Sunday, May 23, 2010

Two years ago...

Two years ago today, I was in Peru having what remains the worst experience of my life to date. It was in Cusco, and Nessa and I had just finished the Inca Trail the day before. Celebrating ensued, and when Nessa was feeling seedy the next day, I assumed she was just hung over. Turns out, not so much........ A good dose of trauma on my part later (and Ness's, obviously!), not to mention a trip to the travel clinic, an ambulance ride to the emergency room, and being flown to Lima by the Peruvian Air Force, the diagnosis of Long QT Syndrome was established, and an medical evacuation to Melbourne arranged for Ness. And so, two years on, I feel that thanks is appropriate.

Let's start with the obvious - Nessa. Thanks for not dying. That would have sucked even worse. And thanks for giving me 45 lessons in how to pack your pack. They came in handy. And thanks for only laughing a little when I cried in the ambulance - be glad you couldn't see the state of the traffic like I could....... Love ya more'n my luggage!!

To the travel clinic doctors - thanks for getting out the instruction manual when you got out the heart rate monitor. That was really reassuring... :S But you knew when to give up and call an ambulance, so thanks for that too!

To the ambulance driver - I swear to God, it was like riding the Knight Bus from Harry Potter. Thanks for not killing us all.

To our tour leader, Aldo - thanks for coming to get me from the hospital when I had no idea where I was or what the hotel was called or how to say anything other than "No habla Espanol". You're a champion.

To Jose, the tour company representative - thanks for liaising with the doctors and the airlines and the hotels and telling me 20 times a day that everything would be fine.

To the Peruvian Air Force guys - you may have laughed at me when I came running onto the tarmac holding up my jeans with one hand because I hadn't had time to put my belt back on after security, but you all looked like Maverick and Goose from Top Gun, and that was oddly reassuring. Plus, you made sure there was room on the plane for me, even though it meant one of you had to spend 2 hours crouching in the stairwell of a Lear Jet. That was pretty awesome. So thanks.

To Nicole at the Australian Consulate - you may have laughed at me (is anyone sensing a theme here??) when you answered the phone in Spanish and I said "Habla Espanol? No. Shit. Crap. Bugger. Dammit. Do you speak English???", but you liaised with the hospital and the insurance company, and were the only one who told me how serious the situation was. Let this be a lesson to you all - ALWAYS contact your consulate/embassy in an emergency...

To the overworked doctor at the hospital in Lima - thanks for telling me how far away from the hospital Miraflores was when the nurse called you over to say that I had a medical question to ask............

To Matt - thanks for letting me rack up millions of dollars of international calls from Cusco to Melbourne on your mobile... And thanks for looking after Nessa's pack for however many days it was.

To Dad - thanks for not freaking out when I rang from Peru, burst into tears, said that Ness was in intensive care, and asked you to call her mum. Who you'd never met before...

To Mum - thanks for keeping me posted on Ness's progress. And for telling me to keep going without her. And for scaring a room full of small children by bursting into tears when I finally spoke to you on the phone - it's always fun to traumatise small children!! :)

To the insurance company - you guys rocked. Not only did you call the hospital in Peru every two hours for an update, but you organised a million things we didn't expect, like a hotel room for me in Lima right near the hospital. I didn't need it, but that's not the point. I've never been so glad to talk to a bogan in my life as I was when the receptionist at the hospital in Lima told me I had a phone call, and the voice on the other end said in an incredibly nasal, ocker Aussie accent "Yeah, hi. It's Chris from Covermore in Sydney, how's ya goin'?"

To Daina - thanks for knowing more Spanish than "Quisiera una daiquiri fresa, por favor", and attempting to get the taxi driver to understand that we needed to go to the cargo terminal rather than the passenger terminal of the airport.

To Jamie - thanks for talking me off five million ledges over the past two years. And for carrying Ness's pack half way around Lima...

To Belynda, our travel agent - thanks for rearranging all our plans and sending me a whole load more tour brochures unexpectedly, and booking stuff at the last minute!

To Cat - thanks for being there in Quito and the Galapagos. And for putting Bruce the Wombat in entertaining situations. Hopefully he's recovered from nearly being attacked by a marine iguana by now ;)

And finally, thanks to everyone who sent their support throughout the whole saga. It helped more than you know.

Right. I think that's quite enough depressing dwelling on the past for one week. Watch this space for dark chocolate and mixed berry sourdough bread and butter pudding - a far more cheerful subject, don't you think??!!

K :) xx

1 comment:

  1. I knew it was about two years ago but I forgot the date. I think I don't focus on the date too much because if it's been two years since then, then it feels like I'm two years closer to it happening again (unlikely that it would be in Peru, though!).

    Perhaps, as an addendum, you could post photos of my odd brand of gratitude, in the form of an inscription in the front of Bake, and your Christmas card from that year.

    I would also like to thank Covermore Insurance for agreeing to cover me on a recent trip to Thailand (and Kirsti and Kat for accompanying me), even though they must have had a file in front of them with the following items, which I would estimate to be worth somewhere between 10 and 50% of a deposit for a small house (the airforce bit bumps it up a bit):
    - 1 GP
    - 1 taxi ride
    - 1 afternoon at the travel clinic
    - 4 ambulance transfers
    - 3 nights in intensive care, Cusco
    - 1 airforce medivac
    - 7 nights in intensive care, Lima
    - 1 return flight to Peru for mum (cattle class)
    - several nights' accomodation in Peru for mum
    - 1 hotel in Lima for Kirsi (not needed, but booked)
    - 1 professional medivac/ICU doctor from Canada
    - 1 flight from Canada to Lima (cattle class)
    - 2 flights from Lima to Miami and from LA to Melbourne (business class)
    - 2 flights from Miami to LA (first class)
    - 1 flight from Melbourne to Canada (business class)
    - $50/day "cash in hospital"

    Travel insurance is worth every cent! And Covermore seems to cover you for pre-existing conditions, provided your doctor signs off on it, although it may depend on where in the world you want to travel. Give them a go, though! That said, I have also heard terrible things about them - one friend had a friend die on him whilst in Asia, and he said they handled it very badly...


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