A Cataract-related Accident + Truck Driver Catcalls

Photo of a mature cataract behind a dilated pupil. The spoke-like changes represent cortical opacification.

Jason Lewis of Yorkshire, England spent 13 years circumnavigating the world without using wind or motorized power.  He biked, walked, rollerbladed, and kayaked over 46,000 miles in the process.

Here are excerpts of his interview with the BBC recently.  Note the importance of addressing cataracts.

Q: What was the biggest crisis you faced along the way?
When I was rollerblading across the States, I was hit by a car in Colorado. The driver was an 82-year-old drunk driver who also had cataracts. My backpack went right through his windshield and was on his wife’s lap, but he still tried to deny he’d hit me. He said he thought he hit an animal, so he didn’t stop. It took me nine months to recover but I finished crossing the country on my rollerblades. It was pretty painful so I had someone biking alongside me carrying my backpack. I think the action of rollerblading actually helped my legs heal.

Q: Did you have insurance to cover your medical bills?
I did not have insurance at any point during the trip. Luckily, the guy who hit me did, and that’s what covered the $110,000 worth of medical bills.

Q: Tell me about one of your favourite moments from the trip.
I had a memorable encounter with a police officer when I was rollerblading through Mississippi wearing a pair of women’s culottes. I couldn’t wear my lycra shorts as I had been bitten by fire ants around my groin area, so I looked in a thrift shop for some very baggy shorts – but the only thing they had were these knee-length women’s trousers. I was getting whistles from truck drivers until they got closer and saw my beard.

The local sheriff in the city of Winona pulled me over. I thought he was going to give me a breathalyser and drugs test. But he was of Scottish ancestry and thought I was wearing a kilt, so we got to talking and became friends based on this very tenuous connection. He let me go and even gave me $20 for my next meal.

Read more at http://www.bbc.com/travel/bespoke/story/20150326-travel-pioneers/jason-lewis/.