A Happy Traveller Thanks to Emergency

September 9, 2016| Our Community /

My wife Judi and I departed on a driving holiday from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland on the 5th of July. Our plan was to travel to Victoria and drive from Melbourne to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road. 

We were looking forward to this trip as it was the first holiday we’ve had in a while.  A couple of years back I lost my job and it took me a while to find a new one, so this  was our first holiday since starting my new job 15 months ago.
We drove down south and spent some time in Sydney, then headed toward Melbourne, it was during this stage of our journey that my knee became sore and increasingly more painful to bend. This was compounded by sitting and driving for long periods of time and it got to the stage where I couldn’t get in or out of the car without suffering excruciating pain.


Despite the pain, we made it to Melbourne, and spent three nights there. We went to a chemist and bought some pain killers and a knee brace and that seemed to help. So, having rested for three days, we decided to continue our trip. Not far out of Melbourne we stopped for petrol and I decided that the pain of getting in and out of the car was too much, so Judi took over the driving. This was a Saturday and we didn’t know if doctor surgeries were open on Saturdays in Victoria. But I had to see someone for the pain – it was that bad.

We continued driving and saw a sign that said ‘Epworth Hospital’. Being out-of-towners we didn’t know anything about this hospital, but my thought was that even if they weren’t able to help, they would at least be able to direct me to someone who could.

Stopping at Epworth Hospital was such a good thing to do. We arrived at the Emergency Department and were seen straight away. The lady in reception was lovely and I received great treatment by the nurses and doctors.

Dr Matt drained fluid from the knee and that was a huge and immediate relief. He also provided painkillers, so I started feeling better pretty much straight away.  Until then, the pain was so bad that it was hard to think, so getting help was an enormous relief.

Dr Matt had the fluid tested – he wanted to see if there were crystals in the fluid, which would have indicated gout (a painful condition) and he also ordered X-rays of the knee.  We stayed a long time, as we waited for results. However, it was good that they had people in Melbourne who work on weekends and could assess the tests immediately and provide the results.

I was amazed with the hospital. It had all the bells and whistles, including a smart TV with internet connection (Point of Care Device) at each bedside in the ER. We didn’t have a place to stay in Geelong, so were a bit worried about what to do. But Dr Matt suggested we could use the smart screen to connect to the internet and find a place locally. Judi did this while I was having the tests. We found a nice place to stay and were there for four days, enabling me to rest my leg.

On the fourth day I tested my leg with a short drive, just locally to Queenscliff. My leg was improving all the time, the medical staff had done such a good job that I could drive comfortably.

The X-rays showed some arthritis, but Dr Simon said it was not serious enough to cause the pain. He recommended I get an MRI when I got home to investigate further. I haven’t done that yet, but I will. I’ve had similar events twice before, but not as severe and they only lasted about 36 hours.

We never made it to the Great Ocean Rd or to Adelaide. We decided to make our way back home slowly, so the knee wouldn’t flair up again.  It was nice. We drove through Ballarat and Echuca and went on a paddle boat. It was great.

Before we left Geelong at one point I thought we might have to fly home and put the car on a train, however this was not necessary thanks to the treatment I received.

It was the best medical service we’ve ever seen. We have been in and out of hospitals quite a bit, with members of the family who have been unwell, but Epworth really impressed us. The fact that we didn’t have to wait was incredible. We were taken straight in into a real room and Dr Matt was there a few minutes later.

After we left the hospital we went to a chemist to have my prescription filled and the chemist said Epworth has a great reputation. We didn’t know, but we are happy we found it.

— Russell Robinson

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