2 May – Accident in Umbria

2 May – Accident in Umbria

Today was a bit of a disaster, because I fell off the bike and injured myself.

However it started out well, with a good breakfast at the hotel. This hotel obviously caters for nationalities other than Italian, as there was bread, cheese, fruit, yogurt, muesli for breakfast – as well as cake and excellent coffee. We met another guest over breakfast – a very healthy looking older Dutch  man who was walking a pilgrim trail – about 20km per day.

Our travel distance was modest today – only 45km – so planned because we knew there would be some big hill climbs.
The first hill presented a long hot climb, alongside olive trees again. We pushed the bikes up part of the way. The steep narrow road “Strada Comunale di Liè” was also used as a walking track by a woman who was possibly a pilgrim.

We then traveled on a road that snaked alongside the bigger SS3 for most of the day – with very little traffic.  We paused briefly at the town of Nocera Umbra, before we turned east on another small road for a big hill climb. Here is the view of the town on our way up the hill.

The road was very quiet – no one around. We rode past some ski fields. Then down the other side – the road condition was awful – lots of patches and pot holes and patches of lose gravel – which turned out to be my downfall.

This photo was taken just before my fall.

I came off the bike on some gravel, not at very high speed because I was nervous with the poor road conditions on the steep hill – I managed to cut my knee open quite badly – right through the skin. The bicycle was fine so I got back on and caught up with Kris. I cleaned the knee with a sterile wipe at the side of the road, but couldn’t get a bandage to stick, so in the end I just rode on with the open wound – stopping every now and then to prevent blood from flowing onto my socks. We were about 8km from our destination.

Kris sent a text message to the accommodation to ask if there was a nurse or doctor in the village who could stitch up a knee.

I was not feeling too bad – the last few km were quite easy and I went slowly – I even stopped to to take some photos of the beautiful countryside. Here is Kris catching up with me after sending a text.

When we reached the small village of Molinaccio, I waited at the center by a little church while Kris went on ahead to find our accommodation – about a kilometer away.

After a few minutes, a man came by in a pick up truck and stopped because he saw my bleeding knee. He didn’t speak any English of course, but phoned someone on his mobile phone. A few minutes later another man appeared in a small car with a first aid kit. They sat me down at the water fountain, and began to administer first aid – cleaning the knee and applying a bandage. In the meantime Kris reappeared with our hostess Anna, also with first aid kit.

Anna took me to the hospital emergency department at Fabriano – about 20km away – while Kris took my bicycle back to their place.

I can report that the Italian medical system is excellent. They were unsure how to process me at first – looked at my passport and took my NZ address – evidently I came up on their system as a homeless person. Then we only had to wait for about 20 minutes.

The doctor spoke English and had two nurses assisting him. I got the full treatment -they washed out the wound for a long time and very thoroughly which was excruciating – “there are lots of little stones in your knee” – he said. The doctor checked the ligaments (fine), they X-rayed the knee from three different angles, gave me a tetanus shot, antibiotic pill, local anesthetic (very painful!) and nine stitches across my knee. I was out of there in not time clutching a script for the rest of the antibiotic treatment. I had to pay about 14 Euros for the antibiotics and some bandages at the next door pharmacy – but otherwise there was no charge for my treatment at all.

I only realised that I left my merino hoody in the hospital when we got back home – it served me well on all our previous bicycle trips and was getting a bit worn – now I will need to replace it.

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