The sidewalk in this case. I got even by dumping a lot of blood all over it.
Here is what happened. I walked down the street from our hotel to the Lavaderia (the laundry) to pick up our clean clothes. There is a slight step up from the sidewalk as you turn into the Lavaderia. Missed that. Which is weird because I’d been to this place several times, including once a half hour before I fell. The clothes weren’t ready, so I came back.
That’s when I missed the step and did that slow motion fall that seems to take forever with the sidewalk coming closer and closer to your head. Note to self–do not use head to break fall.
|From Uruguay 09|
I hit my knee and my right shoulder (which was already hurting from a rotator cuff injury), but then my head hit and my glasses tore into my eyebrow. So, I ended up with a deep gash straight across my eyebrow. I’d always heard that head wounds bleed a lot and you shouldn’t worry just because you see a lot of blood there. I wasn’t worried because I felt fine, except for huge amounts of embarrassment and a very sore shoulder. But the mother and son who run the laundry were obviously worried.
This was my first clue that I looked a lot worse than I felt. They gave me a towel to stop the bleeding and helped me clean up, then the son walked me to my hotel–less than one block. I walked in, looked at the mirror and thought–damn, I am going to need stitches. But I didn’t want to make the call, so I showed it to Scott. He wasn’t sure either, but we decided we needed a medical expert of some kind to look at it.
This is where we get another example of the wonderful kindness of Uruguayans. The front desk calls an ambulance. Seemed like overkill to us, but apparently this is standard here. Ambulances are free and provided as a public service. The medic bandaged me up, but said I would need stitches and he couldn’t do that. He was very apologetic in explaining he wasn’t a surgeon. Like I was expecting him to be!
They take us in the ambulance to the British hospital where a doctor with excellent English looks me over and declares that I will need a plastic surgeon to do the stitching. Too bad, I’m thinking–this young doctor is pretty hot and I wouldn’t mind spending more time with him.
Finally, the plastic surgeon arrives. I guess they had to call her from home (it’s six o’clock in the evening by now–I fell around 4). She’s young, but not a baby. When you get to my age you start getting used to doctors who are a lot younger than you and having one sewing me up who is not young enough to be my daughter is a plus. She also speaks English well, but she’s shy about it, so asks if I can understand her Spanish. No problem, I do understand her simple instructions.
She repeats all the questions about whether I had lost consciousness at any time, felt dizzy had double vision. She asks a new one–am I feeling any numbness under my eye where I have another bruise. Answer to all questions is “no.”
Then she asks me to tell her if it hurts as she gives me the local anesthetic and stitches me up. I can handle that. I’m pretty sure I would have told her if it hurt even if she hadn’t instructed me. Fortunately, the only part of this process that hurt at all was the injection of the local into my eye lid. The other injections, along the eyebrow were the small pinch that the doctor promised, but the eye lid must be more sensitive because that one really hurt. But only for a few seconds, so no big deal.
Then there is the weirdness of being numb as she stitches. Plus, she’s using my stomach as a table for her tools, which made me want to laugh. I didn’t think laughing was a good idea while being stitched. It made perfect sense–the tools were on top of a sterile paper thingy and it was better than her having to keep reaching from the table behind her, it just felt funny. Oh, and having this sort of shroud over my face with just a hole big enough for her to get to the wound. That was sort of claustrophobic. The whole process didn’t take long though. I think we were in and out of the hospital in an hour or ninety minutes. We got an incomprehensible bill, which Scott worked out so that it is something we will maybe be able to run through insurance at home. (The university plan includes coverage in foreign countries, thank goodness).
We then had an adventure getting home in the taxi because the driver didn’t know where our street was. Fortunately, we were able to direct him once he got to our bus route. Home at last, Scott fixed me some soup and went out to get some ice. He tripped on the way to the store, but fortunately didn’t fall. Neither of us is ready to repeat this adventure any time soon!
If I hadn’t been icing this eye all evening and early this morning, just imagine what my eye would look like!
Here’s a close up where you can see the stitches. The doctor told me there were seven of them. Since they are right through the eyebrow, I don’t think I’ll end up with a sexy scar from all this. I’ll count myself as lucky in all of this.
|From Uruguay 09|