Let us begin the most tangential “Peruvian Food Monday” in the short, yet rich (not really) history of “Peruvian Food Mondays”.
There are many restaurants in Villa El Salvador, but InKafé’s pizza and pasta have special place in the hearts of the volunteers at CEDED. On Saturday night, we had a meeting of all the volunteers – local and international. We discussed the various perspectives and challenges of international volunteerism and how those insights effect the volunteer program at CEDED. It was a fun, educational and thoughtful meeting and everyone was looking forward to heading down to InKafé for dinner.
As I’ve mentioned before, mototaxis are a very common mode of transportation, here in Villa El Salvador. Our group of about fifteen divvied up in a couple of motos and headed down for our communal feast. However, shortly after heading out, before even leaving the community of La Encantada, the taxi lost control on the unpaved road and tipped over onto its side. I was seated on the side that had immediate contact with the ground and upon impact I knew my shoulder took most if not all, of the fall. After getting up and resting on the overturned moto, I felt my clavicle and realized that something definitely did not feel right. As I waited with Yolekha while Hannah got all of my stuff (most importantly the copy of my passport) I went through some symptoms of shock, which understandably induced some anxiety. But once my ears no longer felt like they were stuffed with cotton and my sight cleared up, I was determined to maintain my well-known stoicism. What sobered me up was the fact that there was also a 10-month-old in the moto and he didn’t get hurt at all. The other volunteers in the taxi were also alright.
After a quick consultation at a clinic in Villa, we learned that my clavicle was in fact broken and pretty badly. It was then decided that I was to go to a well-known, widely respected clinic in the district of San Isidro, named Anglo Americana. We got a real taxi from the little clinic in Villa to InKafé, where Emily met up with us and then accompanied me to the clinic.
While I do have standards that I like to think I hold myself up to regarding my writing, I’m just going to skip over basically all of the clinic visit because while it wasn’t unimportant, I really don’t feel compelled to write about it. Also, I’m typing this with one hand and I can do whatever I want, goddamnit. I will mention that when the doctor showed Emily and I the x-rays of shoulder, I will never forget the expression on Emily’s face and my typical Santa Cruzian reaction of simply saying, “Gnarly.”
To demonstrate how messed up it is, we were shown a lot of representations with ET-like hand gestures. If you touch the tips of your two pointer fingers together, that’s the clavicle. It’s common for clavicles to break in which it looks more like the tips of your fingers are pointing up a bit and those can be fixed without surgery. In fact, most clavicle fractures are fixed without surgery. But that is not the case with me. Put the tip of one pointer finger on the middle knuckle of your other pointer finger. For an even more realistic representation, lift that top finger up a little! That’s my right clavicle. The pain has been dulled by a sling I was given on Saturday night and some pain pills. It’s more uncomfortable than painful, although the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Today I went to the hospital with Emily, we met with the surgeon who will operate on me and I got the necessary pre-operation tests that make sure I’m healthy enough to undergo surgery. It’s a standard procedure for breaks of this severity: screws and a titanium plate that will help brace the bone and can stay in place permanently. This will be my second time having an operation, but first time going under the knife. When I was younger, I broke my wrist bones while going down a hill on my scooter. Pretty badass.
Anyway, I’m not feeling very nervous. I know that I’m in excellent care – my surgeon is one of the best and I have great support back home and here in Peru. When I stayed home on Sunday (because the doctor that saw me on Saturday night said that the earliest time a surgeon could see me was Monday morning) all of my friends came over to my room bearing my favorite treats, flowers and even a DVD that has all seven, let me repeat all seven, Harry Potter movies. It warmed my heart, as does their steadfast generosity and optimism.
Thank you to everyone who has left such thoughtful words on Facebook and email. I’ll be sure to keep y’all updated. Until next time, I’ll be trying to catch some z’s and not think of that TLC show about surgeons that casually left things in their patients. I mean, what?