Sometimes children don’t injure themselves. Sometimes they injure their mothers.
When Alfie was two we went on a family holiday to tropical Far North Queensland where our plan was to go snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.
To get there we had to fly to Cairns. Alfie couldn’t remember being on a plane before and was in overload with excitement. We survived the flight without incident, if refusing to wear your seat belt, standing on the seat, fiddling with the tray table, visiting the toilets even when you don’t need to go and experiencing your first fizzy drink counts as incident free.
When we landed in Cairns we had to exit the plane by walking down a ramp. Alfie was behind me but came charging up beside me, turned in front of me taking a step towards me and accidentally kicked my foot. (‘Accidentally’ if never giving your mother any space counts as unintentional harm). That’s when I wondered why I wore open toed shoes because I heard a snapping noise, felt some discomfort and looked down to see my toe that had been pointing straight out in front of me was now at a right angle.
My toe was broken and dislocated before I’d even hit the ground.
It seemed a team of people came running and I was thrown into a wheelchair and someone was helping Carl collect all our luggage and then I was put into the back seat of a limousine so I could stretch my right-angled toe out in front of me while the others all piled in and we headed to the resort.
Arriving an hour later we were greeted by staff who handed us a welcoming drink (mine could have done with a nip or three) and while everyone headed off to explore the resort my sister helped me limp into a taxi and off we went for a 40 minute drive to the nearest hospital.
The hospital waiting room had two other patients in it. One of them was a British tourist who had been sitting at a picnic table when a goanna jumped up to join him. He didn’t want the goanna on the table so he naively picked it up and that’s when it sunk its bacteria infested teeth and claws into his arm and wouldn’t let go. He sat in emergency in complete shock with his arm wrapped in several blood soaked towels. He was definitely going to need one of the two tanks of happy gas to repair the damage.
The other patient was a young woman who’d been sitting in the back of a 4WD as it drove through the rainforest. She had the window down and leaned her elbow out the window. The car drove alongside a Wait-A-While vine and it gripped onto her arm while the car continued to move forward so her arm was a bloody mess also. I think she needed more than 200 sutures so she claimed the other remaining tank of gas.
I didn’t feel like having my toe snapped back into position without some anaesthetic so I waited for one of the gas cylinders to become available and hoped they’d saved me some. After a few sucks of gas the doctor grabbed hold of the fractured part of my toe and yanked. I levitated. That gas had about as much effect as the Pethidine they give you when you’re in labor. It doesn’t even scratch the surface.
My toe was strapped and bandaged and I hobbled out of the hospital about seven hours after the snap.
And I limped for the next 10 days.
But I did see the Barrier Reef. I saw it while snorkeling with just one flipper.
Have you put yourself in harm’s way while being a tourist?
When you’re in pain or injured it’s always nice to treat yourself to some comfort food. And I think home-cooked chicken is one of the most comforting meals around. Here’s a recipe I always cook when I need cheering up.
Chicken with Chilli, Paprika and Lemon
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: This is dinner on the table for a family of five for less than $20.00.
- 1 free-range chicken size 1.6kg (3.5 pounds)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tbspn smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- 4 cloves of crushed garlic
- rind of one lemon
Pre-heat oven to 180C (375F)
Wash and dry chicken with paper towel. Cut into portions. Place in a shallow baking dish.
In a small bowl combine remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour over chicken and allow to marinate for at least an hour.
Cook for 60 minutes and serve with rice and salad.
Want to read more? Here’s my latest post on JustB.