Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Short Trip to the Hospital

Last Sunday, while riding the (amazing!) single-track I had a few minor wipeouts. Apparently on one of them I injured my foot and the severity of the injury didn't set in for about 3 hours. By the time I made it back to La Paz I couldn't walk or put any weight on my left foot.

Pain from the injury made sleeping quite difficult Sunday night, and upon waking Monday morning I decided an x-ray was in order. So I went down to the "second best hospital" in La Paz, only a 6 bs. cab ride from my house, to get it checked out.

Upon arrival they immediately put me in a wheelchair, and about 15 minutes later they wheeled me in to get an x-ray. No consultation or "hey what hurts". Just straight to x-ray. I'm pretty sure the cold war era machine took at least 10 days off my life, but within 45 minutes the doctor assured me that there was nothing broken. X-ray: 150 bs. 5 minute consultation in which the doctor told me nothing except "it's not broken": 500 bs.
Moral of the story... maybe it's not necessary to go to the hospital where all the gringos and rich people go. I was tipped off to this when the doctor wanted me to come back the next day to "see how it was doing" and maybe get a cast put on or get an injection for the pain. Seriously, an injection for a sprained (albeit badly) ankle? I definitely didn't go back the next day. Relatedly, one of my friends just went to get some testing done at a hospital that was not so "nice". Cost of 15 minute consultation with a specialist: 35 bs. So I learned two valuable lessons;

1) American medicine, (caveat emptor!) if you can pay for it, is pretty damn awesome.
2) If you don't want to get ripped off, stay away from any establishment that caters to: a) rich people and b) rich white people.

And, while I don't have a photo of the exact area that I think it happened on, I'm pretty sure it was only a few hundred meters below where I took this photo.
I foolishly tried to cut a really steep left hand turn and slid out on extremely loose dirt/scree. Almost miraculously, today, less than a week later, I am about 98% back to normal. I've never had an injury that sidelines me heal so quickly. Pretty crazy, but I guess Percoset, Diclofenac, and lack of oxygen combine in some sort of nuclear fusion to promote rapid healing; what do you expect, it's Bolivia!

1 comment:

  1. C'mon. 500bs to use an x-ray machine from the future that magically heals broken bones. Sounds like a deal.
    Joking aside I hope your foot heals up good. It sounds like it is.