I made two fruitless calls to the Sydney contact no. for British Airways, and was told that obviously I could not now sit in the exit row seat I had paid extra for but that the cost would be refunded (not done so far) and they could give me an aisle seat so that I could stick my fully plastered leg out?!? I wonder how they thought that was going to work for other passengers trying to get past or for the trolley service? They were not prepared to offer me a business class seat until 1st (or even possibly 7th) April despite the fact that my Medical Certificate said I was fit to fly but should keep my leg elevated for the journey and seek urgent orthopaedic attention at home. The second guy I spoke to suggested that I stay in Australia for another six weeks until my cast comes off and then call them back for another seat. The online 'Customer Care' (misnomer) form responded with a case ID No. and then nothing else. Frankly their lack of even the pretence of interest was disgusting and it was a pleasure to fill in their Contact Centre feedback form! My insurance company clearly had the same experience because they got me onto a Qantas flight for the next day. I flew back in business class and had wheelchair assistance throughout. The Qantas crew, both on the ground and in the air, could not have been better and certainly made a painful experience as bearable as it could be. In terms of travel insurance I had bought a 90 day Backpacker Policy for Australia/New Zealand from 'Go Walkabout' and it cost me £90.95. Their policy covers all kinds of sporting activities as standard some of which other insurance companies wont touch without extra premiums. I emailed them as soon as the accident happened and kept them informed of each new development. I sent copies of all hospital notes etc which their company doctor reviewed promptly and then made a decision about my case as a matter of urgency. The emails I received from their Emergency/Assistance Operations Department were always friendly and extremely helpful. I really cannot praise this company enough and would certainly recommend them and use them again myself for future travels.
So, I got back into London at 6am yesterday and went straight to my GP on the way home. He has given me a referral for the fracture clinic at the local hospital and I have an appointment with them on Tuesday morning. It looks like six weeks in plaster whether I go for an operation to repair the tear or let it heal by itself but obviously I need to take medical advice on this. Hopefully they will be able to give me a smaller and lighter cast so that it will be easier to keep my foot off the ground when walking with crutches.
A bit of a sad end to my trip but thank goodness it was at the end and not the beginning and apart from having to cancel the hang gliding with Becky I did not miss out on anything else. Even the weather in Sydney was bad for the last four days with thunderstorms and heavy rain so it was no hardship to sit with my feet up and a couple of good books. I have had an absolutely brilliant time during the last three months and have met some really wonderful people. Some of them have been reading my blog and I know that some of us will stay in touch. To everybody who has shared this journey with me, either in person or by reading my log entries, thank you! It was started to keep my friends and family informed about where I was and what I was doing but I know from the statistics that many others have been following it. If you are travelling in that part of the world I hope you have found some of it useful for your own plans and for those armchair travellers I hope it has been interesting and a little bit entertaining.
Now I have to heal my leg and find a new job but as soon as I am fit enough I will be enjoying more of the adrenaline filled experiences I have discovered during this trip and I'm already wondering where I should travel to next?