How Couchsurfers saved my partner’s life

By: Philipp

By OgnjenO/shutterstock

A few years ago, I saw a small post in my local Couchsurfer group from a member in Singapore. She had suffered injuries during an adventure holiday and been put in our city hospital for a month. Imagine the boredom and loneliness! I enjoy chatting and meeting people. So I put aside time to go and see her in hospital regularly.

They say, what goes around, comes around.

A few months ago, my partner Hugh was run over at a pedestrian crossing by a government owned commercial grass cutter. The driver wasn’t paying attention and failed to give way. Hugh’s injuries were grave which meant hospital for him.

I was in charge of getting things right in the background. One part of that was to mobilise a support group of good people. That can mean using social media effectively. As soon as I could, I posted Hugh’s story on a Couchsurfing group I help moderate. The 60+ traveller group. It is a lovely group of nice Couchsurfers of mature years. I also posted his story on Facebook.

It wasn’t long and I was getting get well wishes to pass on to him in hospital. Most valuable was the advice I received from 2 Couchsurfer members . Both former nurses, both full of compassion. One in Denmark , one in the UK. They prefer to remain a little bit anonymous, but in the 60+ Travellers Couchsurfing group, they are well known.

Hugh was allowed home after the first few surgical procedures. A nurse came every day. But something wasn’t right. I posted photos on Couchsurfing and Facebook of what was happening at one wound site. I know that’s pretty gory, but we were perplexed, as that wound wasn’t responding.

Immediately the Couchsurfers from Denmark and UK told me what it could be. I knew I had to act fast and rush Hugh back to hospital. Of course Hugh didn’t want to go. He tried tried to tell me, as it is a Sunday, surely the hospital will be closed. Hours count in this sort of emergency.

It turned out to be an anaerobic bacterial infection that eats the flesh and bone. It was a race against time before toxic shock set in . The bacteria were antibiotic resistant, so it was crucial to find out exactly what they were. There was repeated surgery to clean the dead tissue. During this time, both Denmark and UK kept in touch, telling me what to expect to happen and why. Their timely advice and warnings helped save his leg and helped save his life.

By the way, it seems the bacteria were on the grass cutter as it cuts not only grass, but also animal poo and other nasties. Dirty grass-cutter to open bone contact.

Thanks Couchsurfing! You helped us live to have another adventure.

For those who have a medical interest. When I took Hugh back to hospital the second time, the wound was only showing as about 15mm x 15mm. (about the size of the top of your thumb) . The damage was happening underneath. Eventually a large piece of flesh had to be taken from his thigh to replace the flesh lost on his shin. A new titanium pin had to be installed in his tibia to bond the bone together again as parts of the bone were eaten away also.

Fortunately Hugh responded to treatment better than Santa Claus and his elf!

(Disclaimer: The third photo shows the wound. If you are uncomfortable with medical photos or photos of injuries please do not click through.)

Comments

comments

3 thoughts on “How Couchsurfers saved my partner’s life

  1. I am glad that the nurses were able to recognise the problem. It is a blessing for us all to see how this 60+ group is able to create connections all across the world. We are not strangers but friends who haven’t met

  2. Sometimes bad things happen in our lives, but this is a wonderful tale of people coming together for good outcomes! Bless those hearts of the nurses who came forward. I know we hear it a lot, but I love that Ram Dass quote that I hope I get right here. “We’re all just walking one another home.”

  3. I like to think all travelers share the same appreciation for strangers whether they are travelers like myself, or those we meet traveling.

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