Saturday, July 29, 2006


“Walk, don’t run!” was my father’s mantra when we were kids spending summers at the pool. “You’ll fall on the tiles and crack your head open!” Yeah, yeah. Nobody ever knew anybody that ever did, but fathers have to tell you these things. And we had to listen because if we didn’t we’d have been sent home to swelter while those who behaved got to stay and swim. Though we pretended to ignore him at the time, Dad’s mantra did sink in. I do not run near swimming pools, and have even been known to yell at people who do. However, what Dad didn’t warn us about was that it is just as important to make sure that you dry off once you’re out of the pool, before you start walking on those tiles.

So Thursday was my father’s fault.

OK, so no it wasn’t. I went back into the pool Thursday to look for my aunt’s dental implant, which she thought she had knocked out earlier while I was teaching her to snorkel in preparation for our trip to Sharm in August. I hadn’t bothered to bring a towel or flip flops with me since I was just popping out to double check the shallow end. I did my search and came back into the building, carefully wiping my feet on the mat (gotta be safe!) and ignoring the fact that pool water was cascading off my dripping bod. Next thing I knew, I hit the floor: coccyx – shoulder blades – head. Crack. Hard.

The pain was incredible, but I wasn’t going to break down and blubber in the middle of the hallway. I’m a big girl, after all. Once the stars cleared I shouted for help, and the cleaning guy heard me and came running. He was wonderfully concerned and wanted to call an ambulance, but no. No. Big girl. Just fine. He escorted me to my door and wouldn’t leave me until he had confirmed that there was someone in my apartment to take care of me. Lovely man.

In the thirty seconds that passed between me smacking the floor and then getting up off it, I had developed a lump on the back of my head that would have made Wile E. Coyote proud. I did the basic neuro check and my aunt (who had meanwhile found her implant in her pool towel) looked at my pupils. We decided I would probably live, but should get a second opinion. Off to American Hospital, then.

The doctor checked me over and I was feeling pretty stupid. What kind of fool walks on wet tile? Anyway, we chatted a bit – no doubt to make sure I hadn’t addled my brain too much. I discovered that he’s Egyptian and told him about the upcoming trip. “Oh, Sharm is fantastic. You’ll have a wonderful time. Now let’s get you into X-ray.”

Three films and a five minute consultation later, he says to me, “The radiologist and I have been looking at your x-rays and we think you may have fractured your skull.” Uh oh. Fractured? I'm a big girl; I can deal with this. “And so what do we do about that?” sez I, very calmly. “You can come back in a week or so after the swelling has gone down, and we’ll confirm it one way or the other,” he replies. “But… but… I’m diving the Thistlegorm in two weeks!” “Not with a broken head you’re not.”

And that’s when the big girl broke down and wailed like a babby.

As the hospital staff stood there flabbergasted to see a grown woman blubbing over a missed dive trip, it dawned on one of them that there was an alternative. “We could do a cat scan. Do you have insurance?” (Thank you, boss, for not screwing with our med insurance like you wanted to a couple of years ago.) “Yes. What’ll that do?” “We’ll be able to tell right away if you’ve fractured anything, and we can see whether there’s any bleeding on the brain.” (Bleeding? He had intended to send me home not knowing if my brain was bleeding???). So I wiped my nose and followed the technician into the scanner, where I silently lay with my head in a machine, debating whether or not to mention the whiplash I’d just noticed.

When it was over, I gave him Dhs 1745 and he gave me a disk of the scan. I intend to pick the best picture and put it on my office wall to prove that, even though I am dumb enough to walk around dripping wet on tile, I do indeed have a brain.

But no cracks. Thistlegorm, here I come.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

That's it.

I have finally caved in.
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