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My name is David Ham and I am a 58 years old Wool Grower and Sheep Farmer from Oberne Creek in Southern NSW. I sustained a spinal cord injury as a result of a cycling accident at C3/C4 two years and a half years ago. The accident occurred near Wagga Wagga and I was taken by ambulance to the Base Hospital there. Later that night I was flown by fixed wing ambulance plane to Sydney and was admitted to the Prince of Wales Hospital spinal care unit . I was paralyzed from the neck down and had decompression surgery the next day less than 24 hours after the accident occured. No bones broken but the disk between C3and C4 had shattered and fragments had crushed my spinal cord .
With the successful decompression my rehabilitation began with intensive physiotherapy and a very steep learning curve, something many reading this will be familiar with. Undoubtedly the biggest challenge I have ever had in my life but hey what a team at POW ! The surgeon ,the physician , the nurses ,physiotherapists ,the OT’s ,the dressers and the social workers , I will never forget them all , they were fantastic . I also want to thank my partner Sarah for her tireless and often tough love , extra physio homework and endless patience at a difficult time . My children have been fantastic , with regular visits , help on the farm and great communication. I also made friends with a whole lot of other patients that I would never have met in normal circumstances and you all inspired me , we had some great times and we laughed and we cried , there is a very strong bond created going through this experience .
Well I was very fortunate and I was able to learn to walk again and walked out of the hospital after 7 weeks , my hands are affected but they are pretty good. My bowels and my bladder are functional but not perfect either and I have significant nerve pain in my arms and legs but i’m learning to live with this and have dramatically reduced my medications for pain relief. My balance is also still pretty bad and prefer to use walking poles (recommended by spinal outreach physiotherapy) to assist with my stability although I can walk without them .
I have been back on my farm for a two years now after further rehab in Wagga Wagga and farming for me has never looked better . Job access has enabled me to purchase some new machinery enabling me to work with my disability for which I am also very grateful . My goal is to have suitable accommodation on my farm for people with spinal cord injury ( inspired by Sargood on Colaroy) so that you can come ,have enjoy a farm experience and visit me !