"I was in stitches, and not the good kind": The lessons I learned on a painful Spanish holiday 6 years ago

"I was in stitches, and not the good kind": The lessons I learned on a painful Spanish holiday

Regrets, I've had a few...

I went to Salou a few years ago with the family on one of those package holidays. Two weeks in the sun is not a hard sell and we arrived there on the Costa Dorada with a spring in our step and summer on our minds.


Fast forward two days into the holiday and I was loving it. Loving the sunshine, the heat and having to do nothing else but relax and have some beers by the pool, heavenly. There's something unbelievably exotic to an Irishman about having a poolside bar.

There's something unbelievably exotic to an Irishman about having a poolside bar.

LACOSTE Beautiful Desert Pool Party - Day 2

I felt like a working class movie star with a bottle of beer in one hand and two feet dangling from a stool into the swimming pool.


Then it happened.

Olympic winning dive

I decided I was going to impress everybody here by performing a gold medal Olympic winning dive into the pool. What could possibly go wrong? I leaped from the stool and ran, skipped and then launched myself into the air. I was like a salmon thrust up and down from the crystal waters.

Olympics - Previews - Day - 1


My form was perfect. My arms were dead straight, my head tucked neatly between my arms, my body straight as an arrow.

Like an Exocet missile, I cut through the water like a knife through butter.

It was a big fucking mistake.

Two seconds later, I emerged with blood pouring from my head. I had taken a dive into the kiddies pool.


I emerged from the water dazed, looking confusedly at my girlfriend who had a look of horror on her face. There were kids screaming and I looked around to see who they were screaming at.


The French lifeguard

My partner asked if I was okay and I replied, 'Yeah, I'm grand, bit of a bang there, but should be okay.' Her reply was enough to set me straight as she said, 'eh...no you're not, there is blood gushing from your head!' Obviously, with the water, I hadn't noticed the blood pouring down my face, but when I put my hand to feel it, it became drenched in blood.

"Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding"


I was immediately ushered to the lifeguard. This chap from France who knew very well he was gorgeous. The type who would have lovebites in his own mirror.

He seemed perturbed that I was interrupting his posing and flirting with the girls. He examined my head and I asked him, 'Is it bad?' He replied curtly, 'It's not good.' He immediately rang the emergency services and within minutes they were with me.

Terry Butcher

I was placed onto a rather curious looking wheelchair thing. It didn't have the big wheels, more a chair with ball bearings at the tips of the legs.

I was embarrassed. The whole pool had stopped to watch this stupid Irishman, with a Terry Butcher-style bandage across his head as blood oozed through it, being carted off into an ambulance.

Terry Butcher

I remember saying my goodbyes to my other half and telling her that I would call her as soon as I got there. She had to stay and fill out some sort of accident report thing. They hoisted me up into the ambulance and then I heard the engine and siren start simultaneously.

No word of a lie, thirty seconds later, the engine and siren stopped and the doors opened. I was there. They charged me €250 for the use of that ambulance. Fuck sakes.

The Dutch doctor full of jokes

I was brought into the medical centre and was greeted by a wise-cracking Dutch doctor. He examined the wound and said that I would need stitches. I gasped and said, "Stitches?! I've never had stitches before!" He looked at me incredulously and said, "You never had stitches before? This is your first time?" I replied "Yes! My first time." He then, quick as a flash said, "It's my first time too!!"


The look of shock on my face made him laugh out loud and he reassured me saying, "Relax Eric, I am only having the joke with you."

He zipped my head up and twelve stitches later he asked me if I had learned any lessons from the incident to which I said, "Well for starters, I am never going to dive into a kiddies pool again!!"

He retorted "No, I mean something deeper than that."

I saw my chance and said, "Of course, it's going to be deeper than that, much, much deeper than that!"

He let out a little laugh and then said, "I think the valuable life lesson you should take away with you here today is that under no circumstances whatsoever, you should never, ever, ever............drink and dive!!!" and then fell around the place laughing hysterically.

Many Germans Earn Less Today Than 20 Years Ago

Thankfully, lessons were learned and the thing I took most from the incident, aside from not diving into a kids pool, was the value of holiday insurance.

The insurance helped pay all my medical bills and although I was left with a scar on my head, the wallet remained unharmed.