That time I ended up at an Indonesian hospital

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


The funny thing about our Bali trip was that it was kind of a disaster for most of us. From booking tickets to the wrong country to booking a flight with an expired passport (that one was me), we knew from the start that we were doomed. And we were right. Once in Bali, one girl crashed her scooter into a cactus on the first day, three people were stung by jellyfish (one of whom was stung so badly her thigh was covered in welts that blistered), someone else got a bad cold, another girl got Bali belly, someone else got a very painful sunburn and me, well let me paint the scene...

It's just before 9 am on the second day of the yoga retreat and I'm getting ready for breakfast. I'm changing and I've only gotten so far as to put on my bikini bottoms. I take a step and WHAM! I've stubbed my little toe against a suitcase.

But I know right away that it's not just stubbed, it's completely dislocated.

I grab my bikini top and awkwardly clutch it to my chest as I run out of the room screaming, "Katie, I dislocated my toe!!!" Some general running and commotion ensues. Katie's husband comes over and immediately tries to protect my modesty by doing up my bikini top. Only later will I realize that it's upside down and not properly clipped.

Luckily for me, one of the guys doing the retreat is a paramedic so he arrives right away and helps me move into the shade. By now, I'm freaking out because everyone is yelling at me to do different things (things like, "go to the hospital" and "here, I'll just do it" and "I'm going to go get my friend the osteopath, he'll put it back in for you..."). I start to cry, not so much from pain but from panic.

I'm in middle of nowhere Indonesia. The roads are chaotic and not all are paved, the hospital is far and the doctors, well, who knows...

But my guardian angel, a.k.a. Tony the paramedic, gives me drugs. Good ones, strong ones. He thinks the best thing to do is go to the hospital as he doesn't think any of us should pull my toe back into place. So off Katie and I go, in a taxi driven by a lunatic on crazy streets for a good hour long cab ride.

Let me tell you now that enduring an hour long cab ride in Bali with a dislocated toe is not something that you should ever do. Just sayin'.

Once at the hospital/medical clinic the Doctor checks me out and explains in broken English: "I have to be honest, I've only done this twice before and one time I failed. [FAILED?!?!?]. So you can either wait 3 hours for the orthopedic specialist to come and do it or I can do it now." I decide to give him a shot. One x-ray and two very painful shots of local anaesthetic later, I'm crushing Katie's hand as the Doctor gets ready to pull. And then, finally, we hear a pop. It's back.

They tape me up and give me a funny foam cast thing, and send me on my way. The yoga aspect of the retreat is pretty well ruined for me, but I still managed to thoroughly enjoy my time and the awkward yoga I was able to do.

And that's why you should always get travel insurance. Over and out.

8 comments:

  1. I'm glad it did go okay (well it could have been worse right...failing is not a word you want to hear from a doctor I guess). But being a traveler you have to have these kind of stories to tell too, right? ;)

    //Niina

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  2. That's so awful! Glad to hear your toe is better. Isn't it funny how sometimes we should just read the signs and know better than to keep moving forward?

    But at least you have a crazy story and an experience out of it all!

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  3. Oh the perils of travel. I once had my poor poor broken tibia set without painkillers in a public hospital in Latin America. They just held me down on the table while I screamed and then the doctor asked me out. Yeah. Right. Asshole. In all fairness, my leg healed perfectly and I doubt the doc had access to any painkillers.

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  4. Gosh what an ordeal!
    Just discovered your blog ... been loving reading about your trip!
    I just did a travel journal too :)
    Much love, Bailey from Vanilla Blonde

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  5. Just saw a comment you made on claires blog about being a canadian in aus for Xmas. Am right with you, let it snow (the impossible), curling up inside, lights everywhere...no time of year makes me more homesick. So just wanted to pop over and say a happy holidays wish despite the sun and shorts! X ashley

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  6. OH my goodness that is a disaster! I'm glad you are ok though!

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  7. YIKES!!! we're leaving for our trip to the philippines in a week and a half, and you have just completely reinforced my belief in travel insurance!!

    so glad to hear that your toe went back in ok :) x

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  8. Yowch! Glad it's on the mend.

    Don't you just hate that when it just seems everything is against you right from the beginning? They will soon make for the most memorable and funny travel stories though! x

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