Accident in Ecuador - 2012-03-01
My first memories after the accident are of Hazel anxiously twisting my hair and of being moved into the CAT scanner. I had been unconscious for three hours after crashing 4,000m up Chimorazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador.
The day had started well on a trip that was going exceptionally well. Our group of 14 had been driven up to the road end at 4,800m and most of us had walked up to the snow and a refugio at 5,000m before starting the ride down. Our group ranged in age from 21 to 75, but despite the age differences we were all finding plenty of interest and everyone was riding down the volcano. We had taken saftey seriously with well adjusted helmets, knee and elbow protectors and the brake levers swapped to the kiwi way of riding (In NZ we have the back brake lever on the opposite side to the Americans). Unfortunately I don't think I listened hard enough to one particular safety instruction "at all times focus 100% on the riding - do not attempt to look at the scenery and ride at the same time". For we were on a very easy section of trail and I was either distracted by the nearby herd of guanoco (wild llamas) or yacking to one of the others and failed to notice some hole or rock in the track.
Bundled into a 4 wheel drive and transported into Rio Bumba I had 5 days in the local hospital/clinic while my lungs reattached to my chest wall. The broken clavicle and ribs that had punctured the lung were left to float and find their own space (a standard treatment in NZ as well).
While the rest of the group flew out to the Galapagos and wrote a blog about how good the cruise was, Frances and I slowly made our way to Guayaquil where we eventually caught up with the rest of the group for the trip home. It is the only time that someone has not finished one of our trips, so while I can still say all our clients have completed all of our trips, I can no longer say that eveyone whos started them has done the lot.
Back home the bones have healed well, all be it with some big lumps, but the concussion is taking a bit longer to resolve. For November and December I was content to do very little structured work, but to focus on walking every day. January was build up to return to work month and the plan was that each week I would work an hour a day more. Being able to work from home I could fit in a good physical program as well and this seemed to go well. I was also back to driving when I was feeling alert.
February was going to be back at work month. I took an office in town and launched into a solid work program - only to mentally crash hard. I suffered hugely from fatigue and without the disciplined physical exercise and rest program quickly ended up exhausted. Clearly getting back to full strength is going to take a bit longer. This month the plan is to ensure at least 40 minutes of exercise each day, no full days in the office without a break and an average of 5 hours serious computer based work a day. It is frustrating because there is so much exciting stuff to prepare for and 5 hours a day when you are used to being mentally active 12 - 14 is frustrating. Still i am hatching lots of plans for when I am fully up to speed.
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Heading up to the start
Starting out at 4,800m
That's me in the green jacket with well fitted helmet, knee and elbow protectors
This herd of wild guanoco (related to llamas) may have been what distracted me (or I could just have been yacking).