The last few years I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time in Majorca, in fact my last blog entry was in Majorca deep water soloing. It has lots going for it; it’s hot, has warm water, the climbing is some of the best in the world, it’s cheap and the food is great. This time I went with Leah Crane, her boyfriend Simon and my old travel friend Alex who makes an appearance in most of my blogs.
We got off to a pretty good start, on sighting most things that we worked last time. Leah hadn’t really done much DWS and Simon had done none so we started at some of the smaller crags, and as the week went on we gradually went to larger areas getting braver and braver. The trip seemed to mainly consist of an 11am start, climbing till around 6 or 7, then find somewhere quiet for the evening.. some food a little chill out, a game of cards. We only really had one rest…ish day in the middle of the week where we did a couple of hours climbing then built the best sand castle known to man (at least we thought so).
One day it was decided that we’d hire some mopeds (who knows what’s coming next), it was the second to last day, everyone was pretty tired so we would have a drive around some local villages in the morning, get some lunch, head to the crag for a little climbing session then save ourselves for the last day climbing.
Around 2 hours after hiring the mopeds, Alex (not really the best driver in the world) has the slowest crash I’ve ever seen. He leans into a corner but going too slow puts his foot down, his foot stays in the same place he carries on going forward, then falls off the other side of the bike. Immediately he jumps up to say that he’s ok but drops straight back down with his leg pointing in the wrong direction.
One ambulance later, a long trip to hospital, still no gas/air/painkiller, being told by a doctor that Alex had no current insurance, his E1 11 card had expired and was going to receive no care until proof of payment was in front of them. With a potentialy large bill for surgery they wouldn’t let him fly out of the country until he had been operated on. I know I’ve had better days, pretty sure Leah & Simon had and almost definite this was the worst day of Alex’s life.
So after wondering if I could pretend Alex Dalton was Dan Bradley so he could use my insurance, handing over my credit card details, making some long phone calls to the British government / NHS, attempting to smuggle him out of the hospital on the recommendation of some UK surgeons (didn’t work), a change of hotel because the nearest hospital that could do the surgery was 70 miles away, seeing Leah and Simon catch the flight home, it was sit down time, get comfy and wait.
Thankfully after a day the NHS faxed through a provisional E1 11 so we managed to get a lot of the care paid for. The hospital operated, didn’t really do a good job, I hung around in a dive of a hotel for 5 days with not a lot to do but worry. Eventually they just discharged him with hardly any painkillers and ten syringes. Not really knowing what to do with these I rang a few friends and it turned out it was heparin an anti-coagulant which I need to inject into his stomach every 24 hours… ha ha ha ha!
Well obviously we got back, and after landing I drove straight to Queens Medical Hospital where I had the telling off of my life for flying him home to soon. Well what to do when the hospital discharges you when your body isn’t ready, you’re sat in a hotel bleeding, with no painkillers and no more money? In around 3 months time he would be ok again… but for me I needed to get to Kalymnos, a small Greek island where I was supposed to be working 5 days ago. I drop him off at the folks to recover and know I will probably find him when I get back still in bed recovering mentally.
The moral of the story, get insurance, check your E1 11 hasn’t expired and never go on holiday with your friend when your mates call you collectively team danger.
Ed’s note: Dan and Alex did actually get some DWS done in Mallorca, check out their efforts on You Tube.