News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Smoke-free and loving life


Media Release

Date: 17 December, 2012

Smoke-free and loving life


Tamati Parkes gets some rehab work on his finger by hand therapist Rebecca Ralph, acting clinical leader at Waikato Hospital’s Hand Therapy, Burns and Scar Management clinic.


Tamati Parkes has kept his promise – and his ring finger.

The 38-year-old – a smoker since he was 11 – has been off the cigarettes to honour a large team at Waikato Hospital who reattached the finger after a work accident earlier this year.

“I had to cut my fingers off to realise I had to give up smoking. I want other people to know it doesn’t have to be that hard,” he says.

Tamati arrived at the hospital on October 4 with the two outside fingers of his left hand hanging off after an accident at a meatworks.

“I told the doctors to just cut the skin off. I wanted to get out of there and have a smoke.

“I changed my mind when after three times of telling them [to cut the skin] they still wanted to save the fingers.

“I didn’t want to waste their time and the money it costs to go into surgery.’’
After 20 hours of surgery by a team of about 20 and “amazing” care afterward, Tamati said he had to keep his promise to stop smoking.

Cigarette smoking would have compromised the operation as smoking narrows the blood vessels. But the little finger didn’t make it due to damage and blood vessel size.

“I’ve got nine fingers now instead of 10 so there’s a little reminder of my past life,” says Tamati.

“I wake up every day and think of the good people at Waikato Hospital who helped me change my life.

“Every time I walk into Hand Therapy it is a reminder of how life-changing this place is.

“It’s a beautiful life being smoke-free. I can smell perfumes and flowers – you truly do appreciate that.

“So Waikato Hospital has basically fixed up my life. It’s all about giving back for me now.”

That philosophy sees Tamati visiting a woman he helped after she was hit by a car in Hamilton East last month. She remains in hospital and Tamati calls in every Thursday after his hand therapy outpatients appointment.

Cigarettes are not the only thing Tamati has given up. He has turned his back on a former life which also included drugs and alcohol. Other good things have followed. He’s back in contact with his daughter, 17, and is a Sunday regular at a Hamilton church.

Life’s going well and maybe in a new direction next year, as he is keen on working with at-risk youth. “That’s just because I can now. And being smoke-free I see myself having a future.’’

And although Tamati has kept that ring finger, there’s no ring on it. “It would be nice to meet someone special one day. But that’s not a big priority for me right now.”

ENDS



© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Waitangi Day: Treaty Of Waitangi - Found In Translation

To celebrate the Society of Translators and Interpreters's 30th anniversary, over 90 translators will work together to translate the English and Māori versions of the Treaty of Waitangi into 30 languages... More>>

ALSO:

Northland Development: Trust Applauds $4m Government Funding For Art Centre

Today's announcement of central government support, made by Minister of Economic Development Steven Joyce, provides a key step forward in funding for Whangarei’s Hundertwasser Art Centre & Wairau Maori Art Gallery. More>>

ALSO:

Memorial: 85th Anniversary Of 1931 Napier Earthquake

Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye will today attend the 85th anniversary afternoon tea for survivors of the 1931 Napier earthquake, to pay tribute to the heroism, kindness and generosity shown by many during this and more recent emergencies. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images: 2016 Wellington Seven Costumes

On the last day of the 2016 Wellington Sevens, a sunny day saw the Stadium and waterfront quiet – at least compared to previous years. But there were still a range of traditional and novel dresser-uppers to be spotted. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news