I have jogged for many years. Like many other sports and recreational activities, there are inherent hazards. A biker’s nightmare is getting run over by a bus, or a skier’s, crushing into a rock.  My worst nightmare is clipping. I use the term ‘clipping’ to describe the many falls and tumbles that I have taken over the years whilst jogging.  Here are some of my greatest clips:

1. Real Steal

The city council had driven a 10mm steel rod into the middle of the footpath with a 2” protrusion.  In the early morning hours, when I usually go for a jog, it was virtually impossible to see this hazard.  Unfortunately for me, my shoe clipped the protruding rod and I rolled forward a few times downhill before coming to a halt and then a quick look around to make sure that nobody had seen me rock and roll – couldn’t endure the embarrassment if someone saw me. That was followed by an assessment of the injury, then anger and finally resentment.  I flicked all adverse emotions to being  funny, then a laugh to get me going again. It hurt!

2. Like a back hand

I always jogged on a route that passed through a bridge which supported a major freeway. I knew the path like the back of my hand; at least I thought I did.  The council never ever cared to maintain the street lamps underneath this bridge. One fine morning I was breezing past the bridge with its usual poor visibility when suddenly I disappeared into a massive hole that was apparently dug overnight by the state controlled communications company. There were no safety ribbons or barriers or warning signs around this hole.  Being a pedestrian thorough fare also, one would have thought that at least there would have been some safety consideration or warning. I reminded myself that this was a developing country and perhaps my expectations were a bit too high.   Luckily, I only sustained a few minor scratches.

3. Not so lucky

I now live near an estuary in one of the most developed and beautiful parts of the world – New Zealand.    Sadly, the footpaths in my neighbourhood have sections that are in lower than desirable condition, and have deteriorated either due to age, root ingress or extreme variable  weather.   The council is good at marking these hazards for repair but rarely  pitch up to fix them.  These poor sections cause unevenness and are dangerous if you clip them especially if one is jogging or even walking. They are also a major fall hazard for senior citizens young children and other commuters .  A few days ago, I was in my usual thought mode and took my focus momentarily off the footpath and unfortunately, I clipped a protruding section on the footpath that was concealed by the shade cast by a tree – my luck ran out.  I tore the ligaments around my left knee and injured several muscles.  The pain was intense. I barely slept for two nights. I feared I had fractured my knee.

Doctor Doctor

My first attempt to visit a doctor at a public clinic failed miserably, only being able to get a standby appointment.  I literally stood and waited at the clinic for two hours balancing on one foot only to be told that there was a further two-hour delay by which time I decided to abort and hop and limp my way back the next day.

The next day, upon advisement by a friend I got up very early and went to the closest public hospital’s A and E department instead. I decided to take the train, as finding parking at the hospital is often a challenge. The train stops within a few meters of the hospital, which was very convenient. Kiwi-Rail is an SOE (state owned enterprise) and operates far fewer service lines compared to other large metropolitan cities. Low and behold, the  next train scheduled to arrive was cancelled due to a breakdown somewhere en route!  I then recalled my experience a few months earlier when I had to commute  by train (again due to lack of parking) whilst working on a  short term assignment – how often the train service was interrupted due to malfunction, breakdown and the lack of efficient alternatives when this happened. One is literally abandoned in situations like this. Trains breaking down it seems was part of the culture, something I had forgotten.

Almost there!

Finally I arrived at the hospital, limping in agony and was attended to by a very pleasant nurse and receptionist.  After a brief wait in the queue, I was taken to a waiting room. My excitement following such quick attention was short-lived.  It was indeed a waiting room in the true sense of the word. I waited and waited until eventually a nurse arrived and did the preliminaries;  pulse, pressure, posture etc. She asked me to expose my knees for comparison and then promptly disappeared.  After 25 minutes, I started getting worried that something had happened to the nurse and went around enquiring where she was. I eventually located her busy at a workstation and the doctor who was on duty advised me grudgingly that she also had other things to do.  So she was apparently multitasking. At last she came back to me and kick started the process again!

The next stage was getting the x-rays done and the person directing me to the radiology department indicated that when I had finished having my x-rays taken, I should follow the yellow line on the passage floor that would lead me back to her office. I thought that was easy, and a great idea to help patients get around. It was, except that the yellow line terminated abruptly at a fork with several directions to choose from with no signs. It was anybody’s guess which office I had to go to. When I finally discovered the office and explained the delay, everyone agreed that the yellow line went to nowhere. Incredible, to say the least and this is one of the best, modern, high tech hospitals in the  world.

Public Service Providers

Although the above incidents took place in different parts of the world, the common theme here is that they were all impacted by Public Services. Have you had similar experiences?  Have you followed a yellow line to nowhere? Here’s an opportunity to share your story with us.

Governments don’t really care about their people! Their main focus is getting elected.  If all their election promises were met,   then roads will be maintained, hospitals will provide better service and trains will not breakdown as often as they do. Productivity and efficiency levels will rise.  Irrespective of whether you are in the ‘developing world’, or a ‘first world’ country, the commonality is that people are not getting a fair deal.

We would love to hear your story about how government has ‘clipped you’

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