After two weeks in Cape Town, a taxi almost ran me over, and I broke my ankle.
It went a little something like this.
On a Friday night, I was crossing the street from the apartment where I was staying with friends to get into an Uber. As usual, I looked both ways to confirm that the roads were clear with no oncoming traffic. As soon as I started to get close to the Uber, I felt a bright shining light glaring at me. I turned left to see a white taxi speeding towards me. I quickly pivoted and turned to avoid an impact.
As soon as I did that, I fell, and the taxi continued speeding towards me. I placed my hands over my head and rolled when I realized that the driver was not going to stop. My friends who were behind me quickly ran to help me while the others ran after the taxi which left the scene.
The minute I stood up and placed my left foot down, I yelled in pain and looked down to see it broken. At this time many people were starting to emerge from buildings and corners when they heard the commotion. I laid in the middle of the cold, wet pavement unable to move while others came to my rescue.
At that point, time began to move slowly, while my mind moved fast. The unbearable pain as my friend held and elevated my leg; the dark sky and the bright stars gazing down at me.
Two friends who were leaving work heard the uproar and ran to my aid; one helped my friend with my leg while the other held my hand and tried to distract me from the pain. A couple ran out of a building and brought me a pillow. Someone called the ambulance. A police officer parked his car on the road to act as a barrier and caution for other vehicles on the way. Many people I owe significant thanks too.
We waited for an hour, and the ambulance did not show. My friends stopped a taxi who drove us to Somerset Hospital; which I later found out was a public hospital.
When we arrived at Somerset, it looked like the set of The Walking Dead. Panicking, I initially wanted to refuse treatment and go to another hospital. However, the doctors would not let me go until they stabilized my ankle.
X-ray confirmed that I broke my ankle in three places and would need surgery. Upon finding out that I was traveling from the U.S. with traveling insurance one of the doctors recommended that I go to a private hospital.
After stabilizing my ankle and giving me ample pain meds, I was transferred to Christiaan Barnard Memorial. This hospital was very different; bright, clean, state of the art. Surgery was scheduled and completed the following Tuesday. All went well, and I am back in the states after following up and getting clearance from the surgeon.
All of that was possible because I had travel insurance. I never thought I would need it and before this trip, I was not always adamant about getting it. However, after this experience, I will never travel without it, and I urge everyone to get travel insurance. Most are inexpensive and offer fantastic coverage including the ability to fly a family/friend to care for you (luckily, I had friends with me, but another one was able to fly for free to come and see/take care of me while I waited for clearance to fly back to the States).
In my case, we paid the hospital and other related fees, and the insurance company reimbursed us. In regards to the flight for my friend, the insurance booked that directly themselves.
So, man down, but I am looking forward to getting back on the run soon. I’m recovering and have plenty of love around me to keep my spirits up. This has not been easy, and as much as I would rather catch flights, I have to lay low. I am just doing everything I can to make sure my recovery goes smoothly, and I’ll see you on the road soon.
Have you ever experienced a medical emergency abroad? Share with me below and let’s help our fellow travelers.
Until next time,