Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Punta Arenas

Thank you to those people who comment on my blog. For some reason I can no longer see my followers (all 9 of them) so unless a comment is left I don't know your there.
Saturday the 2nd myself, Christopher, Shaun and Tanya flew to Punta Arenas for a week. Although it was a break that wasn't the intention of the trip. Those of you following my blog will know that when Shaun was 17 he had a dreadful vehicle accident and broke his back. He was extremely fortunate and did not damage his spinal cord. He initially spent a week in hospital and then after concerns were expressed by ourselves that something wasn't right the xrays were e-mailed to a specialist in the UK who immediately sent back saying that the vertabra was extensively damaged. It was not just crushed but had a break down through it and that he should be admitted to hospital immediately for 4 to 6 weeks of total bed rest because his back was in such a precarious position. At the end of the 6 weeks we took the decision that we would pay ourselves and take Shaun to Punta Arenas to see a specialist. Fortunately the hospital decided that they would cover the costs and he duly went to Punta Arenas where he had his back scanned. The specilist said at the time that it was absolutely incredible that he was not paralized and that his back should have been pinned immediately after the accident. He remained there for a month and under went intensive physio therapy because his back was that stiff he could not even touch his knees. He then had to return at the age of 18, this he did and we covered the costs. At this point he was told he could start working again but that he should do no heavy work. He also had to return at the age of 19 and again he had another scan and was given the go ahead to start shearing again and to continue life normally but not to take part in extreme sports. This visit he paid for himself. Last week was his final check up. He paid out a hefty £800 to have his final scans, a lumbar and a dorsal, plus flights and hotel costs on top to finally be told, your back is now as good as any 21 year olds who has never had a broken back and you can do what ever you want. The specialist told him two years ago your back will be better long before your mind will accept it, this is very true because two days before his appointment we found out that Punta Arneas had opened an ice rink and Christopher and I went and had a go but Shaun said he wasnt going to because he was worried he would fall heavily. His vertabrae is now wedge shaped and he was worried the impact might make it move.
We found Punta Arenas very expensive this time. The exchange rate was very poor for us. The first time we visited it was 1,200 chilean pesos to the pound, this time it ranged between 740 - 760 to the pound.
While we were there we did a day trip to Forte Bulness. I don't recall all the history around it but it is a fascinating place.
All in all it was a good week, with good news. Christopher also visited a specialist because he has constant lower back pain. Although we had taken money to cover the cost of a scan it was not needed. Xrays showed some wear and tear and a little bit of bubbling due to a lack of calcium. He had 6 physio sessions and was told if he continued to do the physio properly his back pain would completely go. He was also told no heavy lifting though and with 5,000 sheep to be shorn between himself and Shaun I think the back pain is going to continue for a while yet.


  1. I read your blog... keep it up. It's fascinating to get your perspective on life in the FI.

  2. The photos are very interesting. The fort looks like a pioneer North American one. I love log construction. My son and I built a log cabin by the river for him to use as a camp.(Did you see the slide show on the sidebar of my blog) I would love to build a squared timber house. So far I have gotten a book on it. I don't think it will be anything other than a dream.

    I take it ice skating isn't possible in the Falklands. It is a lot harder than it looks. I do not ice skate. I am one of the few Canadians who cannot skate. Our small hamlet has an outdoor rink which has ice from Christmas to Mid-March. Unfortunately there are fewer kids to use it than when my son was young. Most communities a little larger than ours has an indoor rink and many also have a curling rink. If you have a long winter you have to find ways to enjoy it or you will be very unhappy. My son always floods a rink in his back yard for his three children as I did for him when he was young.

    I sympathize with your son. I suffer from a chronic lower back condition that can be painful if I reinjure it with lifting badly. I have one leg shorter than the other which causes a stess fracture in my spine. I have managed to live a life doing a lot of hard heavy work in spite of it. But at the first sign of pain I have to rest it. Your son needs to learn how to efficiently lift things with his legs rather than just his back. I guess he knows that.

    I can imagine your worry when he first had an accident. I had polio when I was 5 and I grew up hearing the stories of my parents worry I would be paralysed. Luckily I was not.

    I found your email address on line so I am going to write you an email concerning your comment you left on my blog. I also have a couple of questions to ask you about the Falklands,

  3. Hi Philip,
    No we have no skating rink here. We both had a go. It was hard work. I think you get more nervous about falling when you are older. There was a young boy from the Falklands over with his parents for the week and he was getting the hang of it really quickly.
    The fort was very impressive with log cabins and sod huts, obviously it has all been restored but it was well worth the visit.

  4. Fuerte Bulnes is just another bit of proof that the Chilenos were in Patagonia way before the Argentines... it is one of the many things which holes the Argentine claim to the Falklands below the waterline...

  5. Hi J A Roberts,
    Your not the J Roberts of Roberts Acre farm in Devon are you? Father of my adopted son Johnathan Roberts.

  6. I'm afraid I'm not your J Roberts, but a different one.