face (this didn’t hurt as the balls were soft) it was good training for Dusty as he has what they call left side deficiency in his eyesight, which means he doesn’t see very well out of his left hand side. And it being light-hearted entertainment amused the physio’s as well, which made the session time seem to fly by and it was soon time to get out the pool and have a shower.
On the subject of showers, is that when Dusty was in hospital they liked him to shower every day, this was sometimes a bit of a chore as was to be lots going on most days. So Dusty made the most of his shower in the hydro sessions making that his shower of the day. Also when he returned to his bungalow he would put his wet clothes in the washing machine and any other washing he had to do at the same time, once the washing was finished he would hang it up indoors on his clothes horse so the underfloor heating which kept the bungalows nice and warm could dry his clothes off at the same time as keeping the bungalow warm. This was good because Dusty had to have clean clothes on every day and the clothes that were drying would be ready for the next day and Dusty wouldn’t get moaned at for not doing his chores which were meant to be part of his rehabilitation. One thing Dusty does a lot of is check his emails on Facebook. When he was in Langford Ward one of the staff there who shall be called Da for legal reasons just in case she does not her full name in print. Us]Ued to come into Dusty ’s room and check his emails for him. She would generally come after dinner and the clearing up and washing up had been done she would knock on Dusty ’s door and let herself in to his room. She generally did this very quickly.