All our best trips end with my ending up in an Emergency room somewhere. It’s happened so many times that it’s not a coincidence any more; it’s a proven fact.
My sibling swears that I’ve always been clumsy, awkward and accident-prone, and my parents never took me to emergency departments back in India “because they wanted Darwin’s Law to do its job”. Growing up, I was tripping on flat floors and knocking off souvenirs from shelves all the time, so much so that I’d come to associate those incidents with normalcy.
Apparently my awkwardness was foretold, but I only came to know of the prophecy about 4 days before my marriage when I dropped a heavy pressure cooker on my big toe. My mother promptly arrived at the scene and instead of scolding me, she became thoughtful. Just when I was wondering if she’d finally lost it, the following dialogue took place.
Mother: When you were little, Grandma X took us to a palm reader. Do you know what he said?
Yoda: lel what?
M: He asked me to take extra care of you, because you’d leave the country as
soon as you reached puberty.
Y: Wow, mom…I’m 22…
M: He also said I should take care of your legs, because you’d hurt them all
the time. You know I don’t believe in such things, so I’d rolled my eyes.
Y: So, about that puberty thing…
M (pensive pause): Yeah, I guess he was right in both cases.
My awkwardness manifested itself even more magnificently on multiple occasions after we moved in together and started travelling. But the most significant ones so far have taken place in Las Vegas and Gibraltar.
The Las Vegas incident took place at 3am while we were out club-hopping. The weirdest thing is, neither of us are, or have ever been, “party people”; we were both born middle aged, and prefer staying home drinking tea and watching documentaries, thank you very much.
But in this instance, we were doing it for the exciting experience of semi-drunk-dancing in a suffocating crowd, damaging our ear drums and getting unwanted propositions, essentially to dent our otherwise wholesome existence. Towards the end of the night, someone stepped on my foot so hard my entire big toenail almost came off. I didn’t even realize it till I felt the stickiness of clotted blood on my foot. A panicked Dalek rushed me to A&E where
1) The attendant thought I was a visitor, because “you look pretty!”
2) An old woman angrily informed me that I was “dressed like a slut”. Talk about mixed feedback.
After the “surgical procedure”, the doctor smiled and asked me if I wanted to keep the nail forever. “Why would I do that?”, I asked. “You could wear it like a pendant, I wear my tooth, see…?”, she pulled out her prized tooth-pendant and smiled benevolently. Horrified, I looked towards Dalek for help, but my knight in shining armour was having a nighty-night on the bedside chair. I asked her to dispose of my toenail in accordance with the law, but let’s be honest, it’s probably a part of her pendant collection now. On the plus side, we get to talk about our wild night in Vegas where we ended up in a hospital.
The second incident took place while we were cave walking in Gibraltar. It was our first time, and we were so excited, but boy, our manly men co-travellers were so annoying! When one of them slipped on the wet limestone, others roared with laughter and asked him if he’d hurt his vagina. Similar comments, mostly what’s excused as ‘locker room talk’, continued throughout. I was internally fuming, but was hell bent on showing them what a strong, independent woman looks like. The journey inwards was fine. When we were making our way out of the cave, I somehow sprained my ankle and started bawling.
That was the exact moment when I knew I’d let all women down.
As I continued to sob in pain, the manly men shook their heads and helped push me out of the cave. My pride was so bruised I refused to get it checked that night, but the next morning it was obvious that I needed a doctor. A panicked Dalek rushed me to an A&E again.
The nurse was surprised my ankle wasn’t broken, and told me it’s going to take more than a month to recover. But I put on a bandage, popped a pill and made to dolphin-watching with Dalek. There was no way I was going to let women down twice in a span of 12 hours.
What’s the point of this pointless post, you ask? There is none.
You see, I’d forgotten about these incidents , but they all came back when we were glacier-walking in Iceland. Petrified of hurting myself in the middle of nowhere, I’d walked with extreme caution. When we were driving back to Reykjavik, I realized something: I was so busy being safe, I’d only half-enjoyed a once in a lifetime experience.
Maybe I don’t end up in hospitals just because of my clumsiness or that stupid prophecy. Maybe it’s because I can lose myself in those fleeting moments that eventually become beautiful memories. I guess, sometimes, it’s worth getting a feel of A&E if you want to make memories. (Of course, if I ever have children, I’ll be a hypocrite and teach them safety comes first, but that’s another issue.)
From yet another A&E,
P.S. Caving in Gibraltar is one of our top travel experiences in the world, A&E visits not-withstanding. 😛
P.P.S Nail removal costed $2000 (just about covered by insurance) while Gibraltar treatment was covered under our EHIC card. European healthcare 1 – US healthcare 0