How the RFDS saved my life

*The following post discusses suicide, please ensure that you are in a safe place before reading.  If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts please seek help.  You are worth it*  *The following post is bought to you by The Royal Flying Doctor Service’s new Kids Club.  I did not receive payment for this post*

When I talked about the realities of mental health treatment when living in a rural area, one of the things that I failed to mention was how that treatment is received when it is an emergency.  The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has been providing emergency medical treatment to rural and remote Australian’s since May 1928.  This treatment involves flying patients to nearby cities who are better equipped to deal with the patient’s health issues.

I had been a patient with the RFDS a few times as a psychiatric emergency.  For those times I was mostly awake (a history of mental illness means that I was given a valium before the flight) and taken from the airport straight to the psychiatric inpatient unit.  Medical emergencies also took precedence as while my local hospital couldn’t provide long term psychiatric care, they could provide acute care.

However in February 2007 I needed their services medically.  Without their services it is possible that I could have died.  After months of suicidal thoughts, I took an overdose.  The scary thing about that night is that I didn’t start out with the mission to take an overdose.

I was under strict supervision by my case manager, who was calling daily, the local hospital who was dispensing my medication daily and the mental health acute care team (who was 7 hours away).  I had gotten off the phone with my case manager, who had spent time outside her working hours to speak with me.  She set me the task of writing an essay about BPD, telling me that we would get through today and see how tomorrow was.

She didn’t blow smoke up my arse about ‘your life with get better blah blah blah’ because she knew it was hard enough for me to see past the end of each day.  That’s one of the things I liked about her.  I was searching through boxes in my unit, looking for pens and a notebook when I discovered boxes of medication that I forgot I had.

From that moment on I had tunnel vision.  Everything else paled in comparison to that medication and what it meant.  I had forgotten about the phone call I was supposed to make to check in with the Acute Care Team.  I don’t think what I really wanted was to die, I just wanted the emptiness to go away, to kill that which I felt was weak.

The next few hours were a blur.  I remember trying to convince the Acute Care Team that I was OK despite my slurring words.  I remember the police turning up, trying convince them that I was fine I was just a bit tired.  I remember being taken to the local hospital, a small 2 doctor hospital.  I remember speaking to the Dr on duty, telling him that I was fine, I just wanted to go home.  I remember walking out the door when no one would believe me and being dragged back by the police.  That’s the last thing I remembered until I woke up in ICU in a hospital 7 hours from home.

I had been in a coma for a couple of days.  I was flown to Rockhampton when my condition wasn’t improving.  Without the services of the RFDS it would have been a long drive in the back of an ambulance.  For many people this trip would simply be too long to survive.  Without the RFDS those in rural and remote areas would be left without critical medical care.

To help spread the word about the RFDS and the amazing things they do, the Victorian Branch has created the Flying Doctor Kids Club.  This club is aimed at kids aged 5-12 and each member will receive a birthday message each year, a Christmas card, (both from RFDS mascot Flynn the Flyer) and a regular newsletter featuring fun facts, brain teasers and stories about kids in rural and remote Australia.RFDS_Kids Club_Logo master

Sign up your kids by 24th of March 2016 and go into the draw to win an Ipad and Pilot Pack.

Linking up with Jess for IBOT!


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