Injured in Nairobi – Mended in the UK

Picking myself up off the ground, brushing off as much of the dust as I could, my initial thoughts were those of embarrassment. It was like when you trip over thin air and fall flat on your face in front of everyone at the bus stop, or when you misjudge the kerb and find yourself sprawled in the road with grazed knees. Even though I wasn’t entirely sure what had just happened, the acute awareness that I was lying on the ground in front of two dozen curious onlookers was enough to get me back on my feet.

Injured by a piki piki driver in Kibera, Nairobi“Pole” someone said.
Everyone else just stared.

It was then that I noticed the piki piki driver looking over his shoulder as he disappeared into the distance. Yes, he was the reason for my situation. I’d jumped down from the matatu at the terminus stage and been struck by a motorcycle taxi whose impatient rider decided it was a good idea to undertake. Of course, he wasn’t going to stop…he was in too much of a hurry. Possibly I shouldn’t be upset by that as, with an average daily take-home barely covering his rent in the slum, he would have been anxious not to miss another fare.

Bruised, sore, and nursing a rapidly swelling wrist, I headed home. Believing my wrist to be sprained, I strapped it up, took some painkillers, and got on with life. There was still work to be done at Future Stars and adventures to be had around Nairobi. So it wasn’t until I arrived back in the UK 5 days later that I got a second opinion.

Scaphoid cast - injured in NairobiUsing Cast Covers - Injured in NairobiIt was broken. I’d fractured my scaphoid bone.

Thanks to our wonderful NHS, I soon had a cast and a lot less pain.

Unfortunately casts are ugly, and their surface is rough leading to damaged clothing.  Fortunately I found a great company online ( that produce handmade covers for casts.  After a few email backwards and forwards, with the lovely Bob and Marion, to make sure I got exactly what I needed, I found myself furnished with two beautiful covers – ‘Flower Power’ and ‘Iced Cappuccino’.  They were perfect for protecting my clothes and looking a little more stylish than would otherwise be the case!

What did being injured teach me?

Well, I learned that the NHS we have here in the UK is something that we need to fight to protect.  I have had wonderful service from them throughout, which I could never have afforded if I’d had to pay privately:

  • 1 GP visit
  • 1 A&E visit
  • 7 x-rays
  • 1 MRI scan
  • 3 casts
  • 1 splint
  • 1 clinic appointment with the consultant…
  • …and another with his registrar.


I also learned that it’s perfectly possible to continue living and working with a broken wrist!  I learned that if I don’t worry about something, then it’s not so much a problem.  When there are other things going on that feel more important, then I can put the discomfort aside and get on with enjoying life and being productive.  Of course, if I’d had more than 5 days left in Kenya, I probably would have been forced to seek medical attention before returning to the UK.  As it was, I guess my timing was just lucky.

Oh, and finally, I learned to look for piki pikis when I jump out of a matatu!

Cast cover from - injured in Nairobi
Iced Cappuccino
Cast cover from - injured in Nairobi
Flower Power

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  1. Jeez! What a story. Glad you’re okay! If it happens again, it’ll cost you a bit, but Nairobi has great health care. Many of Uganda’s elites and expats fly there for treatment.

    I’ve had surgery in Uganda. Things are not as bad as all the marketing would have us believe.

    Glad to hear NHS is faring better than Canada’s Medicare. While I did have to pay, I got far better service giving birth in Uganda than I ever would have in Canada. Health care there is falling to pieces!

    1. Yes, there are some excellent hospitals in Nairobi (and I’ve been admitted to one in the past). In fact I believe Aga Khan is ranked as one of the best in Africa. My concerns were more insurance related – I have horrible insurance that refuses to cover the bills until I return to the UK. They require me to pay everything myself and then claim it back, which is a bit of an issue if there’s any significant costs involved as I don’t have much of a buffer in the bank!
      I didn’t know things were so bad in Canada (considering the number of US citizens who seem to cross the border for treatment) but I do know that what we have in the UK is something special. Unfortunately, our current government are trying to destroy it, but hopefully they won’t succeed.

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