There’s a part of me who thinks it is a bad idea to include this into our blog, but another part of me knows that the experience is an interesting one.
It was our first day of physical labor on the worksite. We were filling in the foundation and the carpenter, Yizha, and myself were digging with shovels. Suddenly off the second story roof next door a large wooden plank was thrown off the roof landing on the side of my body and knocking me over. It hit my upper arm, my upper thigh, and my ankle. I fell and was yelping in pain. I remember thinking how surprised I was that the strange screeching noises were coming out of me.
The rest of the group ran over and called a doctor to come up. I had no feeling in my leg and I couldn’t tell if it was broken so I was afraid to move. I saw a large bump in my leg and shouted “I see my bone”. Of course, this stirred lots of anxiety around the group and it was only sudden swelling and skin under my pants. Nevertheless, I couldn’t feel anything and couldn’t be sure what was happening so I stayed on the dirt floor waiting for the doctor. When he came I got up and was carried to the car. It was decided that I should get an x-ray in the nearest hospital – two hours away.
The contractor of the construction team of the house where the plank was thrown off drove me to the hospital since he felt responsible for the accident. Yutong and Yizha joined me as well to help translate once we arrived at the hospital. Lots of phone calls were made in the car to friends in the next nearby town to find the best doctor and to inform everyone people knew what was happening. I felt bad but was vulnerable in this situation.
The first sign of how different the medical system was here was when we asked for ice. Someone ran out of the office and grabbed three bags of fruit and flashed a ‘thumbs-up’ at me. I wasn’t in the mood for eating but I wasn’t about to reject three perfectly good bags of fruit.
When we arrived at the hospital, I requested a wheelchair so that I could use the bathroom. Blank eyes stared back at me at this strange request. Hmmm. I decided to get carried to the bathroom but the nearest one was on the THIRD FLOOR! I couldn’t believe that there would be no bathroom on the first floor of a hospital. When I got to the bathroom they were squatting toilets. I could barely hold myself up with legs so this was a hard-hitting challenge.
When I got into the x-ray room others decided to join. Strangers came in to watch since I interesting. Also, shockingly the doctors were smoking while I was in the room. In the end, the x-rays showed that I did not have any broken bones or fractures so I just got a few packages of Chinese medicines and was on my way back to Lhamo.
I was taking many pills everyday and got a necklace from the pharmacy that protected my immune system with wrapped up dried vegetables and livers. I was off my feet for more than 10 days waiting for my leg to return to its full strength. While I was getting better, there was so much generosity by the hostel workers/our friends. They prayed for me, lit spiritual brush and blew the smoke at my leg, and brought me endless amount of food.