Thursday, July 12, 2007

Second time is the charm

For those of you that don't know, I finally arrived in New York this week!
This is actually the second time I have tried to get here and I'm glad to report that my arrival has occurred without a hitch this time.

The first time I tried to get to New York was a month ago and I had decided that on my way to New York, to break up the trip and avoid having to go through LA airport, I would visit my friend Todd in Tokyo for 6 days and then head on to New York.

A good idea in theory. A couple days in to my stay there I was wearing new & unstable shoes and walking down some escalators at Shinjuku train station with my friend Todd and I lost my footing and slipped and fell back onto the escalator. I ended up with a few teeth marks on my legs and arms and an extremely painful hand.

It was 11pm at night and Todd and I had been heading home. So we get on the train back to his place (about a 45 minute ride) and I am sitting there in considerable pain thinking that the uncharacteristic lean of my middle finger to the right was probably indicating structural damage.

A word of advice - if you are ever in Japan and happen to injure yourself - make sure it's not at night, because if your not requiring an ambulance, it's going to be very hard to find a doctor on duty at a hospital at night! Todd's Japanese-fluent friend tried 2 hospitals before she found a third hospital in the area with a doctor on duty!

So we went to the hospital, they took some x-rays and I had a rather distinct spiral fracture on my third metacarpal - not good. The english speaking translator/nurse said it was possible I would require an operation. They gave me a splint on told me to come back in the morning to get a cast.

They next day I came back, got my cast and my x-rays. They were very reluctant to part with my x-rays as they apparently needed them for administrative pruposes. I thought this was strange, as I have always been able to take my x-rays with me when in Australia. They were nice (and honest) enough to offer us to take them and get copies made at the local copy shop. We thanked them and said we would return them figure out the rest!

That day I flew home to Australia to seek treatment. There was no way I could travel on to NY with 2 huge suitcases and 1 working hand and I was not about to subject myself to the medical system in either Japan or New York. Without openly disparaging other countries, it's in stuations like this where, flawed as it is, you do really appreciate our health system in Australia.

So when I returned home and saught medical advice, it was suggested I required an operation. I had 5 screws and a plate inserted into my hand! 3 weeks later I was given the go ahead to head off again, but my hand still has a way to go before it is totally healed and functioning.

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