My Nomadic Path


Travelling Experiences

The case of the broken toe – Part 2

[ For Part One click here ]

First of all, I want to say that the most popular mode of transport in Cambodia is the ‘tuk-tuk’, for those of you that don’t know it is like a hybrid of a motorbike and shopping trolley.

The day after I dislocated my toe on a remote island of Cambodia my husband and I left the island to head directly to the Hospital in the nearest town. On our arrival to the Mainland it soon became clear that the only transport available was a ‘tuk-tuk’ so there were nothing we could do but jumping in that thing and pray for the best, because the way they drive is absolutely ridiculous, not to mention how chaotic the traffic is.


I limped over and jumped in very carefully trying not to hurt my toe. We asked the driver to take us to a clinic that we had been recommended but the tuk-tuk driver decided that we shouldn’t go to that one, he preferred another one where he presumably got a “back hander”, everything in Cambodia is about getting some piece of the pie it seems. On the way there he casually went the wrong way around a busy roundabout, skilfully weaving around the oncoming traffic. Honestly I thought that was it for us, a small injury to a toe turning to a major incident.

Fortunately we arrived safe and sound to the hospital, where the driver announced my arrival from the entrance by shouting something in Khmer to anybody who would listen. This seemed to startle the ‘doctor’ who was sleeping on a camp bed behind the counter at the time, poor fellow. He slowly got up and dusted down his grubby white jacket and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. I began to explain the situation to a nurse who seemed a little more alert than the Doc. He ordered an X-ray to be sure that my toe wasn’t broken. We followed the signs that directed us to the X-ray room which led us through some rooms where patients were laying down recovering from various ailments. The X ray room turned out to be a corrugated iron shed and inside felt a little like Dr. Frankenstein’s lab.

silla de ruedas

After a short wait we were called to the doctor’s room. The room was a little crowded, we sat on the bed and were joined by the nurse, a chap with lovely shiny shoes, the tuk-tuk driver and ultimately Dr. Snooze, who still looked like he could do with more sleep. The doctor cast his eye on the X-ray image and seemed satisfied that the toe was only dislocated and that the DIY re-location and first aid had been successful. He then turned to us looked down and grabbed and began to inspect my husbands foot. After we had finished laughing the tuk-tuk driver helpfully explained that my husband wasn’t the patient, good job that he was there really.


The case of the broken toe and the buffalo

At the beginning of 2013 my husband and I went travelling around Cambodia. We found a beautiful tropical Island called Koh Rong. We made some friends and had great time. On our last night on the island we got together with our new friends to have some drinks and say goodbye.

During the night we chatted about anything and everything. The owner of the bar we were drinking in, told us a story about a big buffalo that lived on the island. The beast had attacked some tourists and the locals had decided to put a bell around his neck. The night was over so we went back to our beach hut. During the night I needed the loo so in the local style I headed down to the beach.


While I was  having a wee and taking in the splendid view; you know the sea and the sky… Suddenly, I heart my husband shouting:  “Can you hear the bell? The buffalo is coming towards you!” upon hearing this I just started running for my life, hardly pausing to pull up my shorts, which remained around my knees; in my haste and the darkness and my sheer terror of being gored by the onrushing buffalo i managed to smash my foot on a rock, i let out a scream and crawled upstairs to our hut.

Obviously my husband came to my rescue and realised that my toe was dislocated. He didn’t want me to see how bad my toe was but I couldn’t resist a peek, I saw it and realised that my poor toe was like an arrow indicating ‘turn to the right’ The reality dawned upon us that we were on a remote Cambodian island with no doctors no hospital and no phones, even the generator for the lights had been switched off! there was nothing else for it, Doctor Chappo (my husband) decided to have a go on try to put it back into the right position. I want to say that he never had done anything like that before.

The first attempt didn’t work, I can tell you that it was really painful and any alcohol I had in my head wet out after that. For the second attempt I decided to bite my pillow because this time my private doctor was going to pull my toe harder. Thankfully it worked and we went to sleep but before it I needed to have shot of rum to cope with the pain of the post medical procedure.

to be continued…the real doctor on the mainland story

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