Being based in Yorkshire didn’t stop this businessman seeking the expertise of Spire Fylde Coast, whose service he describes as faultless, writes Kate Ford. Photography: Paul Currie
We’ve all heard tales about the dream holiday which turns into a nightmare and Julien Billington, 53, from Wakefield in Yorkshire, has one such tale.
Two and a half years ago, on holiday in Thailand, Julien had a motorcycle accident, breaking his right leg and doing considerable damage to his right knee. He spent two weeks in a local hospital and further time recuperating before eventually being flown home.
“I was in a bad way when I first came back to the UK, not particularly mobile and needing quite a lot of support,” says Julien. “I came to Lytham St Annes to stay with my mother for a while, so she could help with my recovery.”
Part of that recovery was seeing a specialist about the ongoing pain in his knees and, being based temporarily on the Fylde, Julien chose to use Spire Fylde Coast. One of the consultants he saw was orthopaedic surgeon, Paul Dunkow.
“I hit it off with Paul right from the start,” says Julien. “He is absolutely professional but also so easy to get along with, happy to share a joke and have a laugh. He explained everything really clearly, so I always knew exactly what to expect and I had complete trust in him.”
On and off, and despite moving back home to Wakefield, Julien continued under Paul Dunkow’s care for the next two years. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic arthritis and suffered from regular build-up of synovial fluid in his knee joints, causing a lot of pain.
“Even though it was my right leg that was more damaged in the accident, the worse pain I had was in my left knee, because of the extra pressure that was being placed on it,” explains Julien. “I had the fluid drained regularly and also tried medication, but the pain continued.
“Eventually, after consulting once more with Paul, we decided the best course of action was to replace both the knee joints.”
As his left knee was the most painful, Julien had that joint replaced first, on 2nd May this year. Making a swifter recovery than expected, Julien underwent the same procedure on his right knee less than five months later, in September.
Looking back on the surgery now, Julien says: “The whole hospital experience was superb; all the staff are wonderful, the facilities and the food are excellent. I honestly could not fault it at all.”
And, when asked how his recovery is going. “Well, it’s four weeks today since the surgery and I’ve just been for a walk of over two miles, so that doesn’t seem too bad at all.”
So, it may have been quite a long story but, thanks to Spire Fylde Coast, we can at least say that Julien’s tale has a happy ending.
Spire Fylde Coast Hospital
St. Walburgas Road
Blackpool FY3 8BP