Our trip through the back country of Shangri-la turned out to be four days instead of two, due to a landslide and constant big (still) mountains.
Yesterday we took a little detour on our way into Lijaing – to the hospital. We crashed. A combination of a long day, with 1200 more meters of climbing, a patch of water laid down by the cooling water of a truck’s brakes, a little bit of clay, and down we went at about 30kph.
Claire was not responding at first and I got her out of traffic carefully, in case any bones were broken (none). I can’t explain how I felt seeing her, barely moving, having trouble hearing me, or answering to her name. She finally came around, and I got her sitting upright and talking coherently. I checked her eyes for dilation or wandering, and she could focus and had no double vision (we’ve been through this before).
A motorcyclist helped direct traffic as I dragged Zippy to the edge. I started to search for the first aid kit, and by then Claire was thinking clearly enough to tell me where to find it. Before I could start cleaning her abrasions, a van full of police arrived. My first thought was that we were in even more trouble than the crash aftermath, but they were great. “We take you to hospital,” said with authority, had an amazingly calming effect. They commandeered a small pickup, and loaded Zippy in. We wondered if we’d ever see him again, until we saw one of the policemen get into the truck.
It’s really frustrating having to admit you need help, but when the police came and said “hospital” I knew we probably should go, even though it meant transporting Zippy some other way, struggling to communicate with doctors or nurses, arriving in an unfamiliar town not under your own power, and worst of all, losing your bearings.
Since I’d lost a minute or two, I had a lot of questions for Bob and it took me a while to come out of the fog that makes you think you’re having a bad dream. I remember knowing we were going down, but that’s all.
At the hospital, we had our scrapes swabbed. They thought my nose might be broken, but I think my glasses just gouged it. I took the hit evenly between shoulder and hip. Bob got it pretty bad on the knee, but it hasn’t swollen. Bob noticed the doctor watching me for signs of brain trauma, and from previous experience, he knew to wake me in the middle of the night to make sure I knew who and where I was. We’re both a little stiff and sore today, so we’ll take an extra day in our three star hotel. (Total hospital bill: $6)
We’ll post our days in the back country soon. Beautiful…