Sunday, December 8, 2013

You're Gonna Fall in a Hole, and Other Brushes with Disaster in Peace Corps Albania


The third night of Language Refresher was a culture fair that another volunteer, Erin, and I coordinated. Being responsible adults, we forgot to prepare anything until two days before the event. So I brought some home-made cookies in an attempt to bribe site trivia out of other group 16-ers for Jeopardy. Of course, I ate about 7 on my furgon drive to Elbasan, but that's just normal.


Before the event, a bunch of us went out for dinner. We went to a soufflaq (soo-flatch) place - it's a type of gyro, except with the fries in the pita, and tomato jelly instead of ketchup. (Surprisingly tasty.) On our way back, we were rushing through the sketchy streets of ghetto Elbasan to return in time for our culture event when...it happened.

My worst fear.

(Ok, not totally worst, but definitely #3 fear.)

I fell in a hole.

Like, guys, I don't even walk on manhole covers back in the States due to this paranoid fear of falling in. 

(It's not paranoia if it actually happens.)

Not to mention, of all the PCVs to fall in a hole first, it's one of the two teetotalers. 

So anyway, I fall in this hole and hoist myself out and everyone's making sure I have my phone and my wallet and the use of my legs. Erin even snapped this picture (which does not do the hole any justice - it was at least four feet deep):


I started limping back with everyone (hanging onto my friend Dan for dear life) until they all insisted we get a cab. I was still saying, "No, it's fine, I'm ok, just a scratch," blah blah blah, but my manic adrenaline-induced babbling and my progressively worse limp convinced them else wise. 

We get back to the hotel, Dan helps me get to my room (at this point, the adrenaline's wearing off), I pull off my boots and holy Moses there's blood everywhere. But of course I'm still worried about getting to the culture fair and trying to get all the papers organized but I'm just dripping blood all over the floor and Dan's all STOP MOVING and Erin's all STOP WORRYING, I GOT THIS and I'm all OMG WHAT HAPPENED TO MY OREO CHOCOLATE I WAS EATING WHEN I FELL IN THE HOLE? 

And then I repeated for the next ten minutes straight "Oh my God, I fell in a godd*mn hole. I FELL IN A HOLE."

Health PCVs started showing up as they heard what happened, drawn to catastrophe and blood as moths to the flame, but Dan and Paul and Susan (two physicians) got me pulled together pretty quickly. Although my boots protected most of my leg, there was a gigantic small wound caused by the impact of my shin with the metal edge that definitely required stitches. So off I went (with Megan in tow, thanks Meg, you're the best site mate ever!) for a late-night visit to an Albanian ER.

We met up with the Peace Corps Medical Officer (who, as an Albanian doctor, speaks English and Shqip and so could translate what happened) at the ER of a brand new private hospital. I got four stitches and a three-day stay in Tirana because the PCMO didn't want me to walk on my leg.

Three days in the capital city, holla! Three days of rain and not really being able to walk...a little less holla.

But now, I'm all good, stitches are out, and although the physical wound is better, my pride still stings worse than anything at the thought of the fact that I fell in a hole.

I FELL IN A HOLE.

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