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September 22, 2010

or, to keep a long story long.

one hot afternoon in mazatlan,
we were sitting under the fan on the couches,
and the fridge was empty.

so even though mostly, we wanted to keep doing nothing,
i asked justin to run to the ATM so that i could go to the grocery store.
(why, you might wonder, would i not just go on my way?
good question – and it’s because: they aren’t close to each other.
and going to the ATM annoys me.)

a few minutes later…
the scene was the same, only justin had disappeared,
though i thought he had just gone downstairs.

then, beth said: “wow, it’s raining.  it’s so weird here, it just starts and stops.”
and i said: “yeah, you barely even notice.”
on the corner of our street, justin was on the household’s nicest scooter,
headed for the ATM and thinking to himself, “shoot. rain. should i turn around and get the car?”
but then hisself conferred, “nah. parking there is ridiculous.  i will drive slow.”

but i was not in on that conversation,
i was meditating on my grocery list.
and the next thing i knew, my phone rang.
and justin said: “can you come down here,
i was in an accident, i’m on the main road.”

but i said: “you’re not serious. are you serious?”

i didn’t say that because i actually thought he was un-serious –
rather because i hoped it wasn’t true.
and that, i’m ashamed to admit-
was not out of concern for his safety,
it was sheer financial woe, and
trepidation at the thought of legal issues to come.
accidents in foreign countries get HAIRY.

moreover, at that point i thought he was in our car,
which we JUST got running again.
but then, he clarified he was on a scooter, and to hurry up,
so i told beth: “justin was in an accident on a scooter.”
and i grabbed my keys and left.

as i was heading to what i thought was the main road that justin meant,
i saw a firetruck in my path, and was trying to swerve around it,
when i saw justin lying bleeding on the sidewalk,
and the scooter on it’s side with the front tire wedged under a black pick-up.
so i quick made an illegal turn to park beside the accident on an adjoining one way street.
a lady driving her fancy SUV out the one way street, said to me out her window,
“no puedes entrar aqui.” (you can’t come in here.)
and i said, “el hombre sangrando en la esquina es mi esposo.”
(the bleeding man on the corner is my husband.)

to which she nodded, as if to say, “i guess i’ll allow it, this once.”

at this point i was quite worried for his safety,
so, i asked how he was, though i could see,
that at least part of how he was,
was scraped up from chin to toes.
he said: “my heel might be broken.”

then, the fireman asked me, “hablas espanol?”
and i said, “si” but as i said it,
i realized i had absolutely not the foggiest idea what i should be doing,
and even though the pick-up driver said to me,
“i have full insurance”
i couldn’t be sure if he meant for himself, for us, for what?
and i almost altogether panicked that my whiteness and naivete was going to screw us completely.

but then, i looked down, and even though he was too nauseated to sit up,
justin was on his cell phone again, calling the rest of the house,
since i had only told beth as i ran out.
he got our mexican friend tego, to come and help us figure things out,
and steve and his brother jon showed up too.

i picked justin’s broken flip flop and wallet up off the road,
and his twisted glasses that some lady had brought over to him.
that was me, being helpful.

a little delivery scooter showed up from a local restaurant,
and handed the pick-up man a wallet.  “he must own that restaurant,” i thought,
that was me being intuitive.

while we waited for, what to do next
justin told us what happened.

he was driving along, slow, maybe 20-30km per hour,
and he saw the pick-up on an upcoming side street on his right,
and he saw the truck lurch a little like he would pull out in front of him,
and he hoped to himself that it wouldn’t – but when it did,
he tried to brake, and instead, in the rain, he slid.

that’s when he realized the bike would not stop, so he turned it on it’s side,
crunched his heel into the pavement like an e-brake,
jumped off it and rolled hisself down the street,
and has he rolled along, trying fruitlessly to stand as he went,
he prayed to himself that the scooter wouldn’t hit the truck.
and that’s when he heard the scooter wedge itself beneath the man’s bumper.

as he told us his tale,
the ambulance showed up, and asked if we had insurance,
and we don’t. then the police showed up, and asked for our paperwork,
and the pick-up man started talking to him.
and even though he had been very nice,
i started to panic again, that things would go terribly wrong,
as the cops got the story primarily from – the other guy.

this is when, we were told to get into the ambulance because
it was established which clinic would take the man’s insurance,
but i was still skeptical that anyone but us, would be footing the bill.

tego stayed with the policeman and the other man,
and told us he would come to the hospital with the paperwork when it was done.
he also told us to pray that the scooter would not be impounded.
steve followed us in his car, and we were on our way.

when we got to the hospital, a very debonaire young doctor with slick hair,
who could have walked right out of a soap opera with his tightly clad nurse,
started to clean justin up and ask him where it hurt.

when he was done, a gruff older man came in, said he was dr. something-such.
and asked me very brusquely what happened,
when i started to explain about sliding in the rain,
he said, “it didn’t rain today, where did it rain today?”
and i said, “uhh well in our neighborhood, only for like 5 minutes.”
(naturally all this happened in spanish, but it dawns on me
that it might get tedious reading both, especially if one looks like gibbergoo.)

so this is when i realized i was being interrogated,
and this man must be from the insurance, and i was nervous.

he started poking at justin and asking where it hurt,
and fully shoved justin’s heel up to bend his knee,
not listening when we said that it was the heel that was killing him,
justin face turned twisty horrified wild-eyed
and said he almost kicked the mean doctor with his other leg, but managed not to.

while we waited for the x-rays, tego showed up with two veritable golden tickets.
he had a signed paper from the insurance for all justin’s medical bills,
and one for all the work needed on the scooter.
it might have been the first time i really breathed since this story began to unfold.
we were unspeakably grateful for God’s taking care of us,
and shuddered to think how things could have turned out.
he also said that the nice pick-up man had thrown the scooter in the back of his truck
and brought it home for us, which felt just too good to be true.

internal cheering aside, justin’s pain was increasing
and the mean doctor was still out to eat our souls.
he came back with the x-rays in an envelope and told us we could take them,
that there was nothing wrong with justin and he’d give us a spray to keep his scrapes clean.

justin said that his heel was really hurting him,
and i sat there dumbfounded, because that’s what i mostly do in these moments.
but steve said, i should ask some questions and get some more help,
entirely more proactivity than i would personally choose to engage in.
but i asked the doctor if he was sure there was nothing wrong.
he said it was badly bruised but that was it-
and i said, “well how is he supposed to walk if he can’t put weight on it?”

the doctor came back over and made justin prove that,
indeed, he could not stand,
then he said, he would immobilize it and give us crutches.
steve and i were staring at the x-rays wishing we knew something about bones,
and steve said maybe we should get a second opinion.

by now i was getting used to being verbally accosted by dr. mean,
so i asked if these x-rays really showed what we needed to see because
the pain was radiating from the bottom of justin’s heel and this picture showed the side.
and he said, “are you an x-ray tech?”
and i said, “can we get a second opinion?”
and he said, “the insurance pays for one opinion, mine, you can pay for another if you want.”
and i said, “what if we leave here and it doesn’t heal? can we come back?”
to which he said, “i’ll give you a certificate for a follow up appointment to look at the heel,
remove the bandage and the insurance will cover it until it’s healed.”

steve was satisfied with this answer, which made me feel confident we had done all we could.
dr. mean made us leave  the room while he wrapped justin’s leg,
and steve wisely pointed out-
that really, though he’s the insurance’s advocate,
it would better serve him to develop trust and rapport with the accident victims,
so that even if justin’s heel was busted, i would be so convinced by his bedside manner,
i wouldn’t question him.
but i guess being nice is just too much trouble.

as it was, i felt pretty sure
he would like to break justin’s heel himself while we were outside
and then tell us it was broken, but it happened after the fact, so-  rotten bananas.

justin did say, that he and his nurses laughed quite heartily
all the while they wrapped his leg.  unfortunately, we’ll never really know the joke.
but we’ll naturally assume the punchline was, “stupid hueros (white people).”

by the time we got home
it was 6pm and i was in no mood for grocery shopping.
steve and jon went and got us pizzas, and we feasted.

right now, the fridge is still empty, but tomorrow is another day
and ironically, all we can think about is what a great day today was,
because even though justin’s scrapes are stinging, and his heel is throbbing,
the reality of how bad it could have been, is never far from our minds.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 24, 2010 18:44

    i was in an accident kinda like that
    except we was
    in a car
    and we flipped three times

    and i was on a splint for two weeks
    due to a broken ankle.
    ill be prayin’ for justin.

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