‘I suffered horrific injuries, but I count my blessings’

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Paul Bruty accident
Paul Bruty suffered horrific injuries (inset) in a workplace accident but a positive attitude - and caravanning - have put a smile back on his face.

Back in 2007, when Paul Bruty was involved in an horrific workplace accident which left him with full thickness burns to more than 50% of his body, he was not expected to survive … let alone ever hit the road in a caravan.

He first spent seven weeks in intensive care, then nine months in the Alfred Hospital burns unit. In that time, he underwent more than a dozen graft and orthopaedic operations, and his rehabilitation is still ongoing a decade later.

As his condition slowly improved, however, Paul and his wife Eril found taking short holidays gave them both a lift … but even that was not easy.

“My rebuilt lower back causes me chronic pain and limits me to certain chairs, beds, and car seats, and we found that staying at motels, cabins, and other people’s houses was not a satisfactory arrangement,” said Paul. “Also, because of my burns and grafted skin areas I need air conditioning when the temperature gets above 20.”

Also, when the surgeons were fixing Paul’s back with titanium rods and screws, they touched nerves that affected his ability to control balance.

Although not avid campers, the pair had happy memories of taking their four children on a campervan trip to Alice Springs in 1989 … and they decided to try caravanning. They bought a 2011 Jayco Sterling and a Pajero 3.2 diesel to tow it, and never looked back.

“We can only travel the countryside at whatever pace my body will allow so, no setting stringent timeframes,” said Paul. “Although we are not travelling as we thought we might before the accident, at least we are travelling.”

While the couple generally takes only short breaks it gives them both a huge lift, and Paul also enjoys finding ways to improve the van. Modifications have included fitting recliner chairs and adding a second battery and solar panel.

“Because I am confined a lot to my comfy lounge chair with a laptop on my knee it is important for me to have internet access and TV so we now have VAST TV,” said Paul. “I quite often stay back at the van, while Eril will tour things of interest and bring back plenty of pictures.”

Paul finds that everything he does is ‘hard work’, but he prefers to look at the positives.

“The accident has coerced me to be a better person and helped me realise that smelling the roses and role modelling with grandchildren is an important part of life,” he said. “My shrink tells me that that is possibly why I was spared in the accident … and I know still have an important role in life.”

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5 Responses to ‘I suffered horrific injuries, but I count my blessings’

  1. Sounds like a wise and happy man

  2. Inspiring and may you have many, many happy times on the road.
    God Bless you both.

  3. And I worry when I get a headache. Inspiring story.

  4. What a great story

  5. What a great story I can relate to

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