Two weeks ago, I was having a shower in my hotel bathroom. The sliding door on the shower was a little jammed, so I pulled it slightly harder. To my shock, the door exploded into a snow-like substance in thousands of pieces, completely covering every inch of the shower and bathroom floor with glass. It also sent a chunk of glass into my arm, cutting deeply into the skin.

I didn’t know what to do, other than I had to stop the blood flow with my towel.

I momentarily saw myself having to walk over the broken glass to get out of the shower and bathroom. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to be able to notice the second towel on top of the towel rack. I was able to put that on the floor and slide out of the bathroom. I washed my arm to get any glass out of the wound, and then went straight for the phone.

I dialled 9 to call reception.

It didn’t work.

Next, I tried zero.

It also didn’t work.

Usually there is a number written on the phone for reception. In this case there wasn’t (it was on the room key card which sitting in the cradle near the door), and the reception phone number was 777; not something I would have ever guessed.

With my arm in the towel, I dried the lower half of my body, put some pants on, and took the elevator to the reception on the ground floor.

Sadly, given that I’m in Vietnam, I also had the presence of mind to remember that some people will use an opportunity like this to steal my gear… which I cannot afford to lose because of the data on my devices. So before heading to reception, I quickly threw my expensive gear into the small backpack I carry, and took it with me.

After getting the blood to stop flowing, I started to contact friends on instant messaging apps.

I think this is one of my major lessons from this whole event: to have people in mind that I can contact in case of an emergency, and have easy ways to do that.

For example, I have my parents on Skype, but I’m never signed into Skype… so I’d have to jump through the hoop of signing in with a username and password, navigating to my parent’s number, and then dialing it. A related hurdle is that my phone is on a data-only plan, so I can’t make outgoing phone calls. I need to use a VoIP app to do that. I think making calls via an instant messaging app like Viber, WhatsApp, WeChat, and so on is preferable to sending messages, so you’re likely getting the immediate attention of the recipient where you may not immediately do so with a text message.

Another challenge I faced was that some of my friends I know have no credit on their phones, or don’t answer their messages for quite some time. This was my experience when I started to try to contact people. Specifically, I was looking for someone who could speak Vietnamese, was nearby, and could go to the hospital with me.

For other people I know, I either don’t have their phone number, or I’d have to search through emails to get their email address or contact numbers.

Basically, I was unprepared.

A colleague of mine was recently robbed whilst traveling on the back of a motorbike at night. She had a similar challenge in terms of getting people to answer her messages… although in her case, the incident happened in the very early hours of the morning.

One thing that is worth knowing, is that you can get Siri to quickly do things for you without needing to use your hands. For example, Siri can open apps, and even call people with a simple voice command. You can also quickly dictate fairly accurate messages without the need to use your hands. I used Siri that morning to fire out some quick (un-edited) emails to colleagues, requesting help if they were online.

Siri isn’t a gimmick, its a useful tool.

To conclude, I’m okay now. Even though it wasn’t an easy process, I was able to contact friends who could get in contact with other people I know, and have someone go with me to the hospital. It made a huge difference in getting quick medical help at a reasonable price. I’m scarred from the whole incident though, and I’ll never look at a glass door the same way. I’ve also changed my workflows so that in the future, I’ll be more prepared should I be involved in another accident.