Day 120 – Tunisia to United Kingdom, emergency pit stop to deal with dog bite and tooth infection
I took the very hard decision to not risk death by rabies today. I think I called it right, don’t you! This last week has been pretty tough – not the running or the travel really, it’s been more of an accumulative affect. Severe toothache, which stopped me sleeping and eating almost entirely, and then the added dagger to the side in the form of a very literal bite to the leg.
Waking up this morning I now have a nice yellow sphere of bruising around five chunky teeth marks. The dog wasn’t huge, but apparently his teeth were. Little devil.
After many conversations with the team, Embassy staff and Andy, I took the plunge to lose about £1,500 on flights and go home for some more jabs and a proper inspection of my tooth and gum.
It’s now the early evening – I am home in sunny Bristol going through the usual motions of washing clothes and booking various appointments. A very weird feeling, to be on home soil again. This little detour means I miss at a minimum one country and hopefully a maximum of four. Of course these will be slotted back into the itinerary later in the year, but let’s see if the dentist pulls my mouth apart first. I’ll keep you updated. Wish me luck!
Day 121 – United Kingdom, emergency dental work
Dental update! It’s good news! Having avoided the dentist for the last few years (if not decades), my tooth, to my surprise isn’t horrendous. I know, I know, I was a silly boy for not having my teeth checked for so long. Truth is, I’m a little scared of dentists. The consensus is: the gum, the tooth and a wonky wisdom tooth meant my gum was literally being chewed as I tried to speak or eat.
Thanks to the more relaxed drug laws in Africa, and actually most of the world, I was able to get hold of some hefty antibiotics specifically helpful for dental issues while in Algeria – so thanks to some great contacts for the names of these. Andy was also pretty darn useful to have around for a few days too. He hunted these down for me while I was curled up in bed feeling sorry for myself after little to no sleep. The antibiotics then allowed the dentist to have a look around without too much swelling blocking the view. The main headline today is – the gum is bad, but not to the point I’ll have to be home in surgery for weeks! Yipeee! Back on the road soon – just a little check-up and clean of the rest of my mouth tomorrow.
I should have been in Niger today, but instead I caught up with some old friends, went to the dentist and slogged through attempting to eat while my tooth throbbed angrily in the back of my mouth. Oh how we take things for granted, even the little things like teeth. But us Westerners don’t know we’re born (as my dad would say).
Day 122 – United Kingdom, rabies vaccination – did I really need to pop home?
Firstly, a big thanks to Nomad Travel Clinic in Bristol for sorting me out! You guys are great.
What, with the dog bite and the dodgy tooth, it seemed more sensible to come home, but thanks to the Bank Holiday closures around this time of year, I found it hard to make the call. The question was: do I really need to have an extra rabies jab if I’ve had one on day zero (day of bite) while in Tunisia? Today, with help from Nomad, not only did I get the extra jab, but they also confirmed that it was the right decision, I did need an extra jab. Phew. I made the right call. It’s felt like that for most of the trip, actually. Lots of split decisions, not really knowing what the right path to go down is – quite literally in some cases. The same goes for when dogs have chased me. Do I run, do I go on the offensive, or do I just walk away slowly? The answer on the last occasion was not to walk away slowly.
After the event, Andy and I joked about our stupidity – surrounded by dogs, we seemingly had no way to get rid of them. Andy went for the water bottle after a while, which is obviously one way to get the ‘bugger off’ message across. But what we only thought of moments later was that we had a huge arsenal under our feet – we were on a beach. We should have just kicked sand at them. In the words of Homer Simpson, doh!
Anyway, it happened, I’m back home for a couple of days, and tomorrow I have my teeth worked on and then I should be off to rejoin the expedition shortly after. I’ll keep you updated.
Day 123 – United Kingdom, dentists again!
What a privileged world we live in. Let’s recap…
All within the space of a few days, I had picked up an awful tooth infection, and then got bitten by a grumpy dog. This subsequently resulted in me feeling silly and sorry for myself. Thanks to science, medics, friends and minimal wealth I was able to find out which drugs I should take to get better, find these drugs within minutes, pay hardly anything for them, see a doctor for the right rabies jabs (in a foreign country, and in a different language), fly thousands of miles home, see a dentist (twice already, and for the bargain fee of only £21.50), and finally, have another jab at very short notice on a Bank Holiday. All of which stopped my pain, made me healthy and fixed my tooth. I am now on the road to, well, being on the road again.
My point is, which I’m sure you have already gathered – we are bloody lucky.
I stumbled upon some facts recently on a website called worldmeters.info which highlights key stats around the world. Here’s a few which made me think about how lucky I am, in so many ways:
– As of today, there are at least 826,916,525 undernourished people in the world.
– Today, at least 298,895 people will die from poor water sanitation.
– Right now, there are over 848,502,013 people with no access to a safe drinking water source. This number grows by one every second.
– This year, over 2.9 million people have died from cancer.
Maybe think about what you’re thankful for today. Share it around and make someone smile.
Thanks for all your support so far. It’s been really frustrating to come home when I want to be on the road. It’s at times like these, though, that I sit back and just appreciate today even more.
Day 124 – United Kingdom, FLIGHTS BOOKED TO REJOIN THE TRIP!
Today we agreed I could be back on the road and on to my 42nd marathon of the trip without any more delay. Yay! Thanks team. A huge thanks to Nomad, the British Embassy, and to all of you who have sent me great messages. A little bite and a sore tooth isn’t a big deal, but it did stop me in my tracks. Let’s get back to it now!
We’ve planned for days like this. Although we had built in some small contingency time for setbacks, I wasn’t really expecting to use them quite so soon. Oh well, I’ve only missed Niger, and Mali. These will be slotted in over the coming months. At least the plan works.
A sunny day in Bristol today. A few of us took a nice stroll around the harbour and tucked into some lovely grub. Thanks everyone. I wasn’t expecting tasty food, brilliant and familiar company, and such a sunny day. That said, it’s very odd to be back in my city. I also feel far more like me. My tooth has calmed down and my leg is now purple. I think that’s a good thing. It’s not hanging off.
Today was a rest with a little jaunt to meet up with the team. Flights are booked to rejoin the expedition on Saturday morning! London to Senegal, after one last bit of dental work on Friday.
Oh, and did I tell you, I’ve made some progress on the book front. This is all hush hush, but very exciting. This is the written ‘wordy’ book as opposed to the photography book. Sadly, though, the Kickstarter campaign for my photography book didn’t reach its goal in time. Don’t panic though – I’ll be launching the campaign again in the next few weeks. If you’re interested, please comment, and if you’d like to offer suggestions for pledge bundles, comment too! Thanks guys.
Day 125 – United Kingdom, whoop! Back on the road tomorrow. FEEDBACK DAY!
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I had to come home four days ago to get myself fixed – bitten by a grumpy dog combined with a tooth infection. I had little choice. Luckily I only missed 2 of the 196 countries, Niger and Mali, which I’ll catch up with another time. It’s nice to have my mouth back so I can eat and sleep comfortably now.
A big thank you to everyone who made my short trip back possible and worthwhile – the NHS, my dentist, Nomad, the British Embassy, friends – you’ve all been great.
My leg is fine, bruised and sore, but I’m not rabid (I think), and I can run. My toothache has subsided, the dentist worked their magic, and just a few final checks today and I’ll be on my way back to Africa tomorrow!
Saturday I’ll be back out – me and my bag will be in Africa, in Senegal, running my 42nd marathon so far. Only 155 marathons to go…
Day 126 – United Kingdom, packing day, Runner’s World article and my final dentist appointment
Back on the road in less than 24 hours. Next stop, Senegal, country number 42.
Packing, packing, packing! Oh, and I have a little article in Runner’s World this month. Hopefully more to come. Check it out if you’re interested. All other updates are on the website, at www.runningtheworld196.com
So today I had my teeth cleaned and polished, along with a couple of bits of work to ensure no pain. Thanks to the NHS, for such a bloody brilliant service. And thanks to my dentist and my team for fixing me so quickly.
I’ve just heard the sad news about the British couple and local guard who were kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of Congo yesterday. My thoughts are with all involved. Having gone through months of planning to understand the risks in various countries, I realise how common kidnapping is becoming. The stats are crazy. It’s safe to say it’s been on my mind after reading about their situation. That said, I’m looking forward to getting back to Africa and on with ticking off the next few countries.
I spent most of the day sorting out gear again while backing up all the photos I have. This challenge is one I will not complete anytime soon – so many photos! I admit I do get a little distracted with looking back through them. It’s nice to have the time actually.
Please continue to donate to Prostate Cancer UK via JustGiving. The easiest way is to search JustGiving Running The World 196. Cheers!
British Endurance Athlete | Motivational Speaker | Adventurer
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