Saturday, 16 August 2014

Progressing well until a visit to an Urgent Care Centre.

(Boat Chalice - posted by Cath)
Post for Thursday 14th August 

Hebden Bridge
We headed up through Hebden Bridge. It looks interesting, although a bit 'alternative', and I would have liked time to explore, but that must wait for another visit, as we still have a deadline to meet.

Almost at the first lock we met with a hire boater who told us horror stories of other boaters stranded in shallow pounds without water for more than two hours, boaters who had turned back from going over the summit because of lack of water. However, for us, it's too late to turn back, so we kept going.

Hebden Bridge
We didn't actually have very many problems until we got to Todmorden, with the famous wall, described to me as a 50 foot wall - but reputed to contain more than 4 million bricks. Then we managed to let down enough water to keep going, with few real limitations. Having said that, the locks seem to empty slowly, and the ground paddles are quite vicious. Going uphill the paddles need to go up fairly slowly to prevent the boat being flung forward at the lock gates at speed. Because of this the locks seemed to fill more slowly than we are used to on our home territory.

Odin was dressed in his buoyancy aid, so that he could be on the back of the boat with me, while Alan went ahead and David worked the lock for me.  The weather was fine, and David even put sun block on - which always seems to be a signal for the heavens to open. Which did eventually happen, of course.

Canoe centre below Lobb Mill lock.
As we approached the summit of the Rochdale, still some half dozen or so locks down, we caught up with another boat working singly up the locks, they waited for us in lock 30. Alan went ahead with the bike to set the next lock, then radioed back that he had broken the head off one of our 'long throw' windlasses. The gates required a windlass to open then, and he had broken one of the aluminium windlasses while trying to open the gates. Almost immediately afterwards we got another radio message, which was garbled and difficult to understand, but it seemed that Alan had had an accident.

Lobb Mill lock
David ran through the rain along the towpath, I gunned the boat up the pound and brought it to a halt ready for mooring. Alan appeared through the rain, pushing the bike, with blood pouring from his cheek, and soaking the front of his clothing. He had been returning to the boat for another windlass, the bike had slipped sideways in the mud, and Alan had gone over the handlebars.

Another guillotine gated lock - in Todmorden, this time.
David took charge of the boat, mooring it, locking the bike up, explaining to the other boat crew what had happened, etc. while I looked at Alan's face. Not life threatening, but a mess, a very deep cut about an inch or so long an inch or so beneath his eye on his cheek. It was also filled with towpath grit.  I irrigated it with wound wash solution, and got Alan to apply pressure to sterile gauze to try to stop it bleeding. Then we got going on the Internet. The nearest Urgent Care centre was in Rochdale, some 7 or 8 miles away. A taxi firm was identified, and rung. They were very helpful, trying to work out exactly where we were, and helping us to find somewhere we could get to quickly. Then, dressing pressed to Alan's face, we set off down the muddy towpath towards our agreed meeting place with the taxi firm.

The "Great Wall of Todmorden" allegedly contains over 4 million bricks.
They found us quickly, and we were at Urgent Care within about 15 minutes. I registered Alan who went to sit down. Date of birth? Name? So you live in Berkhamsted then. Any other injuries? Within the last hour? Religion? and so on...

After an hour he was seen by the Triage nurse, who said that he would have to wait another hour and a half or so to be stitched. Meantime we sat in the waiting room with a large number of people, none of whom seemed to have any visible injuries.

The locks are more attractive than Rochdale Urgent Care Centre!
The nurse who called Alan in for treatment was an experienced and very helpful person - quite honestly, just the sort of thing the NHS needs. She tried first to steristrip the wound, and because it went together so well she decided not to stitch. She called me in and showed me how well it had joined, and pointed to the skin below Alan's eye, which was now red and purple. She explained that as the skin was very tender, stitching it would be difficult, and it would be likely to tear, so she felt that in the circumstances it would be better to put a dressing over the steristrips. She then provided me with plenty of steristrips, dressings, etc. in case it needed re-dressing. She also put Alan on a course of anti-biotics, to prevent any bugs that he had picked up with the grit on the towpath. We were finished soon after 9 pm, about 3 hours after arrival. We got a taxi from the hospital back to Walsden where we had moored, and were back at the boat before 10 pm.

20 years ago if we had been in this situation we would have had to walk to the nearest payphone, to ring the hospital, and to ring the taxi firm. We would have been operating in the dark, with no idea of local services. As it was we could identify where we were - from Google Maps - and then work out from that to what we needed to know. A matter of a few minutes on the Internet.

The couple on the boat that we had shared only one lock with had decided to moor up because of the rain - or perhaps because we seemed to be a bit accident prone. We hoped that they would decide that they wanted to share locks with us in the morning.

Hebden Bridge to Walsden
Miles: 7.0 (Chalice), 0 (Sickle), Locks: 22

Total Miles: 581.7, Locks: 352

No comments:

Post a Comment