Could the Aussie over-70s cricket squad that toured England last month win the Test Series, something that has eluded the Australian National Cricket Team for some time?
They would if Peter Flack, a sprightly 73 year-old member of the team, who has been dialysing at our unit for four years, had a say in the matter.
Peter has always been a mad-keen sportsman. He started playing cricket at 9 years of age and spent the next 40+ years playing pennant-grade tennis, and cricket at the Sub-District level. In his mid-50s he gave the game away and didn’t think any more of it for a dozen years, until a suggestion at an Australian Cricket Society lunch earned him a game with its over-60s team.
This soon led to representative matches, a national championships tournament and a maiden test against a visiting English team. Then, in February this year, he was delighted to be selected to represent Australia in an over-70s squad touring England.
Soon after, he and his wife Denise decided he should make a real trip of it, and go to the US East Coast as well. Any BigD-er who has travelled knows the complexities involved in arranging dialysis. Chris, our Unit Manager, was wonderful as usual: arranging good units in the UK and the US; confirming dates and times, providing technical details, and much more. She also arranged times for Peter to dialyse just before flying out and immediately after he returned.
Just before he left Peter also discovered that he has also been selected to play with his Victorian over-70s team at the national championships in Maroochydore in Queensland, the day after he was due to arrive home.
He was delighted. “This is the best thing that could have happened. It proves dialysis doesn’t have to limit your life” he said.
So, on August 6, Peter and his Australian Over-70’s Test Team flew to the UK and played three one-day Tests against an English XI and five matches against County opponents during their 18-day tour.
While they won four County matches, unfortunately, they could not break the Test Series hoodoo, and won only one of the three matches. Peter puts the loss down to the fact that not enough players were on dialysis.
And I tend to agree. The challenge of dialysing in a foreign land while playing in a Test is both stimulating and character building. Between matches, Peter dialysed 7 times in 18 days at Diaverum Forest Hill, for 4 hours each time. A late change in hotel venue added another three hours of travel to each session. Who knows what advantage this would have given the Team if the rest of the Over-70s received this additional stimulus between matches? One can only ponder on the advantages that non-BigD-ers forego.
And for Peter, it didn’t stop there. He then flew to LA, where he met up with Denise. They spent 11 days touring the usual suspects: LA, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and Disneyland, then on to San Francisco. Peter had five dialysis sessions during those 11 days.
But all good things… and all that. After 29 days on the road (or in the air) he arrived back at Melbourne Airport , where he drove straight to the unit for a restful 4 hours of dialysis.
Then he then went home to bed.
Of course, the good things hadn’t quite finished. The next day he flew 2 hours to Maroochydore to play in 4 more games (all wins).
That was some trip for a healthy 73 year-old. For a 73 year-old on BigD, it was a triumph (despite the Test result!). I spoke to him just after he returned and he was tired, but fine. He says he’s had the trip of his life.
Amazing what you can do on BigD.