Due to the amount of content for this day, it has been broken into two parts to keep the post count down.
I edged out of my Walkmobile bunk at 4am. I hadn’t slept much that night for two reasons. It had rained heavily all night so I looked out of the window half expecting us to be half-submerged in water but we were safe and I was aware of groans emanating from the back indicating that Bobby was in pain every time he rolled over.
I went to Bobby and I was immediately aware that he was unable to move himself off his bed with the pain he was in. What was most worrying was the pain in his right hip which was now very severe.
I made a judgement call. There would be no walking until a full assessment could be made of Bobby’s condition. I told him to lie back down, rest and that I would wake him In a few hours. I briefed the driver and fired up the internet initiating a set of events that I had planned for during my risk assessment of the walk.
1. The immediate ceasing of Bobby’s walk related activity pending all clear from a specialist.
2. Determination of best nearby facility for assessment and treatment.
2. Transport to the nearest designated safe location.
3. Stay at safe location until all clear given by local specialist.
4. Slow ramp-up of walking following exercises as advised and observed by the above specialist re-assessment conducted.
5. Modification of BWFC route to compensate for reduced time and the avoidance of hot temperatures at the tail end of the walk
6. Adjustment of total distance walked to remove any distance not actually walked (i.e. transport to hospital and transfer to safe location)
7. Full dissemination of information to IA Exec Committee, Sub Committee, sponsors and public.
The nearest safe location at this point was Chennai and we were due to stop there for four nights but this was 180km away and too far to travel under the circumstances. A more local assessment would be the best and by 8am I had found three hospitals in Cuddalore which was 16km further north along the route we were meant to walk. I knew that it would be best to get there close to 10am and decided that Bobby should have breakfast in case he was unable to eat for a while.
Just after breakfast I noticed the sun was shining and took a moment use a bush as a temporary clothes dryer. I even gave a chance for our walking shoes to have a bit of a sunbathe. It was a little bit of normality in a day that was to prove less than ordinary.
We started on our way to Cuddalore and on the way we drove through many crowded and flooded roads. I kept thinking that if we were walking it would have been very difficult to navigate this route.
Upon reaching Cuddalore we were greeted by the familiar site of the main road ahead being blocked to large vehicles such as ours. The police ushered us to a road to our left and I had to hastily re-route while hanging out of the passenger window while shouting instructions to Satinder in the cab as the bus bounced around like a jeep with hiccups.
When we arrived as the hospital I made way to reception and explained our background with a well rehearsed routine. I was taken to the Chief Surgeon’s office and was told to wait outside while she entered. A few seconds later, the door opened and the room emptied of the large number of people who were within. I then entered and explained the situation in detail. I was told that they would be very happy to carry out x-rays but they were not orthopaedic specialists. He did however know of the best one in the area and proceeded to phone them. I was told that the other hospital was now aware of Bobby’s arrival and luckily it was just under 3km away.
We arrived outside the diminutive entrance to the Subha Anandham Medical Centre. This place was like an Indian Tardis. Once through the small entrance and corridor, the building opened up into a vast and impressive hospital which I noticed was extremely busy. A wheelchair was despatched to bring Bobby inside and we were to be seen by the orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Natarajan who I briefed.
Bobby was whisked away for a raft of x-rays and I asked for a them to also get a set of bloods and check Bobby’s blood pressure.
Bobby moved to a bed to relax and I was ushered to the speak to the x-ray technician.
As I walked into the room, as much as I was hesitant to look, my gaze was drawn to the image on his screen. He was explaining something to me in Tamil but I understood anyway as pointed at his screen.
Bobby had a fracture to the 5th metatarsal bone in his left foot!