While we’re gone, I decided to post some of my best and strangest travel stories. By best, I mean stories that are nuts and really should be enough evidence for my passport to be revoked. To start, I’m going with a show stopper. The title of this post should give you a good idea of what you are in for.
It was January 2005 and I had just arrived back in Manchester, England after spending Christmas at home. I was in my shared house by myself as Katie was in London visiting a friend and the other roomies were still abroad. It was Thursday night and I was getting ready hop on a train bound for London to celebrate my cousin birthday in the morning. Since my train was so early, I decided to shower in the evening so I could save some time. Big Mistake. I was walking barefoot (another mistake) from the bathroom to my room when I felt something small but sharp enter my foot. I tried to just pull my foot up but whatever was in me was also stuck in the awful carpet. I wiggled my foot (mistake #3) and the sharp object snapped so I hopped to my room.
I looked at the bottom of my foot and realized I had stepped on a sewing needle and a piece of it had broken off in my foot. I tried gently to get it out myself but could. Right then I decided to call Micah (in Brooklyn) for advice on what to do. He suggested the hospital (smart boy) and so I got dressed and hobbled the 3 blocks to the Manchester Royal Infirmary. On my way there, I decided to give my friend Nick a call. I knew that I was covered by the British National Medical System but I wasn’t sure if I had to prove anything or what it would cost. Nick’s Mum answered and talked me through everything. She knew the hospital well and told me exactly where to go and what to do.
I showed up at the emergency window, filled out all the required forms and waited. And waited. And waited. While waiting, I called my aunt in London and told her what happened. I wanted to let them know I wasn’t sure I’d make it down to London in the morning. When I was finally called back, the doctor asked me a few more questions and then told me he needed to take some x-rays of my foot (not a good sign). I waited a little while longer for the x-ray technician to arrive and when he was done, the verdict wasn’t good. The needle had broken in TWO places in my foot and would require me to go into surgery and have a general anesthesia administered. The procedure couldn’t be done tonight but could be done the following afternoon.
I made the mistake (#4 if you are counting) of telling the doctor that I was alone so he insisted that I be admitted for the night. I had the pleasure of a bed in a room with 9 other people. I was the only person in there who wasn’t drunk when I got injured. Let’s just say that the only thing the women in the room and I had in common were the fact that we were all in a hospital in Manchester. The next day I was served the WORSE.HOSPITAL.FOOD.EVER and prepped for my surgery. I was wheeled in to the pre-op room, asked to count to ten and then woke up in the post-op room a little while later. The doctor came by and said everything went well but I almost woke up before they were done because they hadn’t administered enough general anesthesia. Um, thanks for telling me that?
The surgery was Saturday afternoon and on Sunday night I was told I would have to spend 2 more days in the hospital. I was working at a local café and had a shift Monday afternoon so I decided to call my boss and let her know I wasn’t coming in. Sarah, my boss, came running over, grabbed my keys and brought me a fresh change of clothes and some food from the café. She told the other girls from work, so I had a few visitors on Monday. On Tuesday I was suppose to go home but the physical therapist who was suppose to show me how to use the fore-arm crutches never showed up for work. After kicking up a fuss, I was finally discharged Wednesday morning. I hobbled home alone and promptly called Katie in London once my phone was charged.
The best part (no the story isn’t done) is that because my foot wasn’t broken, they didn’t put it in a cast. I had to keep my foot dry because of the stitches and the only way the hospital staff new to do that to wrap it in a plastic bag. Yes, that’s right, I had a plastic grocery bag around my foot as I hobbled home with gross hair (I hadn’t showered since Friday) and my right shoe in my hand. Pitiful. A couple days after getting discharged, I had to go in for a quick check up. I was in an examination room with a first year nursing student waiting for the doctor arrive when she started undressing the bandages (and plastic bag) around my foot. Seemed normal until she started to reach for the scissors. I asked what she was doing and she said she was going to cut my stitches off. WHAT THE HELL? I’m no nurse but I knew they weren’t ready to come out. I pulled back with all my strength and told her I wanted to wait for the doctor. When he finally showed up, he confirmed that it was 7 days too early for the stitches to come out.
It took a couple of weeks of walking with my crutches before I could put my full weight down on my foot. All that madness because of a needle. I never did find out who’s needle it was. The good part of the story is that because I was student at the University, all my medical expenses were covered, including all prescriptions. Say what you will about the NHS and the girl who tried to take the stitches out too early but this little needle event would have cost me a lot in the states, even without the nights in the hospital.
I hope I never have to go to the hospital in another country again but knowing me, I’m not counting on it. Anyone else have an hospital adventures abroad?