The Fall (Part 1)

Good morning! Long time no see. I got out of the habit of posting, but I had something happen to me recently that definitely needs sharing. I should return to the habit of posting frequently, but lets see how that goes. 

So this story starts early in December. To be precise, I think it was the 8th. I know it was a Saturday. Incheon suddenly decided that all foreigner English teachers needed to take a seminar once a year. Failure to attend could result in the school being closed, which is quite a pain, so naturally, my roommates and I went. It was actually a cool seminar….. If I had just arrived in Korea. I’ve been here something like 10 months. I don’t need much of an introduction to Korea and I don’t need to be sold on the idea of living here. Anyway, with that unpleasantness out of the way, now it was time for the weekend! 

So first, I called my friend Sue (English name) and invited her out for lunch. I had plans with her a few hours later, so I thought it would be nice to meet her earlier for lunch. Unfortunately, she was busy. So I left my apartment to go get lunch by myself. When I got up to the bus stop, my bus was just passing. I was going to run in the snow to try to catch it and often the bus won’t let you in anyway, so I thought, “Hell, I’ll just walk to the station. I’ve done that hundreds of times.” It was quite cold, but I thought it would be alright. 

So I walk, and I get about half way there. There is an outlet store roughly halfway between my apartment and the station. Usually, I stay on the side with the outlet and walk to the station, which is a not-very-scenic route next to a bus depot and and parking lot. I was in a good mood, so I thought I’d cross the street and walk next to the park. A change of pace! And lo, the traffic light just changed so I can cross! So I began to cross the street, and when I was a few paces from the other side, my foot slipped. Things get a bit blurry here. I remember that my right leg moved to the left, and I remember a sharp cracking sound. I don’t really remember hitting the ground, but I remember looking down and seeing my foot twist in an impossible angle. I remember crying out and dozens of hands grasping my body and pulling me to the curb. I fell. And my leg was broken. 

After that point, my memory was sharp. Sitting, leaning against a lamp post in the gray, mucky snow. I shouted in Korean for someone to call 119 (the 911 of Korea) and then calmly leaned against the rail. In the crowd, a foreigner stepped forward.

“Hey man, what happened?” He said.

“I fell. My leg is broken.” I said.

“Did a car hit you?” He said.

“I don’t think so. I think I just slipped and landed wrong,” I said, “Can you wait with me until the ambulance gets here? I don’t want to pass out.”

“Yeah, sure,” He said.

So we made small talk. We talked about the leg a little, but for obvious reasons I kind of wanted to steer away from that particular topic. At once point I tried to call the head teacher of my school, but couldn’t get through. I also called Sue, but also couldn’t get through. I ended up sending a text to Sue saying, “I’m sorry, but I will be late this evening. I broke my leg,” and to the head teacher “My leg is broken, please help me,”

Eventually, and ambulance drove right past on accident, and then came back around to pick me up. It took about five minutes for the paramedics to get my toes pointed the right way and to splint me leg up enough to travel. The foreigner and I parted ways, and I was now in an ambulance. The guy in the back had a series of questions for me and a look on his face that said I don’t speak English, how do I deal with this guy. So I told him I speak some Korean, and then answered all his questions. Then I gave him my Alien Registration Card so he could have my address. That was much easier than trying to recite the damn thing. 

When I got to the Emergency Room, I was still calm. I apologized to several cute nurses for my poor Korean, but they laughed and said not to apologize. Eventually, a doctor talked to me for a couple minutes about what happened. Then another doctor came up. 

“Hello, James. Do you know what is wrong with you?” The doctor asked in English.

“Yeah, my leg is broken,” I smirked.

“Woah there,” he said, “Let’s not jump to any conclusions. How do you know it is broken?”

“First, my toes aren’t supposed to point that way. Second, the look on the girl’s face when she lifted my pant’s leg,” I then laughed.

“Well, let’s not get ahead of the facts. We’ll x-ray you first,” He said. I laughed and shook my head. 

“Come on, you know it’s broken. We need an x-ray to see how bad it is. Give it to me straight,” I said. It seemed ludicrous that the doctor was doubting my leg was broken. 

Next, I was rolled into the x-ray room, which meant a lot of rotation of my leg. I knew then that I broke both bones in my calf. Tibia and fibula. My foot was an independent part of my body, no only attached as normal. I could still move my toes, but everything hurt like hell.

After that, I calmly laid on my table waiting for the doctor. My thought was that they would set my leg, I would have a cast and crutches and I’d be out of there. I also hoped I would get some painkillers. Finally, the doctor came back.

“It’s broken. Both tibia and fibula.” he said.

“Haha! I told you it was broken,” I laughed and grimaced slightly.

“You need surgery. Do you want it here or do you want to be transfered to another hospital,”

“Oh shit. Oh man that isn’t good at all,” I laughed and put my hand over my eyes, “Damn, you’re going to put metal in my leg aren’t you. I need my boss,”

“Well, we’ll give you a pain shot, then we’ll reduce you leg and get the bones lined up,” he said, “It will hurt a little,”

“Come on, it won’t hurt a little. It’ll be the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life, won’t it,” I laughed as they started to roll me into another room. I pulled out my phone and began frantically trying to get a hold of someone I worked with. A nurse gave me a shot.

Then the doctor lifted my leg and twisted the bones back into place. I cried out and gripped the side of the stretcher I was on. My muscles tightened.

“Relax, don’t tense up!” he said.

“How the hell do you do that?” I asked, laughing though my gritted teeth. And then I had my answer. I let out a breath, and my body lost all tension. I was relaxed. Perhaps it was the shot I got earlier. 

While they continued twisting my leg, my phone rang. It was my head teacher. She said she would be there as soon as she could. She asked me where I was. I handed the phone to the doctor. After getting my leg set, they rolled me behind a curtain to rest. Now I felt safer and I had a pain killer in my veins. I laid there for a minute or two, then blacked out. 

Suddenly, I woke up. And my head teacher, Sunny, came around the corner. 

“Oh my God, James, What happened?” She asked. And for the first time since the fall, I cracked. 

“I fell, Sunny,” I said quietly, “And now, I’ll be late for my date tonight,” 

I laughed, but now tears came out too. 

“I need surgery, Sunny, it is really bad,” now I wasn’t smiling, “I’ll have a scar and a metal plate like my father,”

And then I cried. Then I laughed a bit. 

“I can’t stop,” I said through the tears. 

“Don’t worry, it’ll be alright,” Sunny said.

Now then, sorry for the long stretch of text with no pictures. This is of course, not the end of the story, but the story is very long. Tomorrow or later tonight I will type up Part 2 of my epic, extremely painful adventure. 


~ by James on January 3, 2013.

2 Responses to “The Fall (Part 1)”

  1. So grateful u r healing miss u an think of u each day I am dealing with each day glad ur doing blog again take care gmom

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