The 4WD jeep came around the corner on my side of the road, leaving me with only a split second to make a decision – stay on the same line with the vehicle coming fast towards me, or switch inside. I chose the latter, but so did the jeep. I don’t remember the impact and to be honest I’m so glad for this, because I know from the damage to both the bike and myself it would have been pretty awful.
Next thing I knew I was waking up on a trolley in the hospital in Vrang, screaming in pain as a splint was being applied to my left leg. I couldn’t see out of my left eye and my ribs were crushed, making breathing very difficult and painful. The doctor told me they would be taking me to Khorog hospital as they had better facilities, but I just wanted something to numb the excruciating pain. The journey on the mountain road was long and sheer hell, every bump adding to my discomfort and for the first time I wished it had all been over for me.
Arriving at the hospital in Khorog, I was immediately taken into surgery so my forehead and eye could be fixed up. There’s no finesse in this and I know the scar it will leave will be pretty unsightly. Not that it matters. I begged for painkillers, but had to make do with the ibruprofen tablets given to me by Stefan – nowhere near sufficient to blunt the pain. This was my lowest point, many of you think I’m strong but this incident saw me falling apart.
I stayed in the hospital for 4 days. The biggest problem apart from my constant discomfort was the risk of infection – this hospital was a million miles from the cleanliness we take for granted in Europe. I was not allowed to have a bath or shower during my stay and I stunk, adding to my feeling of just not coping with all this. It was with huge relief I learned the drivers family would take me to their home in the Pamir’s and care for me, this included taking me daily to the hot springs – sheer bliss. The family really did look after me, despite the police trying (and to an extent succeeding) in taking money from them. I insisted I did not want any money from the family, their kindness was more than enough and had quite a battle with the police about this. The corruption is a part of Tajikistan I have witnessed first hand and it’s very widespread.
I was given a lift back to Khorog with the hope of a lift then onto Murgab, but this never happened and I’m now even further away from Murgab, Osh and Bishkek. I’m really not good, as apart from the constant pain I have also developed a bout of sickness and diarrhoea which saw me violently ill last night. I’ve met another cycle traveller in the Pamir Lodge and we will see if it’s possible to arrange onward transport.
I need help
I have never publicly asked for help before, but if I’m to continue then I desperately need it. The biggest headache is where to get the new kit sent to in Bishkek, without having it taken apart by customs and charged ridiculous amounts. I’m wondering if it might be worth contacting the British Embassy in Bishkek for help?
I have put a “donate” button on my blog in the right hand sidebar (and also below), but if anyone would like to offer specific help then please get in touch with me.
Here is the list of kit which needs replacing:
Full set of front and rear Ortlieb Roller Plus Panniers
Front Ortlieb Bar Bag
Ortlieb Rack Pack 49L
Front Disc Specific Rim (to build up using my Supernova Infinity 8 Hub – I’ll get this done in Bishkek)
Spokes for above (please can someone check the size for me?)
Surly Disc Trucker Front Forks – Edit – The bike is a total write off
Headset for above
Mudguard for above
Schwalbe Marathon Mondial Tyre (might as well get a pair)
So that’s about all for this quick update. I have pictures and a nice story for my next one, but need good internet access to upload – this a an old PC in the youth center I’m using right now.