Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fractured Plans

Well, the travel gods strike again. I should have known not to try to do anything on Friday the 13th. No sooner do I find the right antibiotic to send Clarence the intestinal parasite packing (that's right, I named him) than another calamity occurs.

Yesterday, I went with my interpreter and her younger sister to a village 2.5 hours away called Laomudeng. It was a beautiful place with a horrible hellish road that led me to believe I might be suffering from whiplash even before we got there. We first went to a little village on the far side, called Bijiang, with a gorgeous view of the Nujiang Valley. Some people there told me there was another American, a doctor, in town-- would I like to meet him and give him a hug? Because of course all Americans hug each other upon meeting. I politely declined.

Upon our arrival in Laomudeng, I started off to go with said younger sister to her house, walking along a raised path with Chinese corn crops on one side and a steep drop-off into some people's yards on the other. All it took was a little trip on the uneven ground, and I stumbled and fell 4 or 5 feet onto some luckily placed metal shutters. If they hadn't been there I would have fallen more like 8 or 9 feet.

The first few minutes after my fall were really scary. I hurt all over and wasn't sure what had happened, what was wrong. I was really, really in the middle of nowhere and there were Lisu people I'd never met clustered around me asking me in thick accents where it hurt. One of them rubbed my back. Another one felt my head, although I didn't think I'd banged it. After awhile, the pain resolvd into just my foot-- I'd somehow managed to fall with all of my weight on it, and although the rest of my body was relaxing and warming with relief, my foot was throbbing like crazy and I wasn't sure I could move it. I sent Younger Sister to go get an icy dessert from her house to put on my foot, but I couldn't get up and found myself very dizzy. I lay on the couch of these complete strangers whose yard I'd abruptly fallen into for almost three hours wondering what was going to happen. Luckily, someone had the presence of mind to call the American doctor, who came and spoke beautiful beautiful English with me during this time of crisis. We determined that my foot wasn't seriously broken but was surely sprained or fractured, he got me in touch with a Canadian friend of his in Fugong, and made a sort of bandage thing out of athletic tape and a foot massage sock.

The ride back was torturous. Not only was the road just as bad, but every time we went over a bump I felt it in my foot. And then, to add insult to injury, they were doing "work" on the road (which quite honestly might have been easier to drive over if they had just left it as a freaking mountain flank instead of trying to put dirt on it and make it all 'civilized). Nevermind that it was 6:30 PM and there was a line of cars wanting to go down the mountain. We waited while the construction people worked for almost a full two hours. Infuriating, and so very China.

I went to the Fugong hospital this morning, where the X-ray man was out because it was Sunday and it didn't matter because the X-ray building was being renovated over the weekend (because people never need X-rays on weekends, of course. I hate the Chinese medicinal system.) The doctor who looked at me basically poked at my foot until it hurt just as much as it had at first and then told me what I had known before-- not broken, possibly fractured, get an X-ray on Monday. And then I spent the whole day in my hotel, sleeping and watching movies and doing a little work and feeling very thwarted and frustrated. I have 12 days left here and I had better not have to hobble through them, that's all I have to say.

At least the X-ray is only going to cost me $3.50. God bless the Chinese Yuan.
Bah humbug.

1 comment:

Marianna said...

Oh no! I've accompanied someone to the hospital for a similar thing on a Sunday and it sucks! I guess the bright side could be that you can relax in bed a little and not feel like you're "not doing enough"? Feel better!