[Travelogue] El Nido (Palawan / Philippines)
The departmental website « Travel » had me very cautions. « The medical infrastructure is often inadequate province Some nationals being very isolated, it should be borne in mind that any health problems, minor France, can become very problematic in the Philippines, because they can be cured quickly. »
With this warning in mind, my first aid kit is the only thing I had prepared carefully. Chance, I missed the perfect little kit surgeon …
Let us review the facts.
When one spends his holidays on the island of Palawan and more precisely in the village of El Nido, the main attraction is to visit the beautiful archipelago Bacuit. Boat tours are offered and neither one nor two, my girlfriend and I reserve when we arrived the next day. Lifted at 7am for an appointment at 8am. 6 tourists, 3 crew members. We have eight hours to tour the proposed islands. First stop and last dive: Small Lagoon.
Why last? Because after having been « virtually push » to water on corals that cut like razors, not having had time to adjust my mask, it gradually fills with water. First reflex: back to the surface for emptying. But passing from a horizontal position to a vertical position, my foot hits something. No fear, it will be blue again. But out of curiosity, I decided to stop to have a look. I do not see very well, but I feel broken. My girlfriend asked me what happens, I said « I banged on a rock. » Intrigued, one of the young tourists come to me to watch my injury underwater. He stands up and says « This is serious. You must come back« . Given my attitude puzzled, he immediately signed to the captain who makes me go back by one of his boys.
And there is the drama. The blood spurts suddenly. Captain pass water over the wound. That’s when I nearly fainted: my flesh spring. The second kiss cool effect will not be long when I learned that there is no aid kit and must call on another boat. I hear myself saying: « Be calm … calm … calm«
The medicine chest is coming …
10 minutes later, here I am with makeshift bandages, cotton and Betadine. I feel nothing, no pain and prefer to laugh. Besides, the captain assures me that this is not serious, « in three days it will be gone. » It covers my foot and you can expect the return of five other tourists. Now, I see nothing, my day will take place on the boat, hurt. It is only for lunch and to mount the side of a hill that I moved building on one of the boys. My makeshift bandage did not hold during the ascent. The captain therefore tear an old oily T-shirt found on the beach, to bandage my foot. Tourists scared tell me it would be better not to see anything hygienic fabric appearance. But between the view from my gaping wound and tetanus, I chose …
Foot with fabric and 5 days later with plastic bag
Time passes, we continue to visit the islands. At the edge of a beach, limping, another young boat captain, Felix, intrigued by my approach, comes to me. He asks to see the injury. Given his insistence I show him. And there he claims he must quickly go to the medical center for stitches. I do not know if it’s because of my foot or planning a coincidence, but our boat and his break camp following this sentence.
Arrival on the beach, I had star treatment. I was brought the boat to a chair where twenty people were busy around me. Children, the elderly, the whole village was looking at me and smiled condescendingly. An old woman appeared with a kit and a chisel. And there I am afraid because I do not want me to sew without sterilization, at the sight of all. My blood makes a turn when I ask her if she is a doctor and she replied no. And there desperate, I look around me, seeking the young French to tell him to stop the massacre. It also gets scared and imposes compresses it made me rather cottons of women. Once the fact bandage, Felix returns, leads me to say that he brings me to the clinic. The whole crowd applauded facing this young hero and opens the passage. I believe myself in a series on TF1 at the time of the happy ending. The dispensary nuns is frightened by my wound and refused to help me, I need to see a doctor.
4 hours of waiting later.
And yes … the meantime, the retired doctor vacationing on the island and called to the rescue … but he had a car accident. Even the writers of TF1 have not added so many obstacles …
So, I wait on the terrace of our « hotel ». Everyone is concerned, I turned pale at the thought of me to do stitches given the conditions. Can I have a shot bar. I do not know if it’s my foot or the sun, but I feel no strength, not feeling very well. Luckily, I knew a couple residing in El Nido just join me. The husband decides to accompany me to the doctor which greatly reassuring. Arrived at the retreat to our doctor, we discover that his cabinet is a small hut made of nipa and wood, with rows of medicines and little animals … In short, it is too improbable to be realistic and yet so. And there, I imagine myself in the place of a soldier in the war deep in the jungle it takes to sew with the means at hand. I have only to bite the bullet. My friend held me by the shoulder and told me to be brave and that I will describe the operation later. You can imagine that I closed my eyes! In short, it was very painful, I had tears in my eyes. He slipped around his syringe under the skin, butchered me, removed the flesh intoxicated by corals (This is their defense of swinging toxic substances …) and pushed the little beasts that arose on my wound with its fountain. It must be cleaned before closing …
Doctor’s verdict: no beach or sand for 3 days. Luckily, we’re on a tropical island. And wash with a plastic bag around the foot. After that, it’s up to me to decide if I want to spoil my vacation or heal more slowly.
You were waiting for this holiday to get back into shape, play sports, swim and you find yourself immobilized to drown your sorrows in a glass of Mai-Tai.
In the evening, I was exhausted. Antibiotics, I have not slept all night. Flushing, malaise, nausea, I thought that I was infected, this was the end. Then that’s calmed to 5am or I slept 1 hour, awakened by stopping the fan. And yes, 6am: Official time of the stoppage of electricity. Yippee tralalala.
All the charm of the island (water cuts, shower with a basin and no electricity from 6am to 14h which cuts 10 minutes to 2 hours during the other time slots) and the happiness of Life without nuclear quickly becomes a nightmare when one is disabled. Between the fan stopped, deprivation of light that makes me hit the foot against the furniture, moving on one foot in the apartment as impossible to set foot on land, water cuts that prevent me cleaning the sand around the wound, the technical prowess to prevent water from the shower to touch the foot … So much for the domestic details.
For the holidays next to the beach: Do not bathe, avoid contact with salt water and fine sand that could become embedded and infect the wound is about an impossible mission.
The war wound
Hence wearing my black socks to avoid possible contact with water, sand and sun. A must when you’re at the end of the world in a heavenly setting. So I tasted hell.
In short, I have become somewhat of a « drag » for my traveling companion: I live at idle and doing slow other. But I was lucky to have a trusted friend who has proved to be a delicate nurse.
A week later, we set off on Boracay Island to party. I’m worried because I do not see any improvement in my foot for this last step. At the airport, I get less and less walking, my foot swells and can not stand my tong. A force to set foot on the heel, calf and gradually hardens, it paralyzes. I start to panic. I must get other shoes to relieve myself. We finally found the big sandals that accomplishes this task. My approach is changing and getting better although I still embarrassed.
You should know that in the Philippines, these are small aircraft that carry you and weight is very guarded. For one, it must not exceed 10 kilograms of luggage and two Filipino weigh you. In a more uncomfortable context that the doctor: dressed, with your bag, and not fasting in front of everyone. The bulk weight display bright red marks the start of my depression …
Arrivals on the beach from our cottage, someone shows us the way to access it. Between the heat, the weight of my backpack, my foot and my weight figure in mind, the path seems to me disproportionate. I have a lot of pain and I do not understand why a tricycle can drop us off at the entrance. Answer: not accessible otherwise.
In the room, we change and I put the finishing clean and unworn held to this day to feel good. While walking, I realize that I have green spots on the legs and feet, certainly due to the ink of my plastic bag which are deposited my bandages and Medoc. I decide to go clean myself in the water. You’ll never guess: the water is polluted with neon green algae of the same color as my marks … So spotted that we sit at a bar rather « high end » and where I see my new outfit was also steeped in green and blue spots. I sigh. The walk continues to swell. With my German tourist looks, black socks with sandals big awful, I listen to a romantic song to mourn the cottages. Until then, I had taken this story with some British phlegm, but then it is too much: I crack for the first time and I cry. My girlfriend console myself with a drink and a bag of ice for my foot that can no longer enter the sandal.
The next day, we find ourselves at the medical center of the island to remove son. A young woman in pink T-shirt that I take for a nurse but is not upset doctor ahead with tweezers … I ask anesthesia but no, it did not, I have to take my troubles patience. Tweezers … brrr.
In short, it takes it takes because a wire resists. My friend asks a break and saw my eyes misted my « Have » extended. She eventually remove all is not jojo. But it’s over. One last prohibited beach day and then I can go back. Only you know what? The day I have been a holiday like other almost (I keep my black sock in my travels), a typhoon is announced. So four days and no beach until we return to Manila.
Life is beautiful, not ?
Clin d’œil à mon grand frère : « Le Grand blond avec une chaussure noire » :