The Americas travel blog

After checking the website all day, waiting for the results, at 6pm they come through. A day earlier than expected! Of course the results are in Spanish and in Doctor 'talk' so we get in a taxi and go back to the Emergency Department. Fortunately, we don't have to wait in a queue and are shown to a trauma room and one of the Trauma Doctors explains that Phil has herniated a disk in his lower back. No treatment can be done here in Santiago in the short term. Phil has been in a lot of pain so we figured it was more than muscular pain. We are not sure what the insurance companies reaction will be. Phil doesn't think he could manage day to day travelling for another 2 months. The pain has been manageable as we are in our apartment and he can do as little or as much as he can. We present the 'Fit to fly' form to be completed just in case. One of the Doctors Phil saw on visit 3 is there today so he completes the form for us. The Doctor has signed the form and we are to fly business class home.

Back at our apartment, we are feeling very dejected but we must advise the insurance company. We send all the relevant reports and have to wait for a response. The problem is we are due to fly to the Atacama at 11am tomorrow. That means we would have to leave our apartment at 8.30 and we haven't packed or prepared anything. Numerous emails back and forth with the insurance company but they avoid answering the question, - Do we go to the Atacama or not? By 11pm we still don't know. So now we have a very terse phone call to them and even after speaking to a supervisor, we are told the medical team are still looking into it and they will let us know. We go to bed and set the alarm for 6am in case we have to fly. Phil wakes during the night and we check the emails and at 2.30 they advised us that we should not proceed and we will be repatriated to Australia. This is devastating for us. We realised Phil's back was bad but we really wanted to continue our holiday. His back will not heal in the short term and there is a danger that when travelling he may make it worse, so we must come home.

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