23.06.2009 - 23.06.2009
AS I bounced off the tarmac for the second time, everything suddenly went into slow motion.
Almost Hollywood style, in a way, and I became suddenly, unusually and acutely aware of my situation and I seemed to have hours or even days in which to ponder the future. Not that there was much to ponder: I was bouncing across a road, no longer on the boda-boda motorcycle taxi that I had been on less than a second earlier, and could see a metal pole rapidly approaching from one direction (absolutely typical – I somehow seem to be on a collision course with the only directional road sign in the whole of Uganda!) and a matatu bearing down on me from a different direction. And, of course, the tarmac also approaching me yet again. Pretty much all i had to ponder is what I would hit first (or, rather, second, as hitting the tarmac again first seemed a no-brainer). Oddly enough, the overriding thought I remember going through my head was “I don't care what he says, but i'm not f****** paying him after this!”
I'm not entirely sure what happened after that. The next thing I remember is being half wrapped round a pole trying to work out where I was, why I was there and what on earth had happened to my shoulder which was somewhat more painful than i remembered it being in the recent past and i'm sure hasn't always been at that angle. I then vaguely remembered having been on a boda-boda and almost in abstract wondered what had happened to it and the driver: Looking across the road I was suddenly aware of a crumpled lump of metal wrapped against a tree on fire. Hmmmm. This was probably not a good sign, and I concluded by thinking that i really DEFINITELY was not paying him now. Oddly, of the driver, there was no sign at all.
I was in Kampala, and for no specific reason except that after moaning about having to stay in Nairobi, I had managed to arrange with my Nairobi doctor to see one of his colleagues in Uganda as a once off, which gave me an entire 2weeks away from Nairobi. I had left pretty much as soon as possible on the first departure to anywhere I hadn't already been. Still lying on the floor in pain and a pool of blood - still wet, but both amazingly and scarily, it seemed not to be mine - I wryly remembered that I was due in the hospital tomorrow anyway, so I didn't have to make an extra trip to get my new injuries looked at. And just before it happened, i had been sent this great little cartoon about how my parents seem to think of me. It was almost perfect timing.
I stood up slowly – or tried to – whilst attempting to work out/remember what had happened. And promptly collapsed right into the metal sign post, and onto my newly bad shoulder, whereupon I got a millisecond of the most intense pain, heard a crunch sound and then all of a sudden had much less pain. Apparently I had popped my shoulder back in without even realising that it had dislocated. I tried to stand up again, successfully, and took stock: there were a few curious bystanders or cars watching, but in general very little attention was being paid to me or the now seriously burning tree, whilst the driver was still nowhere to be seen. I looked in the wreckage, the ditch and the tree, and definitely no driver. I still have no idea (or recollection) as to why we crashed. Realising there was not much else that i could do, I half shrugged, dusted myself off and gingerly limped down the road for a couple of hundred metres until i came across the next boda-boda, whereupon I negotiated a smaller fee with its driver, and continued on my way.