Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hiking Fail

This seems to be the week of “what not to do.” We won’t go into details about how I tried to re-cook a half-boiled egg in the microwave the night before hiking. Let’s just say the exploding egg could have been worse.  Bob didn’t even come into the kitchen when I screamed. I guess he’s used to screams from the kitchen.

But yesterday’s hiking adventure was a bit more attention-getting. For the record, I do NOT do these things because, as a certain spouse suggested, I was envious of all the attention he got when he broke his ribs on a hike in Yunnan last May. Not at all. That hypothermia-inducing six hours down off the mountain after Bob broke his ribs was not something I wanted to re-create.

The hike started beautifully: blue skies, a congenial international group of Australian, Brazilian, Swedish, Austrian, and one American. A great spot up and down and mostly down the mountains. Funny Chinglish signs for entertainment. 

An odd moment where a man at the watch tower on the top of one mountain tried to engage me in his dislike of Japanese (Danger, danger: do not discuss politics when your Chinese is more along the lines of “the weather is nice today” and “I have two children and I’m from America!”).
Beautiful views for a lunchtime break.

We came down off the mountain, where we were supposed to go to Da Jue Si, a beautiful old temple, the descent was steep and long and I was very careful to take the downward climb, over boulders and gaps where maybe water once ran, slowly. Finally we came to a more-even path, with just a few rocks, so I picked up the pace.
I tripped over a rock and landed hard on my knees, palms, and forehead. In a brilliant move, my forehead met up with a sharp rock that jutted out of the earth. I yelled something not in Chinese.
Rose, who had been hiking behind me, came up running. I saw from the look on her face and the blood on the ground that it was a bad cut, but with her tissues and Bryony’s gauze and snappy blue wrapping, I was okay for the final 20 minutes off the mountain. 
What's so funny? I had just asked for no pictures!
The scene of the crime. If you look carefully, you can see the blood on the rock.

It really became a team effort: Johan trying to be funny to keep me from dozing off in the car on the ride home, Marcio carrying my backpack for me, and Yutta having her driver – and herself – take me to the SOS clinic in Beijing, where I was carefully stitched up by a nice Chinese doctor.
“Yi, er, san,” I heard him counting as he slowly sewed stitches into my forehead. My visions of a hot bath and a glass of wine changed to some ibuprofen and an episode of “Homeland.” His nurse put a tight mesh headband on my head to keep the dressing pressed down, which makes me think I could start a new fashion trend here in Beijing.

Here's a look at the gash.
And he's sewing...
Patched up.
Home again!

Today I woke up to no headache, just some tenderness, and knees that are a whole lot less swollen. And the air is drifting between “hazardous” and “beyond index” so it’s a good day to stay mostly inside.
I’m drinking “Natural Detox” tea from my friend Dawn, who also supplied me with “Tension Tamer,” “Chamomile,” and “Sleepytime.” At first I thought she was sending me a message with her tea gifts, but then I realized she got it exactly right. And that’s the kind of friends I have.

The next day, I went back to SOS to have my dressing changed and (I suspect) to make sure I'm not going to pull a Miranda Richardson on them. 

This time I get a French doctor. After the nurse removes the bandages and the steri-strip, he pronounces the results "perfect." 

"When can I wash my hair?" I ask. 

"Now," he says. "As long as you dry it."

"And can I drink wine?" I venture.

"Of course," he says with a Gallic shrug. Then he reconsiders. "As long as you bring me a glass too." And this is why I love the French. 


  1. So sorry to hear about your misadventure and glad you are doing better. I can't wait to hear what happens when your Ayi finds out. My guess is a special, wound healing potion that may be applied internally and externally. Ian

    1. I plan to make sure I avoid the ayi until I'm more healed!

  2. Oh Debbie! Hope you feel better soon. So painful!

  3. Any accident you walk away from isn't so bad. Could have been worse - like if you'd gone into the unopened. Pictures are very nice, in a clinical way.
    Eventually, please come home alive - t

    1. You're right: it could have been worse and I do plan to come home alive, if not exactly the same.

  4. Be careful , feel better soon , love reading about your adventures ! Your too much :)) Steve B.