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Constant pain for 'bloody legend’

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 14:55 05/06/2014
 Bruce McCulloch
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ

ON THE MEND: Life still isn’t back to normal for Nawton man Bruce McCulloch, who was assaulted trying to stop a potential drink driver last year.

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Almost a year after being attacked when he tried to stop a drink driver, Nawton man Bruce McCulloch still suffers from tingling fingers and almost constant nerve pain.

Even so, he doesn't complain.

''It slows me down. That's about it,'' he said.

''Apart from that it's learning to live with it... I'm pretty laid back and easy going.''

Last July, McCulloch tried to stop a young man driving drunk after a party Breckons Ave, Nawton.

Talking got no response so he backed his truck across the driveway to stop the man gettting out - actions many suggested made him a ''bloody legend'' for stopping drink driving.

But McCulloch was attacked as he was walking away and spent nine days in hospital.

He then thought he was okay and went back to work - ''I'm pretty stubborn like that'' - but had to return to hospital for surgery on three of his vertebrae.

And there may be a second operation on the cards.

Earlier this year he faced another hurdle when holiday pay he had received as part of a redundancy package meant he couldn't get ACC payments for nine weeks on a gradual back to work programme.

Despite it all McCulloch's not bitter, and wouldn't hesitate to block in another potential drink driver - although he hasn't had cause to since last July.'

''If you can save one life you can save one family,'' he said. ''The last thing I'd like to hear [is] my boy's been in a drink driving accident.''

As he recovers from his injuries, the self-described worker is keeping himself busy and has no time for self-pity.

''I just make sure I get up early, instead of staying in bed all day. Just get up and go and do something. Keep yourself motivated,'' he said.

For the last couple of weeks he's been helping mates and doing odd jobs instead of going to the ACC return to work programme, because his payments are suspended until the specialist's letter for his latest medical certificate comes through, he said.

Once it does he could get back-paid, but he was tired of working for free.

It would have been tough financially too, if he didn't have savings and hadn't sunk most of his redundancy payment into the mortgage.

He still sees his GP fortnightly, has frequent dealings with his ACC case manager, and he's waiting for a specialist report which will tell him if he needs another operation or if he'll be shifted from ACC to Work and Income.

Word so far is that his injuries are mostly healed but he still needs to work on strength and movement.But he has almost constant tingling fingers and nerve pain in his arms and hands.

''There's still something there causing the problem and he's [the specialist] noticed it,'' McCulloch said.

''I've got quite a high pain threshold so I can pretty much ignore most of it.''

Another operation would take him back to square one strength-wise, he said, so he's hoping it isn't needed.

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''If I get back to 80 per cent I'll be quite happy,'' he said. ''I'll go do a laid-back job in a shop or something. No more night shift.''

In the meantime he's been able to indulge in some of his hobbies, such as fishing.

''I've just got to take other people to do all the hard work for me,'' he said.

''Still try to land the big one but they always get away. When I can land one then I know I'm getting better.''

If he doesn't need a second operation, he plans to take his VL Commodore down to Taupo in November for the Powercruise - a weekend of track driving, drifts and skids.

It would be partly be a tribute to his late friend ''Dirty Keith'' McQuade, who died in April and was a part-sponsor of McCulloch's beloved Commodore.

- Waikato Times

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