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Old 12-25-2013, 07:21 AM   #16
blatant
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Wow. What a ride report.

Great photos man, some are nat geo worthy.

Really felt pretty rough reading the crash portion. Very glad you're ok.

If you compensated your helper, would AIG have covered that I wonder?

Thanks for posting.
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Old 12-25-2013, 07:30 AM   #17
Stevedw
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I had an accident in Portugal in which I suffered severe concussion, bleeding on the brain, broken ribs, punctured lung and a broken collarbone.
12-days I was given permission to fly back to South Africa whereupon my brain swelled up and when I landed I was back in ICU for another 2-weeks. My punctured lung was missed in Portugal, so drain was inserted in South Africa and then I had a decortication.
I don't remember anything of the accident or the day, being in hospital or the flight home (Porto-Madrid-Johannesburg). I didn't get/or lost vital documents/reciepts etc so when it came time to claim 3rd Party I discovered I didn't have vital bits like doctors reports/x-rays/accident report numbers/registration details/driver of other vehicle name etc ....so no claim!!!
Moral of the story, do not bump your head so hard that you can't remember any details of accident or consequences thereafter.
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Old 12-25-2013, 06:56 PM   #18
Falang OP
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About the helper. AIG would not pay for him, but Eric did not charge me for the two days and nights of his time either. AIG would not even pay for the toilet paper I used while in the hospital or the food we ate. Anything included in the hospital bill was reimbursed; anything not included was not reimbursed. The hospital did not have food or toilet paper, so no food or supplies were included in the bill. The hospital had drugs and needles, so those were paid for. I suppose since AIG reimbursed the unused portion of the trip expenses we were expected to pay for our own sustenance out of that, rather than double-dip. AIG paid for all lodging and evacuation costs other than the original return flight from Myanmar to Singapore, which I would have had to take anyway. The only way AIG might have paid for the helper’s wages would be if the helper was a nurse or other medical professional (get a copy of his license to prove it) AND if the doctor at Taunggyi had written in his medical report (get a copy with his name and signature) that 24-hour nursing was required during evacuation AND if I was still needing nursing care when I arrived back home in the opinion of the physician receiving me at the hospital. But if one is in such a state, how does one qualify for a Fit-to-Fly certificate? There seems to be a Catch-22 here.

About keeping records, it is imperative in third-world countries to keep your own records. One of the reasons for taking so many photos after the crash was to assist with the claim if necessary. I even photographed the Fit-to-Fly certificate being held by hands of the doctor in front of the hospital sign, just in case. My helper fully understood this, and was meticulous about collecting chits for me for everything.

I took this candid photo a few years ago in the records office of the Superintendent of Police in Chennai, where they had lost my visa renewal application—fortunately, I had made copies!

Photography was strictly prohibited of course!

I would like to find a good medi-evac service for the whole region where I could just push one button on my phone and they would take care of me. Any recommendations, based on experience?

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Old 12-25-2013, 08:41 PM   #19
TonyBKK
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Absolutely fantastic pictures, except this one:


The look on our face says it all; what a shame your adventure was cut short by such an unfortunate accident, but, at least you are on the mend, and it could have been worse!

Despite all the hassles with AIG you'd purchase coverage from them again... I'm wondering if there are any other companies that might be worth looking at?

Ride on!!
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Old 12-25-2013, 08:43 PM   #20
steved57
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Awesome pics and would love to visit there . Sorry about your injuries and glad you healed up ok
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Old 12-27-2013, 03:32 PM   #21
dgeezer
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Your pain wasn't wasted.

Falang, just wanted you to know that your story has passed on to others
and is doing some good. My daughter leads uni groups on distant trips for their masters and phd studies. She leaves tomorrow , the 28th , with 12 youthful ladies to Burma. Your idea of keeping all records, air line numbers, and medevac
numbers as well as other records of costs, will greatly aid her efforts.
Your ideas are some I would never has thought. She was also appreciative of the photos. Like you said, and she agreed,the infastructure is very reminiscent of India. Normally she has used credit cards, this time she is
taking cash, new USD $100, which are now blue in color. She said she hopes
that they will be accepted. Thank you for the good input. Enjoyed your report and pictures.
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Old 12-28-2013, 12:52 AM   #22
Falang OP
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For emergencies, a secret stash of brand new $100 bills are advisable but for everyday purchases she will also need a wad of smaller brand new ones and tens to buy things and to exchange for Kyat as she goes along. You can buy anything with small brand new US$ bills, but the change will be in Kyat and Kyat are worthless outside of Myanmar. As of last year, what you bring in brand new US$ cash is all you will have to spend when you are there, and vendors will pick through your cash and only take those bills which are literally mint. I didn't believe this and also brought some US$ bills I had on hand that were in very good shape but not perfect, and I could not spend those bills when I was there.

I photographed these signs at the reception counter in that $350 a night hotel when I was going home:


ATMs are starting to open but it is too early to rely on them especially outside of Yangon. In a year or two this problem will surely be gone; the urban areas are developing fast. The country has about the same area and population as Thailand next door, but its economy is still just a fraction of Thailand's size. The country is full of people with drive and integrity and is rich in natural resources. Foreign workers from Myanmar are highly regarded here in Singapore.

I asked my helper whether people there preferred their country to be called Myanmar or Burma, and he said Myanmar. I asked why, because I thought Myanmar was a recent rebranding exercise by the generals, and he said Myanmar is better because the Burmese are the dominant ethnic group but only 2/3 of the Myanmarese are Burmese; the name Myanmar is more inclusive. It turned out that my helper was Myanmarese but not Burmese. It seems that calling Myanmar Burma is like calling Britain England; it annoys the Scots and Welsh when foreigners are insensitive to the difference.

NEWS FLASH - received last night from Myanmar: "8 kbps is the internet speed on average now, they blame it on the SEA Games but it sucks. In Naypyidaw EVERYONE got a new, 2nd hand from Japan/Thai Honda or Lexus or Toyota or you name it ... absolutely ZERO decrepit old cars now. Gone. Poof. It's amazing ... I never seen anything like it ... And no more local cola from Maxx, Limca, and Crusher....only Coke, Sprite, and Sunkist now "Manufactured with pride and love in your very own country of Myanmar, wishing you wealth and prosperity."

Falang screwed with this post 12-28-2013 at 05:43 AM
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Old 12-28-2013, 07:38 AM   #23
Woosha
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Falang, what a difference a year makes! We had no problem finding ATMs in Yangon, and managed to pay with credit card at most of the hotels we stayed at in Yangon, Bagan, and Mandalay.
Your advice about cash still stands for anyone going to Myanmar though, the whole situation is so dammed changeable...
I'll give you an example.
I was helping source a visa for a friend of mine from here in Kuala Lumpur. The sign in the window of the visa section of the embassy outlined that Australians (amongst others) could obtain visa on arrival at Yangon. I asked the man behind the desk, and he told me it wasn't true, only business visas could be obtained on arrival. So between the time the sheet was printed and hung, it hadn't faded before the rules had changed again.
Anywho. Somewhat off topic. I had no idea you could ride as a foreigner in Myanmar... it's certainly got me thinking...

I'm sorry you had to go to such extreme lengths to experience Burmese hospitality! It's that business of not riding. Like I tell my wife, I've never once hurt myself while riding a bike. Walking, on the other hand... dangerous stuff!
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Old 12-28-2013, 05:43 PM   #24
Falang OP
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Your visa experience is interesting. I think the Heisenberg Uncertainly Principle operates. I had a pre-arranged visa (December 2012) to avoid any problems but I could have gone without one and received a visa on arrival. When I arrived from Singapore the Yangon airport was packed with tourists, as bad as an airport gets:


The pre-approved visa line was not as long as the visa-on-arrival line but in Yangon the processing for each pre-approved person took much longer. Go figure! The long visa-on-arrival line was cleared before the short pre-approved visa line was cleared. It took around two hours get through even though I had a pre-approved visa.
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Old 12-29-2013, 08:16 AM   #25
WesleyDRZ400
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"In Singapore my blood oxygen was measured and was low. I was rushed into a CT scan, which confirmed a collapsed lung. I was given blessed morphine and was comfortable for the first time in two days. At first the doctor thought I would need a skin graft because the broken bone had nearly poked out through the skin and killed part of it, but the surgery was in time to save it"

Glad it all worked out well for you in the end, nice ride report.
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:04 AM   #26
ZEmann
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WoW
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Old 01-11-2014, 12:38 AM   #27
Falang OP
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I just had a one-year post crash physical, including spirometry and a treadmill stress test. To my delight, the spirometry and treadmill results were both slightly better than before the crash. My iron lung is working again!

But can I scuba dive again with a healed traumatic pneumothorax? Not a good idea, the pneumologist here says, but he leaves it up to me. He says he would never dive again unless he were a commercial diver because he says scar tissue will never be as stretchable as normal lung tissue and breathing air at up to four times atmospheric pressure will cause unnatural (and, more to the point, unnecessary) stress on points of weakness. One little bubble to the brain, expanding four times as you surface, and you’ve had it. But then he wouldn’t ride a motorcycle either. I pay him to tell me this.

But that’s not what I read on the web, to wit:

According to the British Thoracic Society Fitness to Dive Group:
http://www.brit-thoracic.org.uk/Portals/0/Guidelines/Diving/Guidelines/diving.pdf
“Previous traumatic pneumothorax may not be a contraindication if healed and associated with normal lung function, including flow-volume loop and thoracic CT scan.”

According to the British Sub-Aqua Club https://www.bsac.com/Default.asp in their document, “Pneumothorax and Diving”:
“There is no reason to suppose that such individuals will be at increased risk of pulmonary barotrauma when diving, provided that there has been complete resolution of associated lung pathology. Resolution should be assessed by CT scan of the chest and lung function tests, including a flow-volume loop.”

PADI’s website has no documents on “pneumothorax” for some reason.

That sounds encouraging. Have any ADV Riders collapsed a lung in a crash and resumed scuba diving after healing?

The rainy season around here ends in a few weeks. Next month I am going to start wandering north to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos (with or without some diving). Any fellow wanderers going my way and looking for a riding buddy? Please PM me and lets see if we can synchronize.
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:31 AM   #28
FREDO RIDER
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Awesome RR!
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:12 PM   #29
Jisei
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Memories

I was in Yangon on business for a month in 1999. It seems a lot has changed and a lot stayed the same. Fantastic RR. Glad you healed up ok!
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:38 AM   #30
The Bigfella
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I first read of your experiences a year or so back, on rideasia.net It had a significant impact on me, as did the subsequent experience Eric had in Cambodia with a broken leg. My travel kit now includes Endone and Targin (and a doctor's letter to cover it) because of what you went through.


Thanks for the full report.
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