Happy New Year
Blenheim man Jarrod Moore didn't have the best start to the year. "That might be the last time I walked," he posted on his Facebook page on New Year's Day.
The previous night, the 24-year-old was flown from Robin Hood Bay to Blenheim's Wairau Hospital with suspected critical spinal injuries. He had been at the popular camping spot with friends to see in the New Year.
Although his friends had been drinking, Mr Moore hadn't. It was to be a sober New Year's Eve for him after giving up alcohol about a month before.
Just before 11pm, he rode his petrol-powered mountainbike up a hill to get reception so he could make a phone call. As he was coming down the hill, he spotted what he thought were the lights of his campsite and sped across the grass. But he got the wrong campsite and drove his bike straight into a ditch about 1.2 metres deep. He landed on his head and heard a sickening crack as it hit the ground, he said.
He wasn't wearing a helmet.
"The right side of my body went numb. I tried to move but couldn't. I thought I'd snapped my neck."
The Nelson Marlborough rescue helicopter arrived at the bay about 11.45pm. Mr Moore was assessed by an onboard intensive care paramedic and flown to Wairau Hospital with suspected critical spinal injuries.
The next day he was taken to the Burwood Hospital spinal unit in Christchurch. He still couldn't feel the right side of his body.
"Everyone was thinking the worst . . . I thought I'd be paralysed and wouldn't walk again."
Doctors initially thought he had fractured his spine but an MRI scan revealed hemorrhaging between the discs in his back. "They thought I wouldn't be walking for a month."
On Friday the swelling had gone down and he regained some feeling in the right side of his body. By Saturday, he had managed a few steps using crutches. He is now expected to make a full recovery. He was transferred back to Wairau Hospital and discharged on Sunday and "over the moon" to be home.
He is grateful to the helicopter crew and St John ambulance as well as his friends. The bike was not damaged but Mr Moore said he wasn't in a hurry to get back on it: "I'm just grateful to be walking again. I definitely appreciate life a lot more."
- The Marlborough Express