What happens when you break your foot in Egypt?

broken foot

Most of us come to expect a certain level of health care in our comfortable Western Countries. Even when that care is down right rubbish it still runs rings around what you can expect in some other countries. So when I had the most embarrassing, low speed motorbike accident in history in Egypt, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.

First of all I was told it couldn’t possibly be broken, because if it was, there is no way I would be walking on it, so when I finally got my x-ray (which I managed to negotiate down to 40LE, or about $6USD) the man called for a second opinion to make sure what he was seeing was correct. That my foot was in fact broken, and I would need a cast, which would set me back another 100LE (about $15USD) and he assured me that this was “local price” and he couldn’t do it any cheaper.

Being Australian, I of course had a certain expectation of what my cast would be. So when he put the bandages that would set into my cast on the bottom of my foot, around my heel and up the back of my leg, I had to refrain from screaming “What the hell are you doing. That’s not how its done!” He then wrapped the rest with soft bandages and was done. He took my money and left with the parting words “you can’t put your foot on the ground for at least four days” No problem, give me some crutches and I’ll be off and running. But of course in Egypt, that’s just asking too much. They had crutches for rent, but the last person that needed crutches took them and never brought them back, so no more crutches.

So not only do I have this big embarrassing boot on my foot I’m now expected to what, hop home? Yep, that’s exactly what he had in mind. So hop I did. Into the taxi, up the stairs to my house, everywhere actually, until I managed to get my hands on a pair of crutches that set me back another 100LE.

Four days later I took the whole cast off anyway. Given my foot was broken at the top, and that wasn’t where the hard cast was, every time, I, or someone else knocked it I was in agony, so I figured I was better off just in bandages, and it healed up just fine on it’s own after six weeks. But oh well, you live and you learn. The moral of this story? Make sure you fork out for travel insurance so you can go to the nice hospital if you do happen to hurt yourself while overseas.

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