Teen finishes Mile despite burst appendix

2014-02-13 00:00

HE was determined to finish the race despite the pain.

A 13-year-old Pietermaritzburg swimmer, Daniel Erasmus, finished the Midmar Mile at the weekend despite a chronic stomach ache, which was later diagnosed as a burst appendix.

He was hospitalised after the race when paramedics suspected he had a burst appendix. The plucky young swimmer was sent to Edendale Hospital where he had to have an emergency appendectomy.

Daniel, a keen swimmer, had been training all year and was very keen to swim his first Midmar Mile. His family had organised to camp at Midmar and his mother Alta organised for him to eat a healthy breakfast of All Bran flakes before he swam the race.

She said, “He told me he was not feeling well and his stomach was sore and I thought he was probably not used to the bran and I told him to go to the toilet. I also suspected that he was probably a bit nervous as the race was coming closer.”

As the time came for them to board the boat to get to the starting point, Daniel told his mother that his stomach was still hurting and she advised him to abort the race. She said, “ I was worried that if he started swimming then he might get into trouble and have to be rescued, but I said it was up to him”.

Daniel decided to bite the bullet and do the race even though he said the pain in his stomach was as if someone had punched him. He started the race with the other under 13s and managed to finish even though he was in a great deal of pain.

He said, “I was in a lot of pain but I just kept focusing on the end of the race and I tried to ignore it,” he said from his hospital bed this week. His mother said he came out of the water blue and shivering from the cold.

“I told him to lie down in the medical tent and I asked the paramedics to look at him as he was still complaining of a stomach pain. They initially suspected that he had cramps but then the head paramedic took a look and said it was more serious, and he should go straight to hospital.”

At 9.30 pm that night Daniel underwent emergency surgery for a burst appendix and doctors spent five hours in surgery.

A sore Daniel is quite nonchalant about his experience, saying the scariest part of the ordeal was when he had to be rushed to hospital.

Describing his decision to go ahead with the race, Daniel said that he did not want to miss his first race and he also kept the words of his school headmaster in mind.

Daniel, who is in Grade 8 at Voortrekker High School in Pietermaritzburg, said his headmaster Jan Nel had told them they had to give 100% effort to whatever they tried. “I had to give the race my 100%,” he said.

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