My choice to let go at that point or fight for my life was easy. My family were sitting on the beach waiting for me..how could I not fight.
At that time my girlfriend saw me and realised something was very wrong. She met me at the waters edge and I remember sinking to my knees and and grabbing her legs for support and saying to her out of a pain filled haze " Please, you've got to help me. I'm in big trouble." My surfboard was still strapped to my leg by the leash.
She and the surf instructor gentled me up the beach a little and lay me in the sand. My pain was unbearable. Within minutes there was a sea of faces above me and I can remember saying "if nobody here is trauma trained, get away from me." Through the pain I knew how serious this was.
A trained trauma crew and an ambulance were needed STAT. The nearest hospital with a theatre and ICU was an hour away.
I had to compress the next hour and a half into 15 second slots in order to handle the pain. To visualise an hour, plus, at one time was just unthinkable.
People on the beach swung into action and within 15 minutes a trauma ambulance with trained personel were on the beach barking orders. There is a small hospital in the village where a trauma ambulance just happened to be hanging around.
The paramedic was incredible. A real take charge kind of guy and within minutes of realising how life threatening my injuries were I was trussed up on a trauma board with my head in blocks like a thanksgiving turkey.
Minutes later, the ambulance, I, and a skinfull of morphine were on our way to Port Elizabeth at 180 kms per hour with my poor girlfriend trying to follow in a Landrover, having had to organise the welfare of 4 little ones at the same time.
I felt every bump in that road.
I was still in a huge amount of pain and was fidgeting on the stretcher. They pumped me full of pethadine which made me want to vomit. That would have been fatal because they wouldn't have been able to turn me over. Anti nausea medication took care of that.
My overiding memory of that trip was the paramadic saying to me repeatadly "Mr Macdonald, If you don't lie still you are never going to walk again."
Part 3 tomorrow