Thursday, October 19, 2006
Time for me to relate more about what happened in the last little while. After my ambulance ride down Taroko Gorge (which is still beautiful even when you're in pain), I ended up in the nearest hospital, which happened to be the military hospital, also known as "Ba ling wu." I'm not exactly sure why. Since that day was a holiday it was really really difficult for me to get ahold of ANYONE. People here turn their cell phones off during holidays so work can't reach them I guess. Finally I reached Joy, my co-worker in Hualian, and she came to the hospital as soon as she could. By then I'd had x-rays, and the doctor had set my ankle as best as he could (another of the most painful experiences in my life). They told me I would need surgery, and wanted to know if I wanted to do it there or go back to Yilan first. Going back to Yilan didn't seem like a very good choice at the time so I decided to stay there and surgery was scheduled for the next morning. I got in touch with more and more people, and it turned out that Peggy was in town, taking her daughters back to school. She ended up staying the night with me and the next 2 nights as well. She was really like an angel. It was so amazing to have my "Taiwan mommy" as I've affectionately referred to her before, there with me, and helped me to feel not so afraid. In the morning, her husband, the dear Dr. Su came up from Yuli and called his friend who knew the chief of staff at the hospital. Apparently essential in ensuring I had quality treatment. Even hospitals here work on "guanxi" or relationship networks. As the only foreigner in the hospital I was probably kind of like a "VIP" there.
The anaesthesiologist came in next and tried to explain the side effects of local vs. global anaesthesia and get me to choose one. Well at that point they both sounded really bad to me. I decided to go with local anaesthesia, and they wheeled me away. I guess here is the time for confession... I was really scared as they wheeled my into the operating room, leaving all my friends behind. I started crying, but when we got into the operating room it was soooo cold in there, my tears turned to shivers, my teeth were literally chattering. Soon the doctors started talking with me as they prepared to give me the needle... once... twice....three times they stuck a needle in my back, but to no avail! It wasn't working, their needle wasn't going deep enough. So onto plan B... global anaesthesia.... maybe you've experienced it before... the slow sleepiness and then sudden waking up to discover that it's been 4 hours and they've cut your leg open and sewn it back up with 13 lovely stitches.