Received a text message today at 10.40am with news about a friend (LSA) suffering from a broken foot and ankle…He’s scheduled for an operation at 12noon today. The news shocked Fat Dragon & I….in fact Fat Dragon thought I was joking when I conveyed the message! Now, how on earth, you might be ask, did LSA get into this jam? Yup…you guessed it… he was involved in a car accident last Wednesday in Nigeria (West Africa)….
1. LSA traveled in November. Fat Dragon and I too, travelled in Nov 2005.
2. LSA and we, were involved in separate car accidents in the African continent…
3. Both incidents involved Land Rover Classics.
BLESS the car as its hard body frame is able to withstand accidents very well. Case in point: Our car spun 3 times before settling on its right side. All occupants escaped with minor injuries except for Fat Dragon who broke his upper left arm and right hand. I sprained my back and the others suffered from surface wounds and nothing more. In LSA’s case: the car apparently hit a lorry carrying logs…MAN…scary… Thank GOD he only has a broken ankle, another injured his neck & one more I’m not too sure, but all are back safe and sound in Malaysia seeking treatment.
4. LSA did not tell his family about the accident until he arrived back in Malaysia 6 days later. Fat Dragon and I too, did not tell family until we arrived in M’sia, 3 days later. Just goes to show…… its easier to break news like this when you’re back in person. This way the family is spared the agony of wondering about the unknown….
5. Heard from LSA’s wife that the hospital services in Nigeria was an experience in itself. People were crowding around LSA’s hospital bed…. all looking clueless..!!!!
Hmmph… Fat Dragon & I too were in the emergency room in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in the middle of the night after the accident. Fact : The general attitude of the Emergency Room is nothing like what you see in the ER series on the Hallmark channel. No hustle. No bustle. People generally stroll about and take their time wheeling you into the X-Ray room, looking for the doctor…..some nurses will be settled nicely behind the reception counter…. but don’t get me wrong… they’re all VERY NICE people…. Like I said…just don’t expect urgency.
Well, Fat Dragon only received treatment for his broken upper left arm. The doctor claimed his broken right hand would heal by itself…even though it had swollen to twice its size…hmmmph. Incidentally, the doctor had to put a cast on Fat Dragon’s left arm twice….!!!!! The first one was cast in the wrong position & had to be redone…… Sigh…
Fat Dragon was such a trooper & managed a brave smile every now and again. That’s why I love this man…he always sees the funny side of things. Well, the mood was infectious, his colleague (C) & I (who was lying on a bed next to him in the ER) laughed & joked, trying to keep Fat Dragon’s mind off the pain while the Doc recast the arm. C even documented the event on our camera 🙂
Needless to say, against this backdrop, both Fat Dragon & I adamantly refused painkiller jabs by the hospital staff….. there’s no way we were gonna expose ourselves to needles ….. no way at all…!!!!!!!!
Ahhh….what MEMORIES…..but don’t let this scare you into not visiting Africa. It is a diverse, unique, eye opening experience and nothing short of an ADVENTURE! Bring it on any time. I’d welcome another trip there, seriously!!!!!! (Even Fat Dragon…. broken bones, notwithstanding!!!!)
P.S. : LSA – Wishing you a speedy recovery…. !!!!!!!!!!
P.P.S. : Tips for road trip travels to Africa :
1. Bring flashlights (in case your car breaksdown in the middle of the night. Some roads are pitch dark. You don’t wanna be run over and end up ‘road kill’
2. Bring batteries (for your flashlights of course). The ones you purchase in Africa will last only two hours…if you’re lucky.
3. If you insist on bringing white towels, white shirts, white underwear etc, be prepared for it to turn yellow. Water is in limited supply & very murky there. Just goes to show we have to appreciate our clear running water coming out in gushes from our taps in M’sia!
4. Pack light snacks in your car. Sometimes you’ll be traveling long distances without eatery stops……
5. a) Make SURE the vehicle you travel in has spare tyres & complete set of tools. b) If possible, make sure the driver of your car has basic knowledge for car troubles & repair. Travel is rough. Tyre punctures & car troubles are VERY COMMON. During our 11 day travel in Africa we suffered 2 car breakdowns & 2 separate incidences of tyre punctures!!!!!
6. Make sure you pack some common sense with you….If you’re doing a road trip, don’t travel far into the night, do some research on where the ‘bandit’ stretches are……..
7. If you do get involved in an accident & get injured, you might want to seek a 2nd opinion elsewhere. If you’re flying Emirates, its logical to stopover in Dubai, the medical services there are excellent & nearer to the African continent. Or in LSA’s case, he decided to come back straight to M’sia. But of course this will involve a longer flight…. so it all depends on the seriousness of your condition.
Happy Traveling in Africa!!!!!