Sunday, August 7, 2011

Taking a Fall

Street in San Gil, looking toward the
central park area. Notice cross on the
surrounding mountainside.
It usually catches one by surprise. And later you ask yourself, "Why was I distracted? What was I thinking?" In my case, I had just finished getting some papers copied, and was planning to stuff them back into my backpack before getting on my scooter. I had a mental list of things I needed to get done before seeing my son off on the bus. The next thing I realized was my foot wasn't supporting me and the ground was rushing up to my head - and right after that I was totally - and painfully - aware that blood was gushing out of someplace on or in my head into my hands and onto the floor. People were surrounding me, speaking in Spanish, and unfortunately the face-plant didn't do much to improve my understanding.

Mutterings about "hospital," "police," and "amigo" were flying like gnats above my consciousness while I was trying to sort out what kind of damage I had incurred. Someone got me a towel, sat me up, and soon the police were there to cart me off to the hospital insisting that I needed to be seen by a 'medico.' That medico was a young and efficient woman about 30 who clarified that nothing was broken - much to our mutual surprise (I was certain I had broken my nose at the very least) - and gave me medication for pain and swelling. I had actually fallen on my knee as well, possibly breaking the impact to my nose, and it was incredibly sore, more than my nose, for several days afterward.

I forgot to mention that while I was at the hospital waiting to be seen, before I could get confirmation about the situation, I immediately started doing Reiki on myself and that, at least, kept me from freaking out about everything. Curious that the medico never took my temperature or blood pressure before assessing the damage; long ago as an EMT in training I learned that a broken anything will cause a rise in the body's normal temperature.

But in a few days, the bruises on my face were all that everyone saw - and asked me about. Concerned friends and people in the places where I shop wanted to know if I had done this on my scooter, "No, with my feet..." said as I tried to smile. The vast (it seemed to me) amounts of blood on the concrete and tiled floor are typical of cuts to the head, and it scared the owners of the internet cafe near the Cathedral enough to put down some black tape on the little step that I missed so that other people may not fall, interrupting a placid day with cries from a stranger, "My nose is broken!" in even more broken Spanish.
Taken from the hill above Barichara, looking down at the
Cathedral, which is close to where I took my fall.

What did I learn from this? First of all, the police were quick to respond and be of assistance and riding in the back of a police van, when one is hurting, on these bumpy village roads is not at all fun. The hospital staff was very attentive and even though the building and equipment may be old, it was clean. Second, as a older traveler, I need to wear shoes that hug my feet and not put me at risk of stumbling or falling because my footwear is inadequate to the terrain. That is not why I fell this time, but I don't need to increase the risk of a second fall by not paying attention to that little detail.

Early morning view from the western edge of Barichara, looking out over
one arm of the Andes; hard to believe they are over 14,000 feet tall.
Sorry, no pictures of my bruised face, which is now almost back to where it was two weeks ago. Instead, enjoy these scenic shots of Colombia and my little village, where the people talk a lot about what goes on, including the Gringa's fall, but that's part of why I love it here.


  1. I have heard that Mexico has some of the best medical in the world. I am glad nothing was broken. I am glad you thought to do some Reiki on yourself. Now, no more falling except in love. (groan)

  2. You poor thing. It is often the feeling of "stupidity" with such falls that is worse than the damage done. I also know just how much a bang to the nose hurts, ouch!!!

    I am pleased you now feeling well enough to report your accident to us on the worldwide web. We had no idea. :-)

  3. Glad there was no major damage. Walking it can be so hazardous! ;D

  4. Many thanks to my 'peeps' for the notes of sympathy! To Paula: the greatest damage was my sense of stability, but wearing proper walking attires helps. The streets here are mostly large blocks of very hard stone with uneven edges, like walking on a rocky path most of the time. TIring, but great for leg muscles!
    To Lorna: I debated sharing, but then it's part of the adventure, isn't it?
    To Birdie: Falling in love has been significantly more painful than this event, but if there should be another time, perhaps it will have a different outcome and then I should have no comparison!!

  5. Mom, we were sorry to read about your fall. So glad the medico adventure was only a few hours. Very glad you are ok! WL and XOs

  6. So sorry to read about your fall, must have given you a fright seeing all the blood. Am glad you have recovered and no damage done. Take care, my dear and find those well fitting shoes ... walking on those cobbled stones, charming but can be treacherous!

  7. Ouch! Take care Sandy! We need our head cheerleader to stay fit and well! ;)