This story does not seem to be stopping quickly, as such, whilst waiting here at the hospital (again), one year later to the day Michel and I left on this trip, I thought I would write about this latest chapter. It all started on the 18th May, Kelly and I were riding the bike together to Cali for a business meeting. It was a hot, but beautiful day. A perfect day! On an inauspicious corner, with no notable imperfections, 140kph was not pushing it hard at all.However suddenly, an unseen patch of oil caused the bike to slide out from under us. We hit the ground hard. Fortunately Kelly was flung clear of the bike, but I was cartwheeling with it down the highway, pounding my poorly protected body into the bitumen for some 200 meters before dropping off the edge of the corner down a 2 meter embankment hiding us from passing traffic. Both of us were wearing little protection due to it being such a hot day.
When I regained conciousness, (apparently some 10 minutes later according to Kelly who stayed conscious through the whole harrowing ordeal, and vividly recounts her head smashing three times face first into the road) I had to fight really hard for a breath. I was desperate to see if Kelly was ok but she was some 20 meters away from me and it took another good 10 minutes to get a breath into my lungs and move. Kelly was covered in blood, screaming, but conscious.I had no idea where we had come from, but I knew need to get help. At the time my head was spinning, I thought the embankment was the other side of the road, but the only way to help was up the embankment. How I climbed up, with what was later diagnosed as three compound fractured ribs, my shoulder ripped apart, and maybe 40% of my skin gone, is still a mystery to me. However, flagging down the first scooter that passed by and giving them my phone to call an ambulance, I promptly then collapsed again on the side of the road.Sometime later we were in the ambulance on the way to Hospital.
By the time I got to the hospital I think the adrenalin had worn off, and the pain was really starting to kick in. I clearly needed surgery, so understood that I would not able to eat, or drink despite the 40 degree heat. I was told that Kelly somehow had no broken bones but had severe lacerations, and with some treatment and IV she would be fine. I waited some 8 hours for surgery, only to be told later it would be postponed to the following day. Colombia! (Those of you who don’t like hospitals, be sure not to end up in one in a developing country) The pain was unbearable, and my repeated requests for help, even in my best Spanish, were only meet by the look of someone staring at an alien just emerging from a UFO! For 8 hours I sat in a chair paralysed with the pain, unable to even shoo the files away that were crawling all over my open wounds. I remember thinking about the irony of surviving such a horrific accident only to die in the “Hospital”.
However in the meantime, the guy with my phone continued calling Colombian numbers and finally identified a friend through a friend who kind of lived nearby-ish (3 hours away) who came to our rescue. Fortunately for me, Claudia was well connected and knew had a personal friend who was a surgeon. I had a chance. Soon we were off to another Hospital where Claudias friend worked. Starving, I was still not allowed to eat or drink, but finally the surgery happened around 6pm the following afternoon, some 30 hours after the accident. I asked our friend Caludia to call my friend Mateo in Medellin, who fortunately had another friend nearby who could go pick up my bike.
Straight out of surgery, still under the influence of pain killers I was feeling much better. I allegedly ate a whole Frisby chicken + Chips!
Kelly was incredible. After such a horrific accident she was so positive and strong though it all. (Continued below)
SOME PICS TAKEN WHILST CHANGING BANDAGES
Crashed bike pics here; herehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/philthyrich1/sets/72157624038703093/
On the other hand, as my brain struggled to function, I became worried about many things, cost being one of them as I had cancelled my insurance policy only weeks before due to problems with another claim not being resolved after some 6 months.
Here is where the plot ‘thickens’. To make matters worse, we were told by the police who attended the accident that none of our things had been recovered! Because we were travelling to Cali on business for a couple of days, I had around $10k worth of things, including my computer with all my business plans, cash, passport, keys, wallets phones cameras etc etc, plus all my documents, visa, bike import permission etc.
The first three days post-op for me were very difficult as a result of the pain and the delirium of the painkillers, so nothing really registered with me in any actionable way until we finally returned home some 5 days after the accident.
By this time, the thieves that took everything from my bike must have thought they had gotten away with the score of the year! Fortunately for us, another friend we were talking to about this happened to know the Chief of Police in Cali (the Municipaility of the area where we had the accident).Upon calling him, an immediate investigation was launched, and within the hour I start receiving anonymous threats. More on this detail when it’s safe to tell the truth…
In the meantime, today, Kelly has collapsed, with what is now diagnosed as a torn intestine, which was NOT diagnosed in either of the first two hospitals. Consequently, she had been bleeding internally for the last 12 days, and now has virtually no blood left in her veins! At the time of writing this, she is in the middle of a transfusion and will then require an endoscope examination (small camera goes down through the mouth to the intestine) and possibly surgery depending on the severity of the damage. Understandably she is very upset and very nervous.
Will write more as the story unfolds, Stay tuned!