Myths and leg ends

April 27, 2012

I apologise for the incoherence of the last post, which I’m going to blame on all the drugs, and on smacking my head on the ground hard enough to need an MRI. But I’m quite a lot better now, and I’m finally out of hospital. It was a surprisingly poignant moment, crutching my way out of the cool, white, sterile environment of my hospital room and back into the loud, hot, pungent and chaotic streets of Phnom Penh. It felt doubly like going home.

I would just like to note that the Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh is a fantastic institution, and all the wusses who get evacuated to Bangkok don’t know what they’re missing. The staff was knowledgeable, kindly, attentive, helpful and amazingly friendly; the place was super-clean, and I can’t imagine being better looked after. There was a language barrier, and I would have been in a lot more trouble without Blossom’s constant care and attention. (She tells me the ER was quite Crimean, but I was apparently too busy telling the doctors that I’d been attacked by a dragon to remember) My leg now looks like a prop from the Cambodian Chainsaw Massacre, but I think that would have been the same anywhere in the world.

So Cambodian medical care isn’t nearly as bad as it’s made out to be. Although the steel rod in my leg comes from the US, I was proudly told, “from Washington State, USA.” To which all I could think of to say was “That’s great. I adore the Pacific North West.”

So now we’re embarking on the next, rather unexpected phase of our Cambodian adventure. The lift still isn’t in at our flat, and the latest date for its installation is a month hence. But the landlord has offered me a room in his home on the ground floor, so I don’t have to hop up six floors. I don’t think I’ll take him up on it, though. But life is going to be a bit tough for a while.

But I’m hoping that this will be the last time I write about my difficulties with my extremity in extremis. The next six weeks will be hell, and every aspect of my life will be affected, but, really, having to shave while balancing on one leg and not being able to carry a cup of coffee are just minor inconveniences. Estimates suggest that between one in 230 and one in 300 Cambodians have one or more amputations, the highest proportion in the world. I can still earn a living, and I’ll heal. In that context, in this country, to complain would be, I think, tasteless.

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One Response to “Myths and leg ends”

  1. J&J said

    makes a change…you have a bit of America in you rather that you being in an American J&J

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