A freak accident on a remote island in the Philippines almost blinded Ballarat man Shaun Boag.
Mr Boag was relaxing at the bar of his scuba dive shop at El Nido when the spinning ceiling fan snapped and spun in to his face.
The force of the impact broke his cheekbone and nose and left a large gash just millimetres below his right eye.
Having been blind in his left eye since birth, Mr Boag immediately feared for his sight as blood filled his eye.
"I had just closed up the shop for the day and was waiting for a last minute booking to arrive," Mr Boag said.
"They arrived and as I turned to say hello the metal fan dropped and cut in to my head."
A customer and staff member rushed to his aid but medical help was a long way off.
El Nido is on Palawan island, 600km from the Philippines capital of Manila, and about five hours along mountainous windy roads from the nearest city hospital. Mr Boag has been running his Submariner Dive Centre on the picturesque coastline for about 2.5 years.
I've had a lot of strange injuries over the years. If you're going to do something, do something no one else has done.Shaun Boag
"In the town where I live we have a medical centre where you can go and get tablets for coughs and colds, but that's about the extent of it," he said.
"When I turned up there at 9.30pm with my face cut open they said there wasn't much they could do, and there are no ambulances after 8pm, so I got a private van to go to another medical centre on the island where they put a drip in and gave me pain medicine, then I had a five hour drive on windy roads to get me to hospital.
"We finally got there about 1am, then they found an eye surgeon and did an operation to put it all back together."
Doctors said his sight "should come back" but after the swelling went down his vision was still unclear.
"I've been blind in my left eye since birth and this was my right eye so it's kind of important that I get vision back," he said.
Fortunately Mr Boag was booked on a flight back to Ballarat three days later, to spend Easter with his family, and the trip morphed in to a homecoming packed with medical appointments.
"It turned in to four week trip home with lots of visits to eye specialists in Ballarat."
Mr Boag, who admits to being somewhat accident-prone, said x-rays in the Philippines revealed many of his other facial injuries including previous breaks to his cheekbone, but he urged doctors to ignore them and focus on the new injury.
"I've had a lot of strange injuries over the years. If you're going to do something, do something no one else has done," he laughed.
When he got to Ballarat he had a CT scan and other tests revealing not only the broken bones and laceration but trauma to the eyeball, which it is hoped will recover over time.
"Now I'm wearing glasses for the first time in my life," he said. "I've got quite a bit of vision back which is a bit blurry, though with glasses it's as normal as it can be. If glasses are the worst thing I come out of with this then I'm lucky."
Mr Boag said although the healthcare in the Philippines was basic, it was done well.
"Even the specialist back here said in Australia what they'd done was good and the scar itself is healing quite well," he said.
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