Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Constanţa Cont.

A lot has happened in the last few days. Most of it involved pain of some kind, but I think I'm on the upward track finally.

I enjoyed exploring Constanţa on Saturday afternoon and evening, and slept incredibly well. You wouldn't think that to get good sleep you should go to a hostel, but all of my evidence points to the contrary. Sunday morning I got up and went out... and thus it began.

I was in the old part of the city, in a place where the pavement is really broken up and there is loose stone and rock everywhere. Everything was going well- beautiful crisp morning, tons of sunshine, the sea to the east and incredible history and culture all around me. And then my friend the Dacia (circa 1271) passed by making a noise I have NEVER heard a car make. And I'm my father's child... I've heard cars make some weird noises. In my moment of distraction (and okay, amazement at the functionality of this car) I rolled my right ankle- the weak one- and fell pretty hard on the stone. I was in walking sandals and consequently hit the big toe of my left foot pretty hard on the broken pavement.

I kind of realized the severity of the situation when I looked down to see the blood all over my leg from the loose stones. I have a habit of talking myself through stressful/traumatic conversations. Yes, I do this aloud... the presence of another voice helps.

"You're okay. You're okay. Stephanie, you are okay. You are going to get up and start walking and you are going to figure out what to do. This is fine, no big deal. You are totally fine. OH my God I can't move my ankle. Okay, get to the shade. Get to the shade. Holy **** this hurts. Okay, we need a plan. We'll figure this out, no worries. It's okay, you can figure this out. Shade first- get into the shade. We can do this."

And it continued. My (incredible) hostel host Dave rescued me in his van and drove me back, where I iced and cleaned and bandaged and realized I really was going to need to go to the hospital. Dave and Mada and I climbed into the van and went in search of a clinic, but ended up at the emergency room as it was a Sunday. Mada was there to help out with language issues, and the service was incredibly fast, if lacking a bit in tenderness. They took me right in and I got an injection (I freaked at first because I thought they were going to inject my knee), but it was just a tetnus booster. I then had my leg cleaned up... with rubbing alcohol. I've never sucked in such exclamations of pain in my life. Right after that I was headed to radiology, but not before I had to get undressed and into a (used and quite smelly) hosptial gown... in the middle of the hallway. No big deal, right?

The emergency part of the hospital is very modern. The rest of the hospital is not. My personal wheelchair woman Laura pushed me down a ramp to the radiology hallway and ohhhhh buddy. It was like a time warp back to 1972. The walls were grey and bleak, the tiles that were left in the ceiling were not doing a very good job of stopping the gross drippings that we were swerving to avoid. They took something like 14 xrays- loads of my ankle, plenty of my toe, and then a few of my scraped knee. Just in case, I suppose.

After the radiology room I was wheeled to an elevator (the old freight kind, with an attendant and the squeeky metal doors) and taken to the fifth floor. I counted, because I was trying to distract myself from the pain- it took 129 seconds to go from ground to 5. I should say that all of this, and I've not had any sort of pain medication at all- at all. So imagine my horror when I was wheeled into a creepy little doctor experiment room with a tiny little window at the top and instructed to lay on a couch. And then the most swarthy and giant Romanian man I have EVER seen picks up my leg and just like THAT he sets my ankle and then plasters it. Um, ouch.

I was told to stay off of my ankle completely, but also that the hospital didn't have any crutches. Good plan... I just got them, nearly 48 hours and 2 trips to school and 14 classes later. The pain pills aren't exactly the most effective things... basically the equivalent of Ibuprofin. I don't have a residency permit here, so I had to pay right there for my treatment. Folks in the States are going to freak out about this... emergency room treatment, tetnus booster, 14 xrays, doctor consultation, plaster casting... 450 RON. Do the conversation (about a 3 to 1 ratio for those in the States)... it is going to blow your mind. I think they charge you more for diapers in American hospitals.

There is a lot to complain about here... but also so so much to be thankful for.

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