Wednesday, May 20, 2009

When It All Goes Wrong (could have been worse though) ...

Friday the 15th of May 2009 ...

The day started well. It was clearly going to be waveboard windy again (the third day in a row and looking good for at least another week or so), so I did a bit of stuff on the computer and then went out on the water to put theory into practice.

Started out on 4.2m - not quite powered up enough, so changed up to 4.7m for my second session. Sailed up to the wall where it was looking pretty good ... fun size waves and well powered up with some big gusts still coming through ... and maybe that's what did for me ...

Sailing back in & going upwind hard to pick up a wave, maxed out, full speed, hooked in and in both straps, then suddenly ... I'm flying through the air with the greatest of ease until about a millisecond later my leg impacts with the board at maybe 30kph.

We all get catapulted once in a while, but this was a bit more violent. Usually catapults happen at much lower speed, eg when just getting into the straps and a big gust hits, and I'm still not sure how this high speed one got me. Probably a bad case of pilot error ... maybe I was looking around or at my watch and not looking for the gusts, or maybe I'd taken one hand off the boom ... I don't remember. Or maybe I hit something in / under the water. Funnily enough someone else had done that earlier and I'd also been noticing quite a few turtles floating around just under the surface - so perhaps there's now a turtle swimming around with one hell of a headache (or maybe looking like a headless chicken :-)

I haven't had a chance to examine the board / fin yet, so maybe there'll be a clue there. If it was sheer crass pilot error then there's a cautionary tale there for everyone: although it's the only time that I can recall ever getting torn out of the straps by a gust while blasting along at full speed, it's clearly a possible nasty-accident-waiting-to-happen kind of thing.

I spent a few minutes in the water assessing the damage. Yep it hurt ! but everything seemed to be just about working, so I got back up and sailed away thinking that I'd be able to continue. Inside gybe - ouch, can't bend the knee ... out back through the waves - ouch as I hit every bit of chop ... I'd better come in and check it out.

Managed to walk up the beach (very slowly) and put the kit away - luckily we have our storage garage back again and Nikki was around with the car. Stripped off my wetsuit, releasing the compression on the injury, and that's when I realised it was a bit more serious than I'd first thought. Basically I couldn't put any weight on my right leg and could only walk by hopping around on the other one.

I got back home hoping that it would just mean a couple of days resting and icing it. I was managing to put up a reasonable case for not going to the hospital until I had to get up to go for a piss and promptly fainted. Apparently I was out for most of a minute and was gibbering nonsense etc - so after that there was no argument and Nikki drove me to the Hospiten del Sur (the 'Green Hospital') in Playa Las Americas.

By that time my knee felt like it had red hot needles sticking into it, and what I really wanted was to be knocked out with a good dose of some strong painkilling drugs, but first they had to check out my heart etc for the fainting (ECG, blood pressure, pulse etc all normal) and then do an X-ray ... the doctor actually suspected a fracture, but I thought that it was unlikely that I could have sailed back and walked up the beach with a broken leg ... and so it proved - no fracture, phew !

Basically it was one big mutha of a bruise and everything from my knee to my hip was beginning to swell up like the elephant man. Because there was so much internal bleeding there was a risk of infection, so I had to stay in hospital on antibiotics etc for several days.

It was actually surprisingly relaxing in there. Since we have insurance I had a private room and the food was superb (not to mention the nurses, drugs, hi-tech remote controlled bed etc) - all top notch. It also made us very aware of all the good friends that we've made here, and it's one less experience to be worried about. All in all I feel even more positive about moving here and it feels even more like my home now. 'Whatever doesn't kill ya makes you stronger' and all that.

Back home now and the bruising is just starting to go down a bit. Dunno how long I'll be off the water ... my optimistic side says it's just a wopping big bruise and I tend to mend myself quite quickly. My pessimistic side says I can barely walk right now and perhaps there's some damage to the knee. I guess I'll only know when the swelling is down enough for me to bend the leg and walk on it etc, but I'm fairly hopeful. We'll see ... I've got an out-patients' appointment in a week and if it feels dodgy I'll ask about getting some physio, or other treatment.

In the meantime the wind seems to have taken a rest - apparently I missed five more good days (this place is just amazing !) ... so time for some work now, maybe catch up with our blog etc (about time too I hear y'all shout :-)

ps Nikki and I would just like to say muchas gratias to all our friends for their support, help, phone calls, visits and kind thoughts etc

1 comment:

Judith said...

Ahhh that would explain why Nikki was out walking Basil the other day in the morning and not your good self!

Hope you get back to 100% soon!!