|The ER door, taken with my phone|
The Peace Corps nurse knew the doctor on duty, which is the only reason we went to the ER, and really the best way to get any kind of medical care here. It's always useful if you know that the doctor treating you is your cousin's wife's older sister, and graduated first in her year. Equally useful to know might be that the person administering your anesthetic is your friend's cousin's husband, who asked your friend to "do his little essay for him" on administering prescription drugs so that he could pass his class.
|The stitches themselves|
What had happened was this: at 5:04PM, I was slowly pedaling along the gravel road approaching some friends' house when the neighborhood's joyous wiggly annoying dog recognizes me and runs alongside, accompanying me to their house. A pig is ambling on the other side of the road, and lo and behold, the dog knows that her destiny is being fulfilled this very second. The world will end if she does not chase this pig, even if there is a bike separating her from it! She makes a mad dash across my front wheel, the wheel goes halfway over her, and I go halfway over my bike, landing hard on the sharp rocks of the road. When I finally can stand up again, I make a halfhearted kick in her direction with my good leg, and limp inside to clean up. It's not until our friends have sat me down in the bathroom with a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and some gauze pads that I realize that the gash in my knee is more like a wide, gaping smile that looks like it's eating cottage cheese. I'm grossed out and fascinated, and a little faint when I realize the cut's gone all the way in to the fat of my knee. Good thing for padding.
Getting help was another adventure. Our friends helped me call the nurse, who frantically tried calling taxi after taxi so she could come treat me. Her car had been borrowed by an acquaintance and then had been driven at full speed along the pot-holed roads, popping all her tyres and severely damaging the entire body of the car. The borrower considerately returned it to her house, but never decided to pay for the damage. She couldn't get a taxi right away because on Sundays, half the taxi companies don't work, and even the ones that do only have a skeleton crew. Naturally, there are no busses either. Like the taxis, the ER was only staffed with one doctor, working frantically to take care of the cases coming in.
The moral of this story? Dogs and pigs do not go together, don't get hurt on a Sunday in Tonga, know someone when you go to the hospital, and nice doctors do a good job even when they're jet-lagged.