By HALEY BAKER.
When one hears the word arthritis, the common misconception would be of an elderly person who suffers from joint pains.
Arthritis, however, is actually a common condition in many people and can affect individuals of any age and race.
One example is Luke Brokensha, 22, who suffers from Reactive Arthritis.
Reactive Arthritis is hard to determine in cases because by the time the symptoms are noticed, the infection that caused it has usually been cured.
The symptoms include inflamed joints, commonly in the back and knees, and also inflammation of the eyes.
Reactive Arthritis can develop due to an infection in a part of the body, which Luke incurred while working at a vineyard in Penola.
“I wanted to travel the world and live a life unknown to me, so I decided to join a vineyard and make as much money as I could before jet setting off,” Luke said.
However, Luke’s dream had to be put on hold.
“I was doing a night shift and at 12am I felt something bite my right ankle,” Luke said, “so I pulled my boot off and as I couldn’t see anything, I disregarded it, blaming my blisters.”
The next morning, Luke’s ankle was the size of an elephant, with a red dot could be seen on it, so he went straight to the doctors.
Luke was diagnosed with cellulitis, a bacterial infection under the skin, and was prescribed antibiotics.
“I was fine after two days being on the antibiotics, but on the Saturday morning, I woke up and literally could not move – I was in excruciating pain,” he said.
“I couldn’t stand straight, my back and knees were bent and I was pretty much crawling.”
After two days, Luke’s condition had not improved so he went back to the doctor, who re-diagnosed him with Septic Arthritis.
Luke was sent straight to the Mount Gambier Hospital.
“On the way, I googled the conditions of Septic Arthritis, and it said that it can cause liver and kidney damage, and you could die,” he said.
“I went to the hospital and waited for seven hours, by myself, with a fever, in a wheelchair, with the one thought in my head: I was dying.
“It was the worst seven hours of my life.”
Luke saw a bone specialist at the hospital and got diagnosed with Reactive Arthritis, which meant that the antibiotics that were supposed to treat Septic Arthritis probably caused the relapse.
“Both of my knees had to be drained from knee fluid, in which about 50ml from each was taken out. It was not pleasant,” Luke said.
Unpleasant as it is, Luke has stayed positive by believing that there was a reason why this happened and maybe it wasn’t time to leave the Australian shores just yet.
“I was questioning why this was happening to me,” he said
“It was messing with my overseas plans.
“But when it does come time to explore new worlds, the trip will be a thousand times better as I know I have worked through the pain and to see white beaches, and historic figures, it would have been worth it.
“The condition is temporary, but as it has already occurred, I may be liable for it to flare up again.
“Yet it will not stop me from conquering my dreams of overseas.”