In one way or another, I managed to survive my entire childhood and adolescence without the need for a single stitch or injection, somehow managing to sidestep, dodge and duck the many possible mishaps that a girl with tomboy tendencies could encounter. No broken limbs, no after-hour trips to the emergency ward, no, nothing more than a twisted ankle and a regular selection of bruises.
In China, the opportunities for injury abound – if you’ve read some of my other posts, you will know that the statistical probability of traffic accidents is relatively high – by motor vehicle or bicycle or even fellow-pedestrian. Anything can and will happen. There have been reports of falling panes of glass from high-rise buildings; elevators going into reverse; balconies falling off buildings – the list is endless.
Up until Saturday I had defied the negative statistics and complemented myself on being remarkably unscathed and immune to the chaos that surrounds us. [Correction: Except for stepping into a hole in a construction site in Guilin in 2008 and walking into an eye-level overhead cable soon after we arrived in Shanghai in early 2009.]
On Saturday my immunity expired – I had a close encounter with a Chinese pathway and patch of grass – not just any patch of grass, as it turns out, but a patch of grass inlaid with spiky plastic mats.
I still cannot describe the precise order of events. It just happened. One minute I was setting out for a run, checking my running app on my phone, and the next minute, I was lying in a heap, bleeding from multiple gashes in my face. It appears that I was making up for all those times when I DIDN’T get into trouble – so I really made a good job of it this time.
M rushed me back upstairs, using his handkerchief to mop up the blood, looked at me in horror and dashed me off to the medical centre (as much as one can dash in a Shanghai taxi in early Saturday morning traffic with 3 minute cycles on the traffic lights at every intersection from here to Nanjing Road)
We camped outside the clinic door until they opened at 9.00, encountering the first of many stares – poor M – I’m sure he is getting his fair share of stares too – glaring accusations of wife abuser and so on. The clinic staff immediately placed a call to the plastic surgeon, who had to travel 1 and 1/2 hours to reach us.
To cut a long story short – my face is an interesting blend of yellow and purple and dark red seemingly random squiggles, betadyne make-up and stitching, and Chinese elastoplast. I had to have my chin, lip, nose, cheek and forehead stitched up. I am ashamed to admit I whimpered like a woes during each injection – there were at least 10 or 12, and it did nothing to improve my dislike of anyone in the medical profession. It is a well-known fact that I avidly avoid dentists, ophthalmologists and doctors as far as possible – they always bring pain into my life. And this Chinese doctor, a professor, trained in Shanghai and Germany, very skilled and competent in in his chosen field – well, he might be good, but he hurt me and even if I could have laughed at his jokes, I didn’t find them at all funny.
M says my face is looking much better – he has sat through many a stitching up procedure with his children and reckons this guy is a skilled craftsman and knows his stuff – my facial wounds are currently down to a grade 3 war zone instead of the trench warfare scenario they initially resembled. I will give you my verdict once the stitches are out in a week’s time; after my black eye has mellowed to a lighter shade of purple; and as soon as the intricate dried blood textured patterns caused by those spiky grass mats have dissipated. My lip hurts – it really doesn’t appreciate being hemmed; eating and drinking is problematic; and it doesn’t look like I will need Botox for a while (as if I would ever CHOOSE to let anyone inject anything into me!)
So that’s my week – no photographic evidence – cameras are banned from our household for at least a month.
I am actually fine, just feeling very sorry for myself and highly irritated that something so absolutely ridiculous happened. I can’t wind back the clock, so I guess I shall just have to grin – smiling and laughing is still too painful – and bear it. Actually grumble, mutter, sigh and spit are more likely responses than grinning at the moment.
So what started off as your average, uneventful, common old garden Saturday morning jog around the park turned into a VERY expensive non-running session, providing a very profitable sewing opportunity for the plastic surgeon. Not my favourite way to spend a Saturday morning.