|Nanglat: Stupid, Evil, Bitey Plant|
|This was a good place|
I did eventually get free of the hospital in Brisbane. It took a long time. Once I got my freedom, I went exploring. I left at 11:30. I got to the hotel around 8. I didn’t stop moving through those eight and a half hours.
|I’m holding a koala.
My life has these moments of AWESOME!
|These guys were pretty lively,
the rest of them were all asleep.
|And then they peed on me.
Pretty though, aren’t they?
I finally had surgery. They came to get me around 3 today. I was down in the surgical unit until 7. I missed dinner which was really too bad since I was damn hungry.
I more or less have a functional brain again. Despite repeatedly trying to get a local anesthetic with a nerve block, I ended up under general anesthesia. I was out for about 3 hours. When I woke up, I confused the nurse. I wasn’t speaking English.
I was speaking Bislama.
I think I’ve learned the language pretty well.
This is short because my hand hurts and typing is both difficult and a little painful. As far as I know, they cut open my hand, looked at the nerve, decided it wasn’t damaged, cleaned it out and sewed it back up. I still have no sensation on my thumb. I’m a bit concerned.
I’m still on IV antibiotics. I’m really thirsty and my throat hurts. Stupid anesthesia.
|Sorry it is sideways.
But this is my fashion statement.
Around 10:30 pm Saturday night, I woke up completely when they told my neighbor they’d be closing the ward and we were all moving. I put my things back in my bag and fell back asleep until they came to move me. That ward was a six-bed room with three men, two women and me. My cubicle didn’t have a curtain, my neighbor was using it to double block his cubicle. My neighbor was also a bouncer, used to bouncer’s hours with bouncer friends who also keep bouncer’s hours. They were talking while I was trying to sleep. (It was probably like 8:30 at night, really.)
|Dinner. Not appetizing.|
|There were lots of signs, that one is above the bus station|
It is ten o’clock at night. I’ve been up since 4 am.
We got up and left Epi at daybreak this morning. Between the plane check and the weather, we didn’t get in until 7:45. The Peace Corps Medical Officer met me at the Vila Airport and gave me a ride to the office. Once we got to the office, Nelsine looked at my hand and it confirmed her initial impression. There is likely nerve damage.
I still have no sensation in part of my thumb, though my range of motion remains intact. If I tip my hand sideways, I get a tingly feeling next to the numb part. If you look at a diagram of the nervous system of the hand, where my thumb is numb almost perfectly maps onto the branch of the radial nerve the feeds the top and outside of my thumb.
There is no microsurgery in Vanuatu. There is no guarantee of a sterile environment. Given the position of the incision, an infection could have serious effects on the movement and sensation of my entire wrist and hand. They sent me to Brisbane, Australia.
After I met with the PC doctor, she got an appointment at the hospital to talk to a surgeon. He looked at my hand and agreed with her assessment. From there, a lot of paperwork happened. A lot of running around happened. I was in and out of the medical office enough that one of the PCMOs started joking that I should just get my own key.
I signed a lot of forms. I got a visa to go to Australia. I got given my per diem in US dollars for the visit to Australia. I signed a few more forms. I got an insurance card. Eventually, I went to lunch with a few friends. It was nice to see people and pretend like nothing was wrong. Then I went back to signing forms.
My flight was leaving at 4 pm. By 1 pm, the Brisbane hospital hadn’t gotten back to my PCMOs about a hand surgeon. I couldn’t leave Vila without the Brisbane coordinator giving the ok for me to go, which she couldn’t give until she’d found a place that could give appropriate care. The next flight was on Sunday, which would have been fine, except that there is a tropical depression over Vanuatu which is likely to turn into another cyclone over the weekend. That would mean I couldn’t get out until sometime next week, which is not ideal for getting my hand put back together.
At 3:10, the paperwork came through. Did I mention I was getting on a 4:00 flight? I grabbed all my stuff, stuffed it in my bag and ran out the door. We got checked in by 3:30 and through security. When I tried to call Jason to tell him I’d made it on the plane, I found out my phone had to credit. One of the security guards was nice enough to take my money and go top up my phone. I called and left a message for Jason saying I was leaving, on a jet plane.