SOS Air Ambulance revisited

It was twelve years ago this weekend that I realised that even ordinary-seeming mishaps on country walks can have very unfortunate consequences …

SOS Air Ambulance

March 20th, 2011

Poor Micheline.  Her pain, her distress was our Sunday Soap Opera.

We’d gone walking with our Rando del’Aubo friends, near Nébias again.  We’d yomped up a mountainside, two hours of it, and were looking forward to lunch in – oooh, maybe ten minutes.  That’s when Micheline fell over a tree root.

It was bad.  Very bad. Broken ankle?  Knee? We still don’t know.  Anny, who has GPS, ran off to find some kind of reception for her mobile, so she could ring emergency services, and give them our exact reference.

Pretty quickly, it became exciting.  We were fairly inaccessible, though not as badly so as we might have been, considering we were almost at the top of a (smallish) mountain: because there was, for the first time that morning, open land nearby.  A bright red ambulance service 4×4 came into view, then an ambulance, tossing about on the rutted track.  The sapeurs pompiers had to walk down into the woods, carrying all their equipment and a stretcher, to see Micheline, who was now in quite a lot of pain.  Then – wow!  A helicopter air ambulance hovered overhead, looking for a landing spot.

The pictures show the efficient and organised crew.  (11 of them, sapeurs pompiers, nurses, pilot) doing what they had to do in muddy, dirty conditions to get Micheline sedated and sorted and ready to be air-lifted to Carcassonne Hospital.  They don’t show the 4×4 being ignominiously towed out of the mud by a local farmer.

Despite our compassion for Micheline and the acute pain and discomfort she was in, we were quietly excited to be part of such a drama, the first apparently, in Rando del’Aubo’s long history of weekend walks.  No news from Micheline yet:  but she won’t be at work tomorrow.

That was all I wrote in the immediate aftermath of the accident. In fact, Micheline -who worked in a shop – was never fit enough to return to an on-your-feet-all-day job. The French Ramblers’ Association argued for months about whose insurance should pick up the tab for the helicopter call-out. It was all a sorry mess, and I’ve thought twice since then about venturing to out-of-the-way places for a solitary walk.

For Fandango’s Flashback Friday.

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

36 thoughts on “SOS Air Ambulance revisited”

  1. Wow, I’m sorry her recovery wasn’t great, but what an adventure. I too should probably think more about the ‘what ifs’, although in the fells we always take emergency first aid it wouldn’t be any use in this situation.


    1. Indeed. And I think smartphones have more capacity for getting emergency messages through than the mobiles we had then. But yes, it was pause-for-thought time, as on paper, it was the most trivial of accidents.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I too was feeling a (guilty) excitement at the drama – then I read your postscript. Poor woman. her experience makes me nervous. Tripping over a tree root is the sort of thing I can do quite easily. I have never damaged myself that badly, though I have broken bones. I do have a tendency to keep my eyes on the ground a lot more now.

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  3. You reminded me of a quote from Lord or the Rings: “Bilbo: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you’ll be swept off to.”

    Adventures have risk and you faced the challenge with calm resolve. I share your thought on thinking twice before entering to an out-of-the-way place.

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  4. Good grief! The sort of drama you don’t want to be at the centre of, poor lass! We had a minor drama up in the hills today when one of the ladies collapsed. It was a steep hill and she has a pacemaker so we were worried. Fortunately we were right at the end of the walk and the cars just a few yards away.

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  5. Who said hiking was good for you? I think I shall stick to my flat beaches and safe walks around the gardens, though I almost came a cropper in my own garden last year!

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      1. I will do it eventually. It was only a reconditioned one in the first place, and our tame computer repair shop think they could probably find a reconditioned screen.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Poor Micheline 😦 I’m prone to falling and rather easily distracted when walking so I can just imagine how that could happen. One moment you’re enjoying the walk and the next … I’m sorry to hear she never fully recovered.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh dear we take out bodies for granted and sadly injuries can’t always be full repaired, even these days. So pleased you didn’t seriously hurt yourself on the stairs. Phew!

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