I can't remember the last time I was as excited as when I finally left my hotel in Santa Elena, Venezuela. It was 12 days and counting, the longest I had ever stayed anywhere while travelling in South America for four months. It was also the closest I have ever come to killing someone. The reason for this downfall was that a mosquito had bitten my leg, it had gotten quite infected, and I had to keep it clean so it would heal properly. The doctor had said only to walk around if absolutely necessary.
Some people might say this is a good way to relax, take some time to rest and regenerate. I say this is a good way to become mentally ill. I felt like I was in captivity, creeping at insanity's door. I had gone a bit stir crazy. But I knew my options. The doctor had made it very clear: lose my mind, or lose my leg. Both would make travel plans, not to mention life in general, a tad more difficult.
Well, I was sure I'd already lost my mind somewhere around the age of seven when I repeatedly got teased by everyone at school because my glasses were so big, so there was no devastating loss there. But my leg, that I wasn't so sure I could get back once lost. I was happy to wait and lay low for a while.
Because it is Halloween, I would like to make this gem of a hospital extravaganza sound quite scary. But only for a precious minute, I swear – just take you to your Halloween Hell and back. A quick, friendly "Boo!"
You will walk to the hospital by yourself, and limp through the emergency doors. You will wait two hours to see a doctor, with blood dribbling down your leg and onto the floor. A nurse will then escort you, hobbling, into a small operating room that reminds you of the movies where they have those medical tables they use to cut open and torture patients. The room is cold. She will clean your wound, causing you to experience one of the more painful events recorded in your recent history.
When she has finished, you look down, horrified, and see for the first time the gaping, bleeding hole just below your knee. The damage you are dealing with finally hits you. The nurse looks at you, wide-eyed, and before covering it up, she leaves you. Bleeding. Alone, shivering in the torture room. She has gone to get an English-speaking doctor. And another nurse. And Harry and Sally from reception, and pretty soon there are six people in the little room staring at you, watching as if you were a lab rat. When things settle down, the English-speaking doctor finally says to immediately administer penicillin.