Confident, towering in stature and graceful when he speaks, it’s hard to believe the recent health tribulations 78 year old Ron Wiberg has encountered, now sitting contentedly in his Forest Lake apartment.
“I’m a self-confessed fan of the DHB” says Ron, and here’s the reason why.
Over recent years, Ron has had two heart attacks; the second recurrence in 2014 had him referred to the Waikato DHB because of two infections he had in both his little toes. One toe was untreatable which lead to the amputation of his left leg in August 2015.
Come late spring, he felt confident enough in his recovery to arrange to spend Christmas at Waihi Beach with his daughter.
“We had a nice, restful family Christmas, a pleasant Boxing Day and I was doing really well; then suddenly the wheels fell off – like big time – the next day.
“I spent the whole day vomiting and lost all my balance, I couldn’t stand up or sit straight. Thankfully my very practical and non-flappable daughter was with me and suggested if I was no better the next day we would call for an ambulance.”
Ron didn’t improve and on 28 December 2015 and was rushed to Tauranga Hospital.
He was diagnosed with an infection in his blood that required Ron to have an extended course of antibiotic Intravenous Therapy (IV).
After two weeks in Tauranga Hospital Ron was transferred to Waikato Hospital and referred to the Infectious Diseases team. After another two weeks, the team agreed that Ron was well enough to go home, but was to continue on his IV antibiotic treatment to make sure the infection was completely gone. Thanks to the DHB’s Outpatient Intravenous Antibiotic (OPIVA) service, Ron could receive his daily antibiotic treatment administered by the district nurses at home, instead of remaining in hospital.
Infection Diseases clinical nurse specialist who oversees the OPIVA service says “We established OPIVA for the growing number of people like Mr Wiberg who need long term intravenous antibiotic treatment.”
The OPIVA service is a multidisciplinary approach to patient management across primary and secondary care health sectors, for patients who require intravenous antibiotic therapy for an extended period of time, and is available to all patients who reside within the DHB.
Ron received home care with a district nurse visiting on a daily basis to administer the IV antibiotic treatment and monitor Ron’s progress.
“With the DHB’s authority and my own determination I easily went along with the service and found myself lucky to have a range of people looking after my wellbeing that I had total confidence in,” says Ron.
Although neither he nor the medical staff can pinpoint how he got the infection in the first place, Ron says “It’s comforting to know, after going through this, that there are professionals on hand that have a good understanding of the best ongoing treatment for these unexpected illnesses.
“I’m one of the lucky ones and without this service would’ve spent another six weeks in hospital, if there was a bed available.
“The home service has also made me savvier; not only in the way of taking the right medication but also with food as I’m a diabetic.
“I think it’s got me back to being more self-sufficient faster, and in a healthier way.”