Category Archives for Mishaps


Why Every Parent Who Dives Should Do a Rescue Course

Zac hanging off the descent line by his knees.

It’s easy to over-hype any form of diver training, particularly the ones that PADI provides – CMAS covers several of the skills PADI teaches in its Rescue Course during its Open Water (1*) course, and all of them during its Advanced Open Water (2*) course. Still, assuming that, like most of the world, you learned […]


Death Drop in the Blue Hole

The Blue

With hindsight, it was not the best idea to take my 12-year-old son into Dahab’s Blue Hole, a dive site which claims the lives of adults regularly – albeit usually adults diving way beyond recreational diving limits without the required equipment or skills. Yet, as The Whore, Zac and I set out with X on […]


Fit to Fly?

Sign reading YES made with yen, euro and dollar signs - TST, Hong Kong.

It’s an indulgent buckshee week in Hong Kong. Zac and dad head to the movies, to the arcades, barely surfacing from the air-conditioned tunnels and plazas that link one mall to another, except to indulge in Adventure Time marathons on Cartoon Network. Me? I engage in that mixture of pissing around on social media and […]


No Stress

Zac and Dad colour

Zac emerges from his anaesthetic quite comically belligerent, a state that isn’t helped by Helen, the anaesthetist, and Doctor Wong, who are standing beside him giggling. “GET THE BLOODY NURSES TO TAKE ME UP ALREADY!” he bellows. “No! I want to go up! And there’s no space for my arm on this thing!” “He won’t […]


Good to Go!

Zac being prepared for surgery in Hong Kong.

There’s a bustle in the room when I snap awake, an orderly cluster of pastel-dressed nurses, neat in pink, apricot, mauve and chocolate, emitting the sort of gentle efficiency that, as a convent school girl (insert your own joke here), I still associate with nuns. Zac is still sleeping the sleep of the dead, but […]


The Longest Night

Detail of MRI scan output.

After Zac’s epic and terrifying reaction to Stemetil, I am now quietly confident that everything that could go wrong already has. After a refreshing cigarette or five, I locate the floor that has free coffee and make myself some, then rejoin my spawn and his father in the quite ludicrously sci-fi basement of the Union. […]


What Else Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Zac in MRI Scanner

The Union hospital stands tower-high among the green hills of the Sha Tin district in Hong Kong’s New Territories. Jungle winds between luxury condos, car lights wend their way to glittering mansions, the neon of the city shines below us in the velvety dark. It’s harder to find a bigger contrast to our normal Hong […]


Air Ambulance to Hong Kong

Land ambulance and air ambulance on tarmac.

It would be a strange — or very wealthy — person who wasn’t excited about travelling on a private jet. Sure, in our case, said private jet is an air ambulance, and said air ambulance has been preceded by a broken arm and rising five days of logistical hell, of which helicopter evac was only […]


Emergency Medical Evacuation – Less Fast than You Think

The Patient

Before Zac broke his arm, I’d assumed that emergency medical evacuation was, well, a fast process. You know. Just look at those three words: “emergency medical evacuation”. It sounds like something out of one of those Vietnam War memoirs, built guys hanging by one arm from a helicopter’s skids, firing a submachine gun with one […]


Pizza, X-Rays and the Waiting Game

X-Ray of Zac's broken arm, showing displaced fracture of humerus.

The ambulance driver indicates I should buckle my seatbelt, which seems a little conservative of him until he hits the road. More than half the population of Mongolia lives in Ulaanbaatar, most of them appear to have taken their four-wheel drives out for a constitutional tonight, and their no-compromise driving style would make Chinggis Khan […]