We just posted a blog a few days ago about the flood in our apartment Tuesday night. That makes the event that we’re getting ready to write about that much more ridiculous. We’re going to make this a 3 part blog, with each person involved telling their perspective on this story. I, Andrew, will be going first. This past Wednesday morning Ashley had to go with Jessica to San Jose to shop for some items for the Christmas parties. San Jose is about an hour away so they left at 8 AM. At 9 AM Felicia and I went down to the playground to play with kids/make sure they don’t kill each other. It was a slow morning, as only two kids were with me on the playground and the few others were up in the classrooms. I was playing tag with Alma and Alex, two 6 year olds. There is an area of the playground that is a jungle gym, which is mainly utilized by the younger children. There are several platforms about 4 to 5 feet off the ground that the kids can climb up to, and there’s a slide on the other end for them to get down. Underneath these platforms are open spaces that the kids can run through and play. Being about 6 feet tall, if I want to follow the kids through these passageways I have to duck down. I was chasing Alex through the passageway, which I’ve probably done hundreds of times in the past 4 months, as fast as I possibly could in a bent over position. When I was almost out into the open air I thought I had plenty of room and raised up, hitting my head on the underside edge of one of the platforms. I felt a sudden, very blunt pain and instantly knew the result wasn’t going to be good. I was pretty stunned, so I fell to the ground once I got out of the passageway, and the kids started laughing as they thought I was playing around. When I told them to back away and they saw the blood on my hand from reaching for my head, they knew I was no longer playing. They started screaming “Sangre!” and ran up towards the classrooms in a panic. I have to be honest that one of the first thoughts in my head was “I’m glad today is my off day from the gym, but I’m probably going to have to miss tomorrow…crap.” Yeah I know, I’m obsessed. Anyway, I got up and followed them, and met one of the volunteers Dylan outside of the classrooms. I told him what happened, and upon seeing my head he ran to the kitchen to get a rag so I could apply pressure to my head. I walked up toward the multipurpose room where several of the kids were playing foosball. They all saw my bloody face and one of the older guys, Steven, started screaming for Laura, the head teacher. Dylan came back with the rag and I sat down while everyone gathered around. For those of you who know me well, you know this isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to putting holes in my head. Even without seeing the wound I knew I needed to go to the hospital to get stitches. Pastor Maiko came out of his office and told me to get in his car so we could go to the hospital. I ran inside the apartment first to get some water and grab my wallet and passport. Once I got in the car, I could look in the mirror and see the extent of my injuries. I felt the most pain on top of my head (which I later realized was superficially cut and bruised) but saw a nice 1 1/2 inch gash in the top-middle of my forehead. The cut slanted up and to the left, and it forked off once crossing into my hairline, making a nice little flap of skin with hair on it that was hanging off my head a little. I don’t get queasy from seeing blood or mangled body parts, but seeing your own forehead like that is enough to make anyone uneasy. I made a joke to Maiko that I looked like a walker (zombie), as The Walking Dead is one of our favorite shows and we had just watched it together the night before. The hospital is only a 5 minute drive away from the mission, so that was good news. I didn’t know what to expect at the hospital and I didn’t know how our insurance here was going to work. Maiko called Ashley on the way and I got a chance to speak with her briefly so she could tell me our insurance cards were in the nightstand next to our bed. We entered the lobby of the Emergency Room, which was actually just a tiny space followed by two parallel hallways. The waiting room was through a doorway off one oft these hallways. Maiko spoke to the man at the door briefly, and then told me to follow the man so he could leave me to retrieve our insurance cards. I was instantly thinking “Don’t you dare leave me here alone!” but all that came out was “Uh…” He told me again to follow the man, so I did, and Maiko left. He took me to a room with three hospital beds in it, with only the first bed being occupied by an older man. I was amazed that I walked in the ER and was immediately taken to a room. In the United States I’ve never waited less than an hour to be seen in an ER. I went to the second bed while a man (maybe a male nurse because I don’t think he was a doctor) and a woman began to clean the blood off my face and ask me what happened. I explained to them the best I could and apologized for my mediocre Spanish. After the initial cleaning they went back to working on the man next to me. I couldn’t see exactly what they were doing but I think they were stitching up his right arm as all I could see was a pair of bloody scissors. Right about this time I began praying. “God, please don’t let these people stitch me up wrong and mess up my head.” I didn’t know how qualified these people were but I was willing to bet the standards weren’t up to par with the doctors in the United States. Even though I really wasn’t nervous, I realized I was in the middle of one of my worst nightmares… being alone in the Emergency Room of some tiny hospital in Latin America. I had to wait about 30 minutes before the medical staff turned their attention to me. Sometime during the middle of that wait I was starting to wonder where Maiko was. Thankfully, he walked in right before they started working on me. Although I feel comfortable understanding the gist of what most people are telling me in most situations, I wanted to be crystal clear on what was happening with my cracked open head, and Maiko was the only way that would be possible. The doctor came in to administer the shots of Novocaine which was a real joy; sticking a needle in my throbbing forehead several times so that I wouldn’t feel any pain. That kind of defeats the purpose of trying to eliminate pain. Then the doctor covered my face with a towel and began to stitch. He told me to let him know if I could feel pain as he was sewing in the first stitch. Hmm…maybe that one was a fluke, let me see if the second one hurts too. Yep, that pretty much feels like a needle being pushed through my skin. I flagged him down and told him via Maiko that the Novocaine didn’t seem to have set in yet. He gave me a few more shots, and finished off the rest of the stitches. I received 6 stitches in my forehead, which brings my all-time head stitch count up to 20. The male nurse put some antibiotic gel on the wound and tried to clean some of the blood out of my hair. Whatever he used to clean my hair gave me quite an interesting hair style. I would say it was a cross between Ace Ventura and Cameron Diaz from There’s Something About Mary. The doctor didn’t tell me anything about post-procedure care, so I asked him two questions: When can I shower, and when can I workout? He responded with 3 hours, and 3 days, respectively. I thought the shower answer sounded a little off, and I’m glad I researched it because I found out you shouldn’t get stitches wet at all for 24 to 48 hours. Needless to say I didn’t shower 3 hours later. I also went to the gym Friday night, so I didn’t listen to either piece of advice from the doctor. Yea, I guess I’m hard headed, but that has seemed to work in my favor seeing how accident prone I am.
Felicia’s side! After realizing that Ashley was going to be gone for the day, I figured the most stressful part of my day would be having to prepare the craft for the preschoolers without her help. Little did I know, things would get a little more crazy than just having to cut out a dozen or so ovals out of construction paper. After Laura rounded up the preschool kids from the playground, we made our way to the preschool room, sat in a circle on the floor and started singing the routine songs about the days of the week, the months of the year, etc. We made it about halfway through the months when we suddenly heard someone frantically screaming Laura’s name. As she ran out of the room, I realized I was left, alone, in a room full of 10 to 12 preschoolers and I know little to no Spanish. So, while attempting to keep the room under some sort of control, Dylan sprinted to the window and screamed, “Where’s Ashley?!” Flustered, I responded that she was gone for the day and as he ran away, I could hear him screaming, “What do you mean she’s gone?!” At that point, I figured something was seriously wrong and that Andrew was most likely involved. I also figured that I should probably see what was going on and next thing I know, I see Andrew walking up from the playground, holding a towel to his head with blood streaming down his face. Not really sure what to do, I tried to tell the kids to sit down and be quiet so I could hear what Andrew was saying. Of course, I couldn’t really make out much but I could tell that he was talking really, really slow. I watched as he got into Maiko’s car and took off to what I could guess was the hospital. Still unsure of what happened, I was handed a phone with Jessica on the other line and was told to explain what was going on. I tracked Dylan down, let him take care of that and made my way back to the preschool classroom to find Laura calmly singing songs with the kids again. Needless to say, the ovals that I cut about an hour before, were turned into beautiful penguins during craft time.
Now it’s my turn (Ashley) to tell this crazy story! Jessica and I planned to go into San Jose early Wednesday morning to finish up buying some things for this year’s Christmas parties. We left just after 8:00 a.m. and weren’t planning on being back here until 1:00 p.m. or so as it takes over an hour to make it into the city and we had a couple of places we wanted to go to. As we are standing in the middle of this wholesale school/office supply store, Jessica looks down at her phone and sees a missed called from Maiko’s wife, Erika. We both thought that was odd since she just spoke to Erika, so Jessica said she thought she needed to call her back. When she got her on the line, I could tell something was wrong. Jessica then told me that Andrew had been in an accident and was on the way to the hospital. My heart sank and I began to panic… what kind of accident? Then she just told me he had a head injury and needed to go right away to the hospital with Maiko. She hung up and called Maiko immediately. He was on his way to the hospital with Andrew. I wanted to speak to Andrew right away. I asked him what happened and he briefly explained the playground incident. He was talking slower than normal and I asked if he was OK. Andrew’s response was that he just didn’t know. Of course I am panicking for real now. For Andrew to not say “Oh, I’m fine. No big deal!” had me thinking that maybe there was a serious problem. We were at least an hour away and then some because we were waiting for our items to be pulled from the warehouse. Neither of us had any idea how our insurance was going to work here, and of course the insurance cards were at the house. I explained where they were and how to find them assuming Maiko and Andrew would just turn around and get them since the hospital is less than 5 minutes away. After getting off the phone with him, I distinctly remember telling Jessica that Maiko better not leave him alone. Of course at this point, Maiko had already dropped him off at the hospital and went back to the mission to find the insurance cards, which I didn’t know until later. Jessica tried calling Laura for more information but no one had much else to say besides there was a lot of blood, he had a head injury and needed to get to the hospital right away. We ended up waiting at least another 20-30 minutes to get checked out and out of the store we were in. Who knew this store would have a 3 step check out process that would take forever and a day. On our drive back to San Ramon, Maiko calls back to tell us Andrew needed 6 stitches and it’s going to cost about $200, but at least Andrew could pay it with his credit card. Andrew never travels with cash, and neither does Maiko, so I was quite worried about how they would pay for it. So at least I was a little relieved there. When we made it back to the mission, it was just about lunchtime and Andrew was already home. That’s the fastest emergency room trip I have ever heard of. I walked through the door and Andrew’s hair is all jacked up, he looked like a crazy person. One of the first things he said to me was that his stitch count has gone up again. And though the thought had crossed my mind earlier, I wasn’t about to mention anything about working out when Andrew says that he is awfully disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to go to the gym for a day or two. Typical!
It’s a crazy life we live here, never a dull moment!