[i considered posting a picture of my Frankensophy stitches, but refrained – there’s a photo buried in my online album of my face the day after if you really want to see it!]
Being in a vehicle in East Africa is one of the biggest risks you can take. Animal mauling by lions and rhinos and hippos have nothing on vehicular accidents. After all these years of taking matatus / daladalas (“public” transport minivans that zoom around crazily like they are on amphetamines) and playing frogger by walking on very busy roads and biking in places with no organized traffic flow, I finally was in a car accident. It was a bad one – the car was totaled – and incredibly, fortunately no one was gravely injured. We were in one of the rare taxis with a good driver and air bags and seat belts.
It was a head-on collision – our taxi driver was good and managed to swerve off the road when an out-of-control vehicle went suddenly into our lane. Rather than hitting it full-on, we hit the other car from the side. The car we were in was a well-maintained Toyota (rare in Tanzania), so the air bags deployed, and the front seat passengers were restrained.
I was the worst physical casualty; I was partially restrained in the back seat (belt around my lap but not properly buckled in) and smashed my face (glasses and all) on the back of the seat in front of me and sustained a mild concussion and some facial lacerations. We all had minor musculoskeletal bruises and sprains.
I have the true NERD INJURY: facial cuts by eyeglasses. Can you get any nerdier than that??
Since my face was bleeding, I was taken to Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam and received cleaning and several stitches along my forehead and eyebrows. Having worked in many of the public hospitals in Tanzania, I was afraid of what kind of services I might encounter – eeek! But I really got great care – with better attention than what I would have gotten in the US. The hospital was clean, and my colleagues (all doctors and NPs) stayed with me to make sure everything went well. They’ve been super. Dr. Khan (fresh outta internship) did a very nice job stitching my face up.
I now have a black eye and forehead like Frankenstein – it’s a very interesting look for me.
I’ve rested up in Dar es Salaam for a couple days, but there is no time for dilly-dallying: off to Tabora tomorrow morning at 5:45 am for another training!