How a serious accident on a leisure trip changed my life forever

The guy at the rear heard a vehicle coming down making lot of sounds, which we in the front must have heard too. It was coming with greater speed than usual and he had to jump aside.

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Few close medico friends knowing each other for more than thirty years, spread across the planet, planned to have a reunion at a National tiger reserve. Dates finalized, hotel booked, modes of travel defined and finally we met on 20th November, 2022.

As expected it began on a thunderous note, had huge fun filled, time, safari embedded, local scenic drives, laughters in galore, reminiscences of college time maverick scenes, hidden heart throbs and on . It was indeed going the great way it was expected to be. That's how 20th and 21st November went away in a blur and finally we entered the 22nd the second last day of our dream sojourn.

Tiger safari was planned in the afternoon so we got up at a leisure pace, had a hearty brunch and after collectively praying for the afternoon prayers, we got ready for the afternoon safari. Now our hotel was located in a jungle atop a mountain and only way to travel between the base parking where our vehicles were parked and the hotel was by 4*4 vehicle usually open Gypsys provided by the hotels. It was probably a distance of of a km of a highly treacherous mountain road if one can call it so. It was an unpaved road put on a bit of shape with stones nothing else. Like a day before, as a natural and mountain lover, I decided to walk down this road till the place where it got connected with a paved road, where I would then board the 4*4 hotel car supposed to follow me a little later with some of my friends traveling in it. We were three friends who were walking that fateful day. Like the last time we were taking full precautions required for walking on such a path like sticking to the sides, keeping an eye, actually more an ear on the occasional vehicles coming down as due to harshness of the path they made cacophony of sounds and couldn't be missed. As any such vehicle approached, we could hear it from far way and took to side of a of the road well in time.

Now what I am going to tell you is not from memory but what my other two friends told later. Out of the three people walking, I was in the front, second one was keeping up with me with occasional rise of a gap of few yards, the one at the rear used to fall back considerable by 8-10 yards or by a turn on the road. The one in the rear heard a vehicle coming down making lot of sounds, which we in the front must have heard too. It was coming with greater speed than usual and he had to jump aside. Then it reached us, with my friend who was just behind me barely could save himself and he gave me a shout too. But as far as I remember, I just saw a glimpse of a vehicle while responding to either with the vehicle's racy approach or the warning shout my friend made, before the vehicle hit me and the hilly side and tumbled partially over me.

My left leg was crushed and later somehow I got extricated out from under the vehicle. To his credit, driver didn't run away, the reason I am not sure, he hadn't suffered any serious injury. My other two friends were in shock, I was unconscious bleeding heavily and there was no help around. As there were no phone signals, somehow in another 20-25 minutes, my friends who were going to use the 4*4 hotel vehicle, came to know about the incidents, though not exactly the extent reached me. They found that I was lying bleeding on the road with Jeep precariously hanging over me.

They mounted the resuscitation straightaway, though definitely hampered by the emotional trauma they were going through simultaneously. All were doctors but chiefly the job was taken over by the ICU intensivist and the orthopedic surgeon. Using the jackets they made a bed for me on the Isuzu V Max, especially provided by our hotel, used belts and shirts as tourniquets to try to stem the bleeding, while the car sped towards the nearest local town.

While doing this, luckily by the grace of the almighty, my intensivists friend's in-laws were from the first town we would reach in half an hour. They were called to be ready with all the resuscitation medical required, when we reached there. That done, we sped to the nearest big hospital, which was in a city, a solid 50 minutes drive from there where again our reception and the freehand my friends were given to manage me in their acute care are, was facilitated by my friend's in-laws. My friends literally took control of the ICU and tried to further resuscitate and stabilise me. CT scans of the body were done, to rule out any other injuries, which thankfully I escaped from, again through God's Providence only.

My wound was thoroughly examined and the decision was made to shift me to a higher centre in Delhi immediately, which was still fraught with risk. Once again a journey having unknown fate for me was started in the ambulance accomplished by two of my friends, the intensivist and the orthopedic surgeon. During the journey they tried to give me blood, which they couldn't as I had reaction. Finally, the ambulance reached at the doorsteps of the army base hospital, Delhi at 2200 hrs, which was decided to be the place I was to be taken to, during my journey to Delhi, in consultation with my wife who was at that time in Pune, the place of her posting.

The people were ready, and I was straight way taken to the OT and was operated upon. In next two days, with my condition deteriorating, the decision for below knee amputation was taken and was done through. After spending seven more days in ICU, finally I stabilised and was shifted to the officers ward. Since then, I am working through pain, wound healing and process of rehabilitation, while in the ward. I still have to go through operation for shoulder fracture.

Now after getting through the acute phase, the process for lodging the FIR has started. Some questions which are going to be asked are:

  • The Bolero pickup which hit me, had no registration plate attached. Why?
  • Why was the pickup going so fast? Was it brake failure or the driver just lost the control?
  • Did the driver have any valid license?

The government collects so much money from us in the form of registration and other taxes and also fines us heavily when we commit a mistake. Now is it going to compensate me for failing to ensure a fit vehicle on the road, or for allowing an unregistered Vehicle to ply or may be a driver without a driving license.

Let's see, how it goes from here.

What will happen to my new Jeep Compass manual, which had the first long drive then. I am sure I would be able to drive again, but when, how, what car. Is my passion for long drives over.

I have not mentioned the actual name of the hotel, or the place as there is going to be legal process starting soon.

Finally I request you all to pray for me as I am sure only prayers saved me.

Drive safe.

Sincere regards.

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