Suitcase and World: Day 5. Did not end as expected.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Day 5. Did not end as expected.

The lesson learned from this days'events is "Do not walk in socks on a slick boat deck."

I slipped and fell on the felucca. I don't remember some of the details of what took place so you'll need to read Lei's posting to fill in the gaps.

When I fell, I landed in a small storage hold beneath the level of the deck. From the intense pain that shot up the left side of my body, I quickly realized that I had badly injured my left arm. I could not sit up so Daniel carried me up to deck level. Everyone rushed around. Someone put a pillow under my head. I remember glancing at my left elbow and seeing it positioned backwards. That's when I realized that I had badly dislocated it.

I remember hyperventilating but not crying or screaming - my body's way of dealing with the pain and trauma.

Abdul floated the felucca to shore and someone helped me stand up. The only comfortable position was to hold my arm straight above my head but because the upper and lower part of my arm were no longer joined, someone had to hold up my arm for me as it could not support itself.

They put out a narrow wooden plank so I could disembark the boat. I remember the plank was painted with the same slick white paint that I had slipped on so I took extra care walking.

Once on shore, I remember Bridget putting my hiking sandals on the ground. I slipped my feet in and started walking. Daniel, Lei and Abdul were all bracing me, holding up my left arm as we started to climb the embankment.

At some point, Daniel carried me up the slope but after a while, I could hear his breathing getting more and more labored. I didn't want him to drop me so I told him that I could walk the rest of the way. He gently put me down and we continued the climb. I focused on each step - not wanting to slip.

After what seemed like an eternity, we reached a road. I remember Daniel spotting a flatbed truck and asking Abdul if we could hire the driver to take me to the doctor. Abdul replied that the doctor's office was just across the road so that's where we headed. We must have been quite a sight and made quite a scene as we entered the building - there seemed to be a crowd gathering around us. No such thing as privacy in a Nubian village doctor's office :-)

I remember the doctor asking what was wrong and Daniel replying that I had hurt my arm. By this point, the pain was getting to be really excruciating so all I remember is focusing on not passing out.

I remember the doctor asking me if I wanted a sedative for the pain. I replied no.

I remember being led into a room to be x'rayed. The doctor wanted me to put my arm down on the examination table but I remember replying that I couldn't. Instead, I had to lunge/squat to bring my body down to the right height so my arm could rest on the table. Someone was supporting my body weight, someone else positioning my left arm on the table and someone else was holding up my butt so I wouldn't lose balance.

I remember getting a glimpse of the x'ray and hearing the doctor tell Lei and Daniel that the arm was dislocated but nothing broken.

At this point, I remember Lei saying she was feeling faint and squatting down. Poor thing. She had about 6 layers of clothing on - preparing for the cold night on the felucca - and was getting overheated. She squatted down and someone brought a chair over for her to sit on. I don't know how she recovered but what a trooper - she never left my side and I will always be grateful to her for that.

By now, all I really wanted was just someone, anyone, to reset my arm.

The doctor wanted to write a referral and send me back to a hospital in Aswan to get the elbow reset. I remember Daniel asking the doctor why he (the doctor) couldn't do the reset; that going to Aswan would mean that I would be in pain even longer than I had aleady been. The doctor asked if I could take the pain. Lei replied I was already in pain. I think he thought I needed to be put under general anesthesia but it was decided to use local anesthesia instead.

I was then led into another room and had to get up on and lay down on an examination table. There was a loud, sudden bang that momentarily startled me - someone had knocked something down on the floor.

Someone was holding my right arm down on the table and attempting to give me an injection into the top of my hand. After a few failed attempts, someone else came over and squeezed my right arm, below the elbow, to create a tourniquet effect.

Someone else was trying to position my left arm on the table - laying it flat. The pain was so searing, I was beginning to see stars. The last thing I remember, before going under, was Daniel's face. He was telling me to breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe.......

When I came to, my first instinct was to feel for my left elbow. It was there, where it was suppose to be and wrapped up in a soft bandage. I was sitting in a chair and someone moved me to a wheelchair.

I remember Daniel telling me that I would be going to Luxor so I could see an orthopedic doctor. Lei was coming with me. Daniel had made all the necessary arrangements -including transportation and hotel for the night. Although I wanted to rejoin the group on the felucca, I knew that going to Luxor was the wise decision - my arm was still hurting a bit and I was concerned that it might not have been reset properly.

Someone used my fleece jacket to create a sling for me.

We had to join a convoy to get to Luxor so people were scurrying to get us going. Daniel and Lei rushed back to the felucca to get our packs and other belongings. As I got into the car, someone handed me a bag of food. I wasn't hungry and neither was Lei so I don't know what happened to the food.

I didn't have a chance to thank or say goodbye to anyone but if they chance on this blog, I want them to know that they all have my deepest gratitude for their efforts to care for me.

It was going to be a 3 hour ride to Luxor. We both hoped the driver knew where he was going and I hoped that Lei had taken her Dramamine. We both snapped photos from the car.

For the first time, we could see the fertile valley that borders the Nile.

...desert landscape became the dominant sight as we neared Luxor.

We met friendly Egyptians everywhere on our trip - even on this car ride. I have a feeling that Lei and I now live as digital images on someone's cell phone:-)

We soon arrived into Luxor and the driver began to ask passers by for directions to Little Garden, the hotel that Lei and I would be spending the night at. After a few wrong turns, we finally arrived at the doorstep of the Little Garden Hotel. Abdul, who is an Intrepid Operator in Luxor and whose brother owns the hotel, was there to greet us. Daniel had arranged for Abdul to look after us.

We got checked in and took a few minutes to get freshened up. We were then back in a cab, with Abdul, on the way to see the orthopedic doctor.

We soon arrived at the offices of Dr. Emad Milek. Lei and I explained situation him. He unbandaged my elbow and took a cursory look at it. It felt sore, even to his gentle his touch. The first thing he wanted to do was to x-ray the elbow. Same type of x-ray machine as in the Nubian village doctor's office though this time I was able to put my arm down on the table by myself. Two x-ray's were taken, each from a different position. When Dr. Milek looked at the x-rays, he confirmed that the elbow was still slightly out of joint. He wanted to put me under to reset it and depending on the stability of the arm after that, he would either bandage it up in a soft cast or else, put me in a hard cast.

We waited for the anesthesiologist to arrive. In the meantime, Dr. Milek wrote a prescription for Lei as she had been battling a really sore throat since the day before. Lei and I had a wonderful time chatting with Dr. Milek - what a kind, gentle, caring man he turned out to be.

The anesthesiologist soon arrived and I was given an injection. I remember asking Dr. Milek what his daughter's name is but was out before I even heard his answer.

When I came through, I was feeling really groggy. First instinct was to feel for my elbow. When I felt the plaster cast, I knew the damage had been bad but I would worry about that later.

Lei and Abdul helped me to my feet. Lei had already paid the doctor's bill ....

....and Abdul (with me in the picture below) had already gone to the pharmacy to have both our prescriptions filled. Dr. Milek had written me a prescription for some anti-inflammatory medicine.

We got into a cab and headed back to the hotel. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant with Abdul keeping us good company throughout our meal. Daniel called to find out how things went. I told him that both Lei and I were fine and that we looked forward to rejoining the group. He said he would pick us up around noon the next day.

After dinner, we went back to our room. Both of us were exhausted from the events of the day. I collapsed onto the bed and fell into a deep sleep, praying that the next day would be less eventful....., at least from a health related perspective :-)