It’s our families tradition and we feel blessed to travel to beautiful Bali and its surrounding Islands for a month every year in July. Last July I felt a era and a much loved tradition in my families life had ended as we wouldn’t return in July 2012 for our months pilgrimage due to Molly’s year 12 study commitments. As the plane left the tarmac of Denpasar many tears trickle down my face as a month in Bali every year bonds our family together, not only whilst in Bali but through out the year with constant chatter and laughter about our up and coming trips. 2012 would see myself do my numerous buying trips, Molly and I to have a mother and daughter adventure and the boys would plan a 3 week surfing holiday to Legian, Lombok and Sumbawa… This is there story… 21st April – 11th May 2012 | John – 49 | Darcy – 15.
Day One: Legian… Up early try to hire a bike or car from Ketut, no luck so hire a bike from Sinar Bali Resort. Head to Kuta Reef 3 – 4 foot good fun. Spend the afternoon getting money changed, surf board covers and supplies. Dinner at our Fav Wally Warungs.
Day Two: Up earlier so we head to Kuta Reef but flat, so we get the hire car and head to Ulu’s. 3- 5 feet great fun. Head back to Legian and head to the beach to see all our Bali family and hand out the 2000 Easter eggs Niki has packaged up for all the Bali Family… I think they weighed 12 kilo… Dinner at Bamboo Warung. We ring Niki she is so excited we are here eating in her fav Warung and Darcy is eating Satay chicken…
Day Three: Up before light we drive to Ulu’s a bit smaller 3 – 4 foot, take photos and buy photos. Darcy 2 surfs, me the old bull 1. Head back through Legian to pick up washing. Decide to go to Canggu for a late surf. Traffic is a nightmare. We get stuck behind a ceremony parade at Canggu that goes for miles and miles. Good fun surf 3 – 5 foot. I ding my board. Dinner at Sinar and pack our gear ready for our flight to Lombok tomorrow.
Day Four: Up @ 5.30 am to go to the airport. Check in all good. It rained all night last night gotta go flight boards in 20 mins. Arrive @ new airport in Lombok and of course greeted by Rian and David. 25 mins to Kuta Lombok. We quickly check in and head to Grupuk. Surf Outsides 3 – 4 foot, come back and have lunch at Surfers Inn. At 3 pm we head back to Grupuk its a bit windy but still fun. Dinner tonight at Sonya’s. We up grade our room to a family suite (why not). Darcy and I say the ode and a have a minutes silence for Anzac Day… Lest we Forget.
Day Five: Leave Surfers Inn at 6.30am and head to Eka’s, its a good road now and only a 40 min trip. Take boat across the bay to insides Eka’s Darcy goes out but too fickle. We are starving so we head back to Kuta and Darcy shouts us all lunch (Rian, David, Mansaur and Myself) Yeh. Head back to Grupuk wind offshore 3 – 5 foot barrelling great surf. Dinner at Rian and Aniks compound, once again beautiful food and Anik spoils Darcy with fried Tofu. Very early night Darcy and I watch a DVD.
Day Six: Up early sitting here with Darcy waiting for Brekky to open then we are off to Grupuk. Darcy straight into the surf. I go trawling with Captain and Rian we get 1 nice fish and spectacular scenery. Surf 4 – 5 feet barrelling so good. Back again at 2.30 at Grupuk 4 – 5 feet and barrelling again. Take Lombok family out to Solah Cafe and Darcy and I have Mahi Mahi (chontik..) Early night watching DVD Great way to finish our stay in Lombok was well worth coming.
Day Seven: It’s Saturday I have to write it down as I am already forgetting what day it is. Which of course is a good thing. Head to the airport with Rian say good – bye. Good flight to Bima. Straight thru the airport, no hassles and on our way to Lakey Peak (some 3 hours away). Arrive 12.30 and have a quick lunch and head to Periscopes 4 – 6 foot glass and stand up barrels for Darcy and I. Darcy thinks it’s probably the best surf he has ever had. I get a good hold down and swallow water so head in to the beach for a spew and a rest. 20 minutes later I m back out there as it is so good. In the end we have to come in because we are so so tired. Dinner at Aman Gati best Nasi Goreng of my life. In bed asleep by 8.30am What a day… Yeh Hah….
Day Eight: Up at 6am today Darcy straight out to Peak 4 – 6 foot and perfect. I paddle out for 40 min session, too crowded so head in for brekkie and back out by 9.30am. Darcy still out there. I have 1.5 hour surf very good and then meet Darcy back at Resort with our mate Finda. It’s now 2 pm and Darcy just came in for lunch. We are both heading back at 3pm to periscopes and hopefully another good session. Not to windy so hope it stays like that. Dinner at Lakey Beach Inn.
Day Nine: Out at Lakey Peak at 6.30am great waves for Darcy. I go to periscopes and score a great 45 min session till the tide gets to low. Brekkie together then head back out to Peak. I surf on Molly’s board and loved it. Lunch together had a rest. Just checking out cobblestones and periscopes to see what there like as has been windy for last 3 hours but calming now. 4.30pm we head to Periscopes, bit fast but get some good waves. Darcy reckons no good but I just think he is too buggered. Lakey Peak Inn for Dinner… Terrible Nasi Goreng.
Day Ten: Head out to Nunga Dores. Darcy goes out and I video him. Not very good so we head back. Darcy and I just chilling now wind is up, we will probably have a late one. I have very bad stomach cramps but she’ll be right. Looking at going to Magic Point tomorrow with 3 others, 800,000 RP. I don’t surf today as stomach cramps severe Darcy has a late one at Lakey Pipe. Early night Dinner at Aman Gati in room as I can’t go any where.
Day Eleven: It’s Wednesday Darcy is going to Magic Point. I feel a lot better but will take it easy as surf has dropped off. Think I’ll head down for a swim. Darcy back from Magic Point @ 9.30am surf no good so boat drops them off at Lakey Peak. He has a fun 2 hour surf 3-4 feet. Lunch at Aman Gati (schnitzel burger) so yummy. We borrow a dry bag from Cody a young surfer girl from Australia, so I can walk out to the towers with good camera to take video of Darcy at Lakey Peak. Come in and chill out 4.30pm…. NIGHTMARE BEGINS…..
At 4.30 pm I walk out the front of Aman Gati to check surf and contemplate a bintang. I am sitting on a plastic chair when a wave of pain runs thru my stomach (not good) I quickly walk back to the room and ask Darcy to open the door. I lay down on the bed when the most severe of severe cramps hit my stomach, lasting for about 10 minutes then they backed off. Darcy could see the pain I was in. I felt better for about 20 minutes then the next cramp came but this time of the scale if you ask 1 being nothing to 10 this was a 15… I knew something was really bad. I called reception to ask for a doctor and they rang a Paramedic.(hahaha) from Hu’u village. In the meantime I advised Darcy to pack up all the gear, fins out of the boards etc etc and to pack all our important documents into our back packs. You know when you ask most little boys who their hero’s are, and they will usually say there Dad’s. Well today my little man, my Darcy was my Hero. What a saviour he was, he showed maturity way beyond his years and took over and took control. Thanks little man.
In the mean time Billy a young Aussie lifeguard we had befriended found a young American women staying at the hotel who was a doctor. She arrived about the same time as the so called Paramedic. She assessed me the best she could and suspected either appendix or Gall bladder. Little did I know she was spot on. Billy advised Darcy to go with me in the Ambulance (a truck) and I use that word very lightly to Dompu Hospital about 1.5 hours away from Aman Gati. Billy and Aman Gati staff looked after our gear for us and off we went.
The ambulance consisted of a stretcher bed, 1 seat in the back. The paramedic rode in the seat next to me while her husband drove and Darcy nursed there baby girl on his lap. About 20 minutes down the road we stopped to pick up some random bloke. Then we were off again, at this stage the Paramedic decided it was time to put a drip in my arm… yes along this very bumpy dirt road / track. After a few failed attempts Darcy DEMANDED THEY STOP. That’s my boy, 10 minutes later we hit the hell part of the road. I was in agony, and we could only travel at about 10 – 15 kms.
Darcy and random old mate were by this time in the back trying to hold me on the bed the best way they could. Darcy holding my hand and rubbing my forehead the whole way. At one stage I said to Darcy “Could you punch me in the face so I could forget about the pain”. The trip felt like it went for about 5 hours.
We arrive at Dompu Hospital and they take me straight into a room with curtains and two make shift hospital beds, they were built I’d say in world war 2. No sheets, a very basic local hospital full to the brim with local patients and there families. It seems (and later I find out it is true that in Indo if your family is sick you all go to the hospital to look after your loved one because there isn’t enough or any staff for that matter to care for you). At one stage we had about 10 people in our room and no English being spoken whats so ever… They put me on a saline drip and I pleaded for pain killers. They asked for 600,000 rup $60 to buy morphine so Darcy took care of that. Relief from pain at last. The morphine knocked me out for about 2 hours while Darcy struggled to get comfortable on the concrete floor whilst always cradling our bags with all our valuables.
At some stage through out the night the doctor bought in a policeman who could speak a little English, but he was useless as he didn’t know what the word pain was…
Day Twelve: Shit Wednesday was a long day. I forgot to mention that we had run out of credit on our phones with all the calls we had made to Niki in Coffs Harbour on business and busily planning a way to get Darcy and I help and out of Sumbawa. Niki got onto our best mate and brother in Bali Wayan, who so kindly and promptly text credit to both Darcy and I’s phones. Molly was also busy in our home in Forster contacting consulates in Bali, insurance companies, googling flights for Niki and packing Niki’s bags ready for her departure from Oz. Niki was trying to get us on a Medivac service back to Bali but there wasn’t one out of Sumbawa. We said good night to Niki at 3am promising to ring as soon as day broke. (forgetting to document that Niki had left her mobile phone charger in a hotel in South West Rocks and spent the night on the Coffs Highway in her pink Pj’s in her car whilst the phone charged) Nightmare in two Countries… From about 4am I kept dozing and talking. Darcy was adamant we had to get back to Bali, ASAP… But the logistics seemed hopeless. Here we were stuck in Dompu Hospital, it felt like we couldn’t escape. At about 6am the pain came on again and Darcy started trying to find doctors. They were all asleep on the floor. He had to wake them to get more morphine. At this stage I was worried this might knock me out again and delay our exit to Bali, but I needed it real bad. Out of the blue a young local boy named Yani about 20 years old came into my room. He explained he often helps out at the hospital with situations like ours… GOD BLESS YANI xxxxx Yani arranged to get some painkillers to get me thru the flight back to Bali. At this stage I think my appendix had burst, I can’t say for sure when they did but the pain was only tolerable with the drugs. Yani arranged a ambulance to get us to Bima Airport a further 2 hours North. We arrived at the airport at about 8.30 and there was a 10am flight but as our luck was going the flight was cancelled so we had to wait for the 3pm flight. Once again Darcy took control buying the tickets and everything else. We were lucky to get into a lounge area so I grabbed the lounge and stayed there till we left. I have been remiss to mention Dan. Dan is a young Aussie bloke from WA whos works in the mines and comes to Indo regularly. Dan befriended Darcy and also helped get our gear form Aman Gati to the airport. Dan suggested rather than Darcy go to Kintamani with our Darling Monica. Darcy could stay with him, which worked out great. I wasn’t really in a position to make to many decisions so to you Dan. THANKYOU THANKYOU. I was stressing about the flight to Bali and thought we were to stop at Lombok on the way but it was direct to Bali. The flight was a breeze about 45 mins and who was there but our beautiful Wayan who met me with a golf cart to transport me to his car as it is over 1 km to the car park due to renovations at the airport. Wayan grabbed me straight away, Darcy gave me a kiss and off to the hospital we went with Wayan on his siren all the way. What a classic… About 20 mins later we were at the BIMC – Bali International Medical Centre. They took me straight in, Wayan sat beside me my bag on his lap and interpreted with the doctor and actually said (Usus Buntu) which means Appendix, how spot on he was. Within 5 min I was in a wheelchair, blood tests, ultra sounds, x rays. Here they saw that my appendix had burst, so I was straight up into a private room and all hooked up to monitors and preparing me for a major operation. It was like I was at the Hilton, so clean, professional and I must have had 6 doctors and 10 nurses looking after me.
Day 13: Shit Thursday was a long day. At 5.30am I get prepped for surgery. I shave my face stomach and pubes. Then I’m wheeled of to surgery. All went well with the operation. Niki is on a 12 midday flight, I really cant wait till she gets here, she will arrive about 4 pm. Darcy goes to Canggu with Dan for a surf as he can’t do anything at the hospital and he would be bored shitless. 5pm Niki arrives Than God… Cover more Insurance our insurer has paid for her to come over, also paying her accommodation, transport and meals. I can’t extol the virtues of this company enough. Nothing is a problem to them. They sent a letter of guarantee to the hospital so all my expenses are covered. I will be contacting there office when I get home and offering a testimonial. Niki, Darc and Dan stay at the hospital till I crash, then they head back to Sinar for Dinner. I have another night of hell as during the operation they had to flush out all the infection (puss) with over 3 litre’s of saline. They also had to move a lot of my internal organs so that was causing all my pain. (my organs were finding there way back to the right place) I thought I was going back under the knife or being airlifted to Darwin. The Australian Nurse and the Surgeon assured me and Niki it was due to the operation. I think I got about 1 hours sleep.
Day 14: Niki arrives early and has brekkie with me. Best fruit platter in Bali she says…. I feel a lot better. Darcy and Dan come over then head to Canggu for 2 surfs as Dan is heading over to G Land tomorrow. Niki stays with me most of the day I doze on and off. I sleep okay tonight but I am over hospitals. I am hooked up to monitors and drips and I have to piss in a bottle and the doctor and all the nurses are waiting and hoping I fart soon. This will be a good sign of recovery. I do and they are all relieved as this means my bowel is good.
Day 15: Niki again arrives for Brekkie And brings with her snack, chips, Oreos, pop mei, yeh… I feel a lot better. I am trying to stand up to get my legs moving. My feet are extremely swollen. Darcy is going to Mon’s village today and tonight. He will have a great time as it’s full moon ceremony. Niki has been non stop on the phone with the insurance company arranging flights and everything else. She is getting good results all round. The drugs are still getting pumped into me. No word of a lie you could fill a bathroom cupboard with the amount of fluids and drugs along with vitamins they have pumped into me. Darcy rings from Kintamani he has been dressed up in traditional clothes for ceremony at Kintamani Temple. They start at 6.30pm and it does not finish till 2 am. 7 hour ceremony, we really can’t imagine Darcy sitting this long. Niki has a lonely night on her own back at Sinar. I really hope I haven’t forgotten anyone or any thing so far…
Day 16: Release Day Today… Niki arrives early and Darcy is on his way back from Kintamani with Dan on the back of his bike. 2.5 hours on the bike. Sore bum… Darcy plays footsal in Denpasar with Dany’s team and scores three goals, so he’s pretty buggered and bad tempered by the time he gets back to Sinar. One tired Boy. Wayan hugs him and says. “Darcy I always tell you Ceremony is F… boring” we all laugh, which feels great… We arrive back at Sinar around 11am. All the staff greet me, they are so so nice… Niki sets me up with the pool lounge outside of our room. So good to be in fresh air again. After a short rest Darcy heads up to Canggu for a surf. Ketut Head chef of Sinar makes me traditional Bali meal for the sick… Meal makes me want to be sick. I am not hungry anyway so we take it back to the room and throw it so not to offend. Early to bed, Darcy and I watch a DVD. I don’t sleep well.
Day 17: A wake at 6am and Niki and I go for a walk (100 metres) to get coffee. Niki and I relax at resort the whole day which is great and Darcy has a surf at Legian, it wasn’t any good so he goes to Ulu’s with Nyomen. He has lunch with Wayan who is also there then has a 4 hour surf and rates it 5 star. 5 – 6 foot. Just sitting at Sinar restaurant with Wayan and having Dinner. Wayan on his way to do a airport pick up. We have another early night.
Day 18: Lazy day again today. I have never sat so long around a resort. Darcy’s gone to Ulu’s with Wayan. Niki and I just chilling out and going to get some DVD’s and my check up at the hospital with the surgeon. The doc gives me the all clear to travel home. Darcy gets fantastic surf at Ulu’s 6 – 7 feet, sees our mate Paul Blom. Niki and I head to the beach with the family for the afternoon. I feel a lot better today I eat a Sinar Club Sanga…
Day 19: Last full day at Sinar and in Bali. Darcy’s gone for a surf at Kuta Reef (middles) then heads to Waterbom Park. I go and get a foot fish clean and head massage. Niki heads to the Embassy with Eko to sort out his Visa for Australia. We spend the arvo again on the beach. Very relaxing. Darcy does last minute shopping. We fly out at 2am tomorrow morning. I’m in business class (thanks to CoverMore) and Niki and Darcy are in cattle class… Sad to leave Bali but after all the drama I am glad to be going home. Really miss Molly…
Day 20: HOME now and just had Cornbeef, white sauce and Veg that Nan made. Great flight we all slept and true to tradition Niki scored four seats to herself. We all sleep on the flight but once we travelled the 4 hours home we all couldn’t wait till dark to go to bed. 6.30pm in bed… 14 hours sleep…
How lucky, I am to even be sitting here right now reflecting and writing my story. The thoughts the concerns and the efforts of all those involved to bring me through this I will never be able to express my gratitude to you all.
To my beautiful wife, to see you walking through those hospital doors dropped all the weight of the past few days of my shoulders. You are my rock my soulmate, my journeyman. Through all our travels all over the world this was our most dramatic moment and there you were like always putting all the pieces together.
To my beautiful little ray of sunshine Molly, thousands of Miles away and all I wanted was to cuddle you and see your face. I missed you so much at this time and thank you for packing for Mum and meeting her on the highway and your multitude of phone calls, to not only Cover More but to the Australian Embassy, the Consulate and of course your genius idea to ring our Mate Onny in Qld, asking him to help organise our gear from Lakey to the airport. You really achieved great things and put a lot of motions in place for all of us on Nightmare day 3rd May. I love you to the Sky.
Thanks to Nan for being there for us and Molly, It took a huge weight of our shoulders to know you were there for us.
And to my little mate Darcy. You couldn’t ever imagine that our surf trip was going to turn out like this. Thank god we got some of the best waves of our lives before the shit happened. That Saturday afternoon at Periscopes rates as one of your and I’s best surfs in our lives. Stand up Barrels ARE AS GOOD AS THEY LOOK AREN’T THEY. In my eyes Darcy Boy you stoood up and made a man of yourself. Your maturity and Travel know how got us thru this nightmare. Your surfing has improved out of sight this trip, I reckon you’ll give them what for @ boardriders. I can’t wait for our next trip to the Metawais next year and many more in the future.
I LOVE YOU ALL from the bottom of my heart. I was the sickest and most frightened I’ve ever been in my life but with your love and support and that of all concerned I look forward now to the next chapter in my life…
Note from Niki: I am blessed to have my family altogether again. John has had the all clear from our Doctor here in Oz and is now back at work. I like John find it hard to thank everyone for all that you did for us during what I’ve now called Mad May… You all know who you are… To all my FB friends, thanks for your love FB kept me going whilst in the hospital and it was so nice for John to read all your messages once he returned to Sinar. To BIMC no words can express your professionalism, your love and your care, The 20 pkt of Tim Tams will never be enough to say thank you so so much for saving Johns life. You are incredible people. To our brother and Uncle Wayan, what would we have done with out you. You are a legend and a incredible kind caring person who we love so very much. To Mon, Made, Eko and Dany, thanks for your love and concern and for taking care of Darcy in Kintamani and showing him the most amazing time and sharing your home and village with him. To all the staff at Sinar for your help, with faxes, emails, phone calls and your care and concern for John. To all our Bali family for the beautiful flower arrangements and fruit platters you all really spoiled us… To our friends who we call (family) we love you. without you all we wouldn’t have got through this night mare… To my three musketeers, John, Molly and Darcy… thanks for being who you are, keeping your cool and doing what we had to do when we had to do it. We worked as a team and got through it as a team… Love you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Since this story was written in 2012 we have lived in Bali for 17 months and during this time used BIMC hospital many times. We can’t praise them enough.. Enjoy this story and please tick Nil excess on your travel insurance!