Things don't always go as planned. Four days ago, I got up in the middle of the night to let the guy upstairs know that his domestic problem really didn't need to become a hotel-wide problem: he was banging and banging on his hotel door presumably because his traveling companion had locked him out, and also presumably for very good reason.
I tripped on a step right outside my door and tore the toenail half off my (poor, unassuming never-hurt-nobody) right big toe. Helter skelter. Blood everywhere. Crime scene. Slipping in the blood. OK now I'm exaggerating a teensie-weensie bit. But only teensie-weensie. We got the wound dressed with the hotel's piddly first aid kit, returned to the room, mopped the bloody floor and lay down to wait for sunrise . . . because in just a few hours we were taking the ferry to Phi Phi Island. When we got to the island we went directly to the hospital to have the wound cleaned and dressed by a professional, a sweet and smiling little person . . . with a syringe from the 50s.
"We have to take off toenail," she said, "Or it become infected and you die miserable death."
"I'll probably do that anyway," I said. "Let's not fool ourselves."
I giggled. And you know we didn't say this . . . at least not the part after 'infected'. She was right of course. The toenail had to come off.
"I give shot. Hurt a lot. Then no pain." In hindsight, it might have been good to question the logic of this. Pain now or pain later? Does it really matter?
To deaden the toe in order to pluck my toenail off, the sweet-smiling person gave my (poor, helpless and completely innocent) toe six shots with a needle--I swear just the thought makes me weepy again--almost as large as a nail, and each shot felt like she was hammering a nail into my toe. I screamed so loud that my traveling companions decided to go shopping and Peter the Russian Goldsmith Insurer started snapping pictures (none of which I'll be showing). And then no pain. And then no pain?? I think this was a lie.
Later when she was putting the last touches on my bandage, she giggled again and said, "I sorry I make you cry." I simply smiled, thought I bet you are and said it was OK. I didn't tell her that she actually meant scream, not cry. I didn't cry. I screamed bloody bloody murder. It's different.
That was four days ago. Today I take my last antibiotics. I stopped taking the painkillers two days ago. I've been to the hospital 4 times now. Each time I got the wound cleaned and dressed it cost around 4 euros. I'm thankful that it didn't cost 50 euros. Yes, I'm thankful. It's all part of the adventure.
This morning I woke up and downloaded a beautiful song written by my good friend Lori Fischer and her writing partner Don Chaffer. The song is about Three Things...that we should be grateful for. We do really need to be more aware of and grateful for the good things that happen to us. They are happening all around us. My friend Paola Fornari Hanna has also reminded me of this fact so many times.
Last night as we sloshed our way through the flood roads of Bali in a taxi toward our hotel, I laughed and said, "I hope our hotel room is nice, because I'll probably be spending a lot of time there in the next few days." It was (and still is) raining torrentially, and I'm not supposed to get my toe wet. We're staying at The Mansion Resort Hotel and Spa near Ubud. We got a great deal, so I didn't know at all what to expect. Actually, I never know what to expect. I'm grateful for surprises. Nice ones of course.
The Mansion Resort Hotel and Spa is a beautiful, dreamy surprise. It's a great place to put your banged-up foot up and enjoy the rain. I am grateful for the rain. It will compel me to write today. And there's a doctor here at the hotel who will clean and dress my (poor, senseless and dopey) toe later.
Are you having a day when finding three things to be thankful for would lift you up a bit?
I must be off,
Christopher Allen is the author of the absurdist satire Conversations with S. Teri O'Type.