I woke up with engorged eyes, buffed knee, and a horrible feeling in my gut. Belal had already advised me that I shouldn’t tell them back home (namely mom and Khaled) about my knee, when I called mom this morning to say hello, she kept asking about who fell because she could “sense” something was wrong! Mom is spooky that way, I was NEVER able to lie to her growing up about anything, and believe me that made my life much harder as a teenager, but also made me feel much more cherished. So I told her that Muna has fell down and injured her knee (I didn’t lie, I just didn’t tell her what happened with me – hiding the truth isn’t lying, right? Well I guess that’s a conversation for later!).
Getting out of the room in the morning was just as much fun as getting to it… Although again I hated the fact that I was immobile dependent on others but both Effat & Belal who took turns playing pilot and playing around with me in the chair made the whole experience much more enjoyable. We had a nice time outside before boarding the bus, we said our goodbyes to the porters & I’m only more fascinated with those stern men and boys who hauled our stuff throughout all tough terrain without complaining or losing the shiny smile on their mouths. What a spoiled rotten life we lead! How many times did we complain because we couldn’t park our car close enough to the elevators, or thought that our cozy desk job get us stuck in less than comfortable chairs.
Throughout the 8 hours to Kathmandu I was left alone to my book, music, and thoughts which I was grateful for. I also went back to some of the diaries drifting in the memories of certain events… With everything I’ve read I was instantly transformed into the place, the ambiance, the feelings, even some of the smells and sounds. When we arrived to Kathmandu it was already dark, Belal, Sonam (the assistant Sherpa) and me took a taxi to the hospital which I have to admit was not bad at all, and much better of what I expected especially based on Muna’s experience.
Insurance had taken care of everything, and had a senior orthopedic surgeon waiting for me to assess my case. I have to admit that Belal made the experience much better than what it could have been. We laughed more than we’ve ever had. Although I’m sure that anyone of the group would have stepped up to be with me the entire time, but I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without Belal, all the attention & honest care he provided, I felt truly cherished and taken care of… I wouldn’t have asked for a better caregiver who keeps the mood light, and acts efficiently when needed.
I was hauled to the x-Ray room with a mild pain-killer that did not kick in yet. The ER doctor started twisting my knee is all sorts of agonizing positions repeating his apologies telling me “you are very courage man, very courage man” as I sucked up my sobs and bit my lips while all I wanted was to bunch him in the face or knee him in the groin to see how much of a “courage man” he would be & there was Belal with a joke or two and that was probably the last of my encounters with pain in the trip, and for that I’m grateful.
After I was put into the largest cast anyone had ever seen (no kidding, it was like those casts you see in comedies spanning from the top of my upper thigh all the way to my toes) and provided with a huge bag of all sorts of colorful pills of muscle relaxants, anti-inflammation, pain-killers, anti-infections, and what I seriously suspected to be just tic-tacs in medical wrappers, the doctor insisted of taking a picture with my cast and “The first patient in his 27 years of practice that was laughing and joking while getting into cast), I was on my way to the hotel in one of the most comic ambulances I’ve ever seen.
Belal just couldn’t stop joking about it, and I ended up with sore cheeks from laughing so hard (a distraction from my 7KG cast) in the make-shift ambulance that seems to have been a delivery truck in its previous life.
Of course, we had to be dropped at the wrong hotel by the ambulance, and walk on my crutches around 200 meters that seemed to be more than 2 kilometers to me through the narrow roads of Kathmandu Thamel (the downtown shopping center). I arrived at the room that I was sharing with Maha and they all were out shopping. Maha & Effat bought me those amazing “Get well soon” gifts and took good care of me before heading out again to get something to eat… Since everything was closed, they came back on an empty stomach and loads of stories about the Kathmandu streets at night.
While I didn’t get to finish the hike the way that I wanted, I know that the trip was a complete success! I believe again! Belal, Effat & Maha made me feel cherished, taken care of, and loved… Something that I haven’t felt in years, and grew to believe unworthy of, and guilty to long for…. I started believing that maybe… its normal to receive compliments, be loved, feel close to others.
I was surrounded by people who each in his/her own way showed me a sliver of what I thought died with my childhood years… Muna showed courage, Nada showed determination, Fouad showed assertiveness, Hamzeh showed innocence, Azzouqas showed pure love and companionship, Shireen showed purity, Husam provided wit and fun, Hareth showed wisdom… I’m over flowing with emotions, I’m extremely happy.
I decided that I’ve had enough for one day, I have a long day tomorrow, the flight home will be long and I seriously dead the idea of being in this cast where I can’t bend my knees on one of those small airplane seats. As I was preparing to sleep, I couldn’t help but getting too emotional…So I popped around 13 different pills, along with my own choice of Advil PM, and I hope to soon drift into sleeeeeee
(Later entry) I slept while writing but I was seriously dreading tomorrow… and tomorrow, I write again.
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