I was beginning to put clothing on the bed. I was starting to put away all the beach glass remaining in the studio. I was thinking about what I needed to take with me to the US.
There was still a week before we were due to fly to the US, and we agreed to take a morning to visit our friend Alex’s farm. He had new fields of avocados to look at, and there are always interesting things to see. On the way out to the fields, we passed an old cotton gin and fields of “tara” (Cesalpinia spinosa), a tree whose gum is used for cosmetics and medicines.
We stopped to visit a small reservoir, and walked up a short hill to get to the edge. Tiny fish were flopping at the edge of the water–Alex said they were tilapia. I saw one tiny fish that had flopped out of the pool and thought I’d flip it back in the water with the toe of my shoe. I did, but kept sliding, and ended up sitting in the water at the edge of the pool, mud-covered and laughing. Alex came to help me and promptly skidded into the water up to his knees. “Don’t help me! Get out!” I yelled. He couldn’t help me without sliding in even further. As Alex made his way to the edge and out of the pool, I edged up the slippery shore until I could grab a dry palm frond that Jonathan extended down to me. With it, I was able to pull myself up the bank. I was safe, but covered in mud, and soaking wet.
I headed back toward the car but part way back heard a noise. Alex and I headed back up the trail and found that Jonathan had tripped over a big log that crossed the trail. He said his arm was broken. I couldn’t believe it. We hobbled back to the car and headed for the Clinica Zavaleta. We waited a few minutes and then Jonathan was able to go in and get x-rays taken. By the time I could go inside, they knew he had broken the end of his humerus, and the doctor was setting him up to receive intravenous pain medication. His arm was put in a sling.
When we sat down with the doctor, we were told that Jonathan would need a pin in his arm, and that it would take a few days to locate the right size. Then there would be surgery. After talking with the doctor, and she in turn talked to the surgeon by phone, we decided the best course of action would be to return to the US immediately. I emailed our travel agent, as this time we’d used a travel agent to get our tickets. That turned out to be very helpful because within 20 minutes she had found a flight at 11 pm this very day to connect to Chicago. All we had to do was pack and get to the airport by 9 pm. By the time we left the clinic it was about 1 pm.
Everyone at home was helpful. Carlos got ready to drive us to Lima, Dalmira helped Jonathan pack, as he couldn’t use his arm. I started to pack, and got finished just about 5:30 pm when it was time to leave. We said our goodbyes to our neighbors, hugged everyone, and jumped into the car. It was strange to be on our way home, jerked from our life in Barranca into something completely different. We stopped in the lounge on the way to the gate where I was able to email our family in the US about what had happened, then we boarded the plane and six hours later we changed planes in Miami.
We had a few hours layover in Miami, but didn’t really notice the time. We got on the plane for Chicago and in no time it was 10:30 am and we were on the ground in Chicago. I was able to get our rental car a week early and return to the airport to pick up Jonathan. We went straight to the emergency room at the hospital closest to where we stay.
We sat in the emergency room for a very long time. After about two hours, new x-rays were taken with a very interesting portable device that rolled right into the room. Jonathan didn’t have to move much to get the pictures taken. After a lot more sitting, we talked to the physician’s assistant on call. He believed that the arm would heal on its own without surgery, and referred Jonathan to a surgeon for another review during the week. We were very relieved. That was Saturday.
On Monday, we went to see Dr. Ivey, an arm/shoulder surgeon. He suggested the most likely repair to Jonathan’s shoulder would be a small plate, but that he wouldn’t know for certain until surgery. Now we are back to planning surgery again! We tried to get another opinion, but everyone was booked up and very busy, and after waiting through all of Tuesday and Wednesday for people to call us, Jonathan decided to go ahead and book the surgery. He will go in next Wednesday, Mar. 18. In the mean time, we’ve heard good things about Dr. Ivey. Now we wait for surgery day.
Postscript: The Silver Lining
We returned to Chicago a week early, and this weekend, when we were due to arrive, the new rules for entering the US resulted in waits of between four and six hours at O’Hare airport. We would have gotten off our flight around 7 pm after traveling for twelve hours, and THEN had to stand in line for another four or more hours just to get through immigration. A good reason to have returned early, when there were no lines.
I wonder if having Global Entry would have helped?