Granger Bay Boulevard runs from the ocean alongside the Waterfront complex to Main Road in Green Point. Where it crosses Beach Road, on one side are the buildings of Somerset Hospital and on the other side a five/six storey derelict building, that looks like it has been possessed by the dispossessed. The grounds are usually littered with rubbish, and I can imagine that a typical affluent international tourist on the way to Water Front could be feel rather intimidated by the neighbourhood.
The road continues past the Fort Wynyard military complex to the rear of the Cape Town Stadium. Across the road is another block of land that has been taken over by the homeless, with shacks made of wood, tin, plastic and cardboard, and the area strewn with rubbish.
But jointly or severally we have walked this road at least once a week for the part 5-6 years and never encountered a single problem, until Friday 16 September, when I was alone and felt a sickening thud on back of my head. I knew nothing further until I found myself on a concrete bench beside the Stadium. I could see nobody around and I still had my backpack, but I didn’t want to check if I had been robbed. I decided to walk to a wall at McDonalds, but I have no recollection of getting there. But I do remember finding nothing missing from my backpack. It was then I realized that I was bleeding heavily from my head. I needed to get home to get cleaned up.
I guess that I had concussion, because I wanted to order an Uber, but I could not remember where I lived. Somehow, I managed to walk home and our security immediately saw that I was in a mess and called for an ambulance. I got in the elevator, but again I couldn’t remember where my apartment was. Security took me to my door and a few minutes later an ambulance arrived. I was taken to the Christian Barnard hospital.
For the next two or three days, all was a bit of a blur. I was convinced that I had been mugged, but as I had not been robbed and there were no witnesses, the doctors assumed that I had tripped, had a blackout, or had another stroke. A chunk of my hair was shaved off, so that the laceration on my head could be stapled. Similarly, my left knee and right ankle were bandaged. As I had a previous history of having had a stroke, had previously had a blackout, and I was on my own – Lotta was in Sweden visiting her parents, the doctor did not feel that I could be released under the circumstances, and I was placed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), under observation.
I was subjected to a battery of tests, to the end of identifying the cause of my collapse. The only suspect was a narrowing of the artery to leads to my right leg, and while there, the surgeon inserted two stents, as a precautionary measure.
In the meantime, Lotta had been made aware and had returned as soon as she could get a flight. The next day she walked the area to see if she could find any witnesses to my assault. She found some construction workers who had seen two thugs hit me on the head from behind with something heavy. They had shouted and chased them away and left me on a bench near the stadium. Knowing myself, I probably thanked them and assured them that I would be fine.
When Lotta reported this to me and to the doctors, I felt a great sense of relief. It had really bothered me that in future, I could be walking along on one of my pilgrimages and suddenly have a blackout. The fact that the doctors had found nothing obviously amiss, I found encouraging. After six days, I was discharged, with a prescription for three more drugs to add to the four I have already been taking!
It has now been over three weeks since I came home, and I am almost back to normal, albeit the progress having been very slow, especially in the first ten days. My hair is starting to grow back, so I am less looking like a monk as each day passes. The sun is getting warmer, the birds are singing, and summer is on the horizon. All is looking good again.
Now for a haircut!