Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On the Mountaintop

I survived the trek up the mountain tired but no worse for wear. Unfortunately, walking to the shower building (down hill a bit) in flipflops did not go so well. 

It had rained a bit right after we arrived in the village, button the sun was shining on a beautiful late afternoon.  The paths, however, were still muddy.  I guess I stepped in a puddle; one second I was enjoying the view and the next I was sliding and falling.  I slid first into a small bush, but it was too flimsy to grab onto. I fell sideways off the trail about four feet down into the muddy courtyard of the village shop/someone's home, where a lady was busy giving her husband a haircut. 

Courtney, one of the other Americans, saw me go over the ledge from the bungalow porch and yelled down to ask if I was okay.  I could tell from the pain that I was not alright.  All of the others, except for Saori who was in the shower, and our guide rushed down to check on me. 

They tried to help me up tight away, but I was in too much pain to think of moving just yet.  Everyone started asking after my ankles and wrists, and considering the way I fell I'm surprised I didn't sprain a wrist.  I guess grabbing for the bush kept them out of the way.  The pain was in my back and sides; all the muscles in my lower back felt like one big cramp. 

Since I was content to stay in the mud a bit longer, Johnnie, our guide started collecting my scattered belongings.  I had had my camera out to take pictures of the village, and that had landed near me in the mud.  He found a rag and cleaned most if it off and tested it out to make sure it still worked.  It did, and thanks to his testing I now have two shots of me sitting in the mud.  I am refraining from posting those, though. 

I have always thought that if I was falling or going overboard, I would protect my camera first, tossing it to safety as I went.  Turns out when it really happens that the camera was left to its own devices to fall in the mud if it wanted.  I was too busy trying to figure out which way was up to even consider the camera. 

Finally I felt I could move, more because I knew I needed to get out of the mud than really feeling any better.  Johnny and Larry helped me to a chair nearby. I sat for awhile there.  The others finally left as the children wanted to give them a tour around the village.  Johnnie brought my purse in from the mud, and it turned out that I had ripped the strap clean off on one side.  Johnnie gave me a plastic bag to empty most of the stuff out of it; then he borrowed a sewing kit from the lady still calmly clipping at her husband's hair and sewed it back on.  He did a good job; it's held well.  I used baby wipes to clean some of the mud off of my purse, but it's going to take more than one round in a washing machine if it ever does come clean.

I finally got the energy to continue to the shower, where I washed as much of the mud off as I could with cold water.  I took a large dose if ibuprofen; as long as I didn't move I was okay. 

Later note: after googling my symptoms, I believe I had a lumbar sprain. It's when you pull or strain the muscles or ligaments that connect to the spine, and it's a common back injury. It is often caused by twisting badly, which is what I must have done as I fell.  It took nine days to feel somewhat normal again.  Thank goodness every pharmacy in Thailand has tiger balm and ibuprofen. 

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