Friday, June 6, 2008


My choice to let go at that point or fight for my life was easy. My family were sitting on the beach waiting for 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


Marbella said...

Dougal, thanx for Part 2, but where in the world is Part 3? What I want to know is how you are right this minute? With one of those cages screwed into your head? Am so sorry you went thru all that, and so thankful you are able to tell it to us. Your good physical shape must have been a big factor in helping you survive. Do take care.

Mike Groom said...

Dougal, hope things are going better for you now. It's like reading some sort of surreal piece of fiction. I just can't believe it.

Keep well my friend.

p.s. your story made my blog entry of the day (posting in about 4 or 5 hours).

Andrew said...

Hey Dougal,

Don't post this comment in your blog, tried emailing you to find out how you are doing but I got a kickback. Drop me an email to if you have the strength so that I can mail you mate. Hope you are doing OK, in fact I'm sure you are knowing your strength of convictions.

Take care mate, and I hope to email you soon.


Debbie said...

How many parts will there be? What an incredible story. I'm with Lynda. We want to know how you're doing now!!

Shari Kraft said...

Geez Dougal! My heart is with you, man! I'm saying a prayer for you right now!!!

My 1-2-3 Fat Loss Solution said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your injury, but glad to know that you are on the mend. I've no doubt that you will make a full are a fighter. Keep us posted and sending good thoughts and prayers your way.

Your Grateful Cyber-friend, Christy said...

Dougal. I'm so sorry this happened to you. Thank God for your quick thinking, the miracle of a trauma crew not too far away. Many prayers to you and your girlfriend and your family. This is so hard to read that I cannot even imagine how hard it is to type out let alone LIVE THROUGH. If it offers a small bit of consolation this is a really, well-written account. :) A very weak attempt at levity. I really hope you're not in too much pain. You're a really brave man.

dougal said...

Lynda - yep scaffolding and all screwed into my head. Unbelievable. My physical condition was definatly a factor in me being alive and not a quad, apart from God's miracle of course.
Here is part 3.

Mike, I'm telling you man, this is where you find out what you are made of.

Debbie, I'm just back from a month in hospital and am, very week. Hence one part at a time. Day by day.

Shari - thank you for visiting and for prayers. Please come back.

Hey Cristy, my good friend. Maybe this'll turn me into a writer. Take a look at Part 3. You are looking unbelievable BTW.