Hospital staff care for Helen 'like family' in her time of need

HELEN Peate has faced some major health challenges of late, coping with the amputation of her lower right leg and adjusting to a different lifestyle.

But it is the treatment from staff in the ambulatory care unit at Orange Health Service that has kept her going and inspired her to remain positive.

Ten years ago Mrs Peate had a serious accident on the family orchard.

“Then the doctors found I had osteomyelitis and unfortunately my leg deteriorated,” she said.

Her lower right leg was amputated in March, 2013.

Mrs Peate said the angst she felt over losing her mobility had been offset by the friendly smiles and expert care she had received.

“At the moment I am coming in here seven days a week for my treatment, for the bandaging and for antibiotic treatment,” she said.

Mrs Peate said she was familiar with the old hospital as a volunteer.

“This hospital has a completely different feel to it. It isn’t depressing with dark corridors and wards, and there isn’t that sense that you think you might die,” she said.

However, she talked about a close call  she experienced when her lungs collapsed during surgery in Sydney.

“The memory of how I looked and what I was wearing is still so strong with me today,” she said.

“I felt I was walking away from everyone through long grass and I could hear their (medical staff) voices fading. Then all of a sudden I was back. It is still a vivid memory for me.”

Beside her all the way has been her husband Bill.

“Bill and my son William and his wife Stacey have always been there for me too, they’re wonderful. But so are the hospital staff, they are just like my family,” she said.

Dr Tove Riphagen said Mrs Peate was a chatty patient who cheered the staff with her presence.

“Yes, she is a character,” she said.

Ambulatory care nurse unit manager Kim Hansen said the expanded unit was designed to provide a range of in-patient  services as well as in-home treatment for people recovering from surgery or requiring wound care.

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