Direct Anterior Approach for Total Hip Replacement

Patient Stories

Neil Myers

  • 21/08/2023
Neil Myers

Healthcare Abroad was exceptional throughout. I can now begin to get on with my life again.

This article originally appeared in the Westmeath Independent.

I am living in Monksland, Athlone, having moved to Ireland when I was 17 after growing up in Leeds. I’ve played sport most of my life – cricket, rugby league and soccer. In 2005, I was called up for the Ireland development squad in rugby league. I was a block-layer and a plasterer too, so I’ve always been active.

I was always doing DIY as well. I came away from the building work as I was getting a bit older; and I started feeling a lot older even though I’m now only 45.

I was working for Argos in Athlone. I put any pains down to being very active. Then in May 2021, I was doing the most innocuous of things, I was putting some things into the recycling bin and I had this excruciating pain in my back. I had never felt anything so painful.

I went to a doctor and I got an injection but I was laid up for three months. It was an awful time. My eldest son Cormac Fallon Myers had to carry me from the car. I was in bed for three months. I was bed-ridden. I couldn’t even go to the toilet. My wonderful wife Noeleen Fallon had to help me do things that I’d hoped she’d never have to do, well at least not until I was very old.

I was being given pain relief but I had constant pains shooting down my legs. I got the medication increased and I was able to return to work at Argos. The manager there was very good, allowing me to change my work patterns. I was doing admin work and couldn’t lift anything.

I was eventually seen by a junior consultant in Dublin in October 2021. I had two MRIs in Tullamore. They thought it was a tumour.

That was very scary. I was frightened and so was my wife. It was my birthday in December so I rang up to see if there was any news and I got a medical secretary who told me she was just typing up a letter for me.

I got a letter back from the HSE but it wasn’t addressed to me. It was addressed to my doctor, not me. The letter said my myriad of symptoms didn’t add up and I should be referred to a psychiatrist. It was basically saying all my pains were in my head. I was wondering if they were talking about the same patient. I never miss work. I was not a hypochondriac. My GP said she hadn’t even received a letter.

On February 14, 2022, both my legs began shaking. It had happened twice before. This time it was worse. I rang the doctor and I was told to go straight to hospital. I spent 48 hours in A&E.

The nurses there did their best to try to get me seen. They sent me for an MRI but they forgot to do the right one; I ended up going to have it done properly in the private sector.

I saw another consultant. I’d waited six months with a ‘tumour’ hanging over me. I was told, at last, it wasn’t a tumour. I was told it was a prolapsed disc but it wasn’t life-threatening so I was sent home to wait. I was told I would get three nerve-blocking injections in the meantime to help with the pain, but I am still waiting on those!

In May of 2022, I saw a brilliant A&E consultant. He was very excited about my MRI because he said they hadn’t been able to work on a problem like mine before and he said the surgery would be very interesting.

I waited for a surgery date. I was given five of them over the next year. The first three surgeries were cancelled by post, each a fortnight beforehand. The fourth surgery was cancelled by phone on the morning of the surgery, and the fifth surgery in April was cancelled while I was actually in the hospital in Dublin awaiting to go to the surgical theatre.

I needed to do something else. I knew someone who had been with Healthcare Abroad for surgery and he said the service was 5-star. So I rang on June 6 this year, and a few weeks later I was in HCB Hospital Benidorm for a microdiscectomy surgery which took place on July 12 last, following a consultation two days before that.

My surgeon in Spain brought in his entire team for the surgery. He said they don’t often get to work on the problems I had. The length of the prolapsed disc was about the third of the size of my finger and laid all along the nerve. He said it was little wonder I was in so much pain. I spent four days in the hospital. I was checked by the doctors and the physios every day. The level of service was incredible.

Healthcare Abroad was exceptional throughout. We went to Denia so I could recover in a beautiful hotel for a week or so afterwards. I can now begin to get on with my life again, with my wife Noeleen Fallon and my three sons Cormac Fallon Myers, Killian Fallon Myers and Cody Fallon Myers.

Already the lower back pain which I had 24/7 is completely gone, apart from where I had the surgery, and the electric shocks down my left leg are gone as well.

I should be back to as close as possible as I was before my back went in three months time.

Healthcare Abroad is a lifesaver, thank you. Thank you too to my GP Sarah Cuffe in Athlone. I can’t thank you enough.