I had thought that taking some time out to learn a bit more Spanish on my own and sit around all day playing guitar might be a good idea. Ending up in a Hospital in Guatemala wasn’t really the delivery method I had in mind.
Every Thursday evening my Spanish school, PLQ (Proyecto Linguistica Quetzalteco) has a pickup football game (soccer). I had cut my foot open while my brother Kevin and I were surfing in El Zonte, El Salvador, so I didn’t end up playing for the first few weeks. But when my foot finally healed I decided to join the group headed to the field.
My first time there went great. Or, rather, it was fun but I am not the best at team sports. The second week out I was feeling much better about my ability to kick the ball around the field – and that was when it happened.
The field we play on is covered, surrounded tightly by a fence with a metal plate on the bottom of it. I was running after the ball near said fence, went to kick it, missed, and slammed my foot right into the plate. An intelligent individual would have known immediately to go see a doctor. But apparently ‘intelligent’ is just not me.
My foot hurt, I knew something was wrong, but I truly thought I could just walk it off, or in this case, keep playing the remaining 30 minutes of the game, albeit as goalie.
In my continuing infinite wisdom I then proceeded to a party Quetaltrekkers was having. I was actually scheduled to start a 3 month volunteer stint as a hiking guide with Quetaltrekkers on the following Monday. I danced the night away, walked home a dozen blocks (still hurting of course), and even went to school the next day.
It wasn’t until my foot started to swell and my Spanish teacher insisted I go see a doctor that it dawned on me something might seriously be wrong. Yes, only then.
There is a local Red Cross near the school, so I ambled over there, and quickly realized that although I can speak some conversational Spanish, I am still lacking the kind of words one would use in a medical situation. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it was frustrating nonetheless.
So I wandered back to the school, found the American girl, Olivia, who acts as their translator, and hobbled back to the Red Cross.
Apparently the question I was asked and didn’t understand was do I agree they need to call a doctor in to take and X-ray and look at my foot. “Yes, yes I would like that,” I replied. I’m still not sure why that was a production. Olivia’s translations did however prove invaluable as we proceeded to get the X-ray of my foot, find out that I had managed to fracture a small part off the rear of the second bone in the big toe of my right foot.
My options according to the Doc, a cast that might help keep the broken part in place, but I should really get surgery.
Keep reading at adventureswithpedro.com to learn more about surgery in Guatemala!