Thursday, April 28, 2005
Here the scenario. On Taveuni. It's been raining for days and neither R nor I have done anything remotely active in literally weeks. This particular day saw some instances of sun and we took advantage and ran down the hill from our room to snorkle. Unfortunately, no good rentals were to be found on the island. R's mask worked, but my head was too big for the available mask ("It's like Sputnik! All round and pointy!") which I found out as soon as my face hit the water. No matter. We walked out into the crusty water (lot of shtuff afloat), across the dead coral and around the weeds. Eventually R decided to strike out to the far reef and check things out. I walked over to some nearby rocks and sat atop one so as to get a better view of R to make sure she stayed ok.
As she paddled around, I watched sea snails wander around the rock I was on, offering encouragement and advice; which they promptly ignored of course. The tide began to come in as I sat there, and my perch was slowly overrun with ocean water despite my plaintive cries to be spared. Fortunately, that is when R decided to come in and tell me about all she saw: the huge blue starfish, a sting ray, lots of pretty fishes, some nice coral and tons of dead coral. Not fabulous snorkling, but not the worst.
So we walked towards shore. No big deal, right? It wasn't until we were maybe 50 feet from safety. All of a sudden I felt something grab my right foot (we were both wearing sandals) and something slam down onto and into the top of my foot. Un-man-illy I let out a yelp while yanking my foot out of the water, losing my sandal in the process. A bit freaked I quickly made my way to shore while incoherently muttering about my lost sandal, it floating away, asking R to go get it and then changing my mind as she'd have to pass the demon that attacked me, and something about firetrucks? R meanwhile realized quickly that I wasn't playing around and got a bit freaked out and followed me ashore.
Out of the water I saw the blood flowing and I limped back to our room and onto the deck where I sat and bled, calming a little, as R looked for one of the people running the place. I never saw what got me and wanted their opinion on how worried I should be. In my mind it took 12 hours for R to come back and grab my first aid kit-I meanwhile left bloody footprints all over the wooden deck. Oops. Help arrived, looked at my foot and declared that I had nothing to worry about. Only snakes were poisonous and that is not what got me. She mashed some leaves together and put them on the wound saying they'd help stop the bleeding. As I sat there bleeding, my mind's worries eased, she proceeded to tell me how small a wound I had and how much worse everyone else got hurt. R asked if a hospital visit was necessary and was told no and that no Fijian went there for anything less than almost death. Which of course meant that I would not go either for so trifling a wound!
Slowly, however, the pain increased. Maybe an hour after the attack I couldn't sit still from the pain and it was now decided that maybe a hospital visit was necessary. In my defense, I still was not worried; I simply wanted something for the pain. My decision only worried R that much more as I never seek medical help at home.
The ride to the hospital lasted forever (maybe 30 minutes), the driver (the other caretaker of our guethouse) stopping constantly to pick up and give rides to almost every Fijian we passed on the road.
Eventually we pulled up to the emergency room and I hobbled in. No one was there. Quiet and empty. A nurse eventually arrived and inquired as to the problem. My foot was pointed out. She talked with the caretaker; she talked to the janitor and some other random guy. No preceivable haste in any of her movements. Why? Probably b/c I was not missing a limb; I think only tourists show up there with problems that are really not problems, and she knew there was no great danger to my health. Or so I assume.
I was cleaned up, given a booster shot. She smiled when asking about the leaves covering the mini-gash. A request for pain killers was answered with some weakly pills. No gas mask or shot of morphine or anything. Bummer!
Back we went. Hours later the pain still had not eased. 4 Advils (taken right away) and 2 of the pills from the 'hospital', and nothing. Worst pain I've ever been in. And since it never let up it was that much worse. Like my foot was in a vice. Ouchie. Finally, around 8 or 9 (maybe 5 hours later?) it eased up. Dinner and sleep.
Since then, not much pain. Just huge bruising and swelling. Ankle down, still swollen. It's getting annoying, esp since I start my new job in a few days!
Hm. No embellishment. Either I'm grown up or not in the mood....