An Episode of E.R.

DSC05026stitch.JPG

This blog entry about the events of Saturday, February 07, 2004 was originally posted on February 08, 2004.

DAY 112:  Behind the scenes, the producers of “The Trinidad Show” (me) had been emailing certain former cast members in hopes they would return for another appearance.  Like the returns of Diane on Cheers and Lilith on Frasier, Lara — who I met in Lima, spent Christmas in Cusco with, partied with in La Paz, and toured the Bolivian salt flats with — came back for some more episodes.

Little did we know that her comeback would be on an episode similar to one of the medical drama E.R.

LIKE THE TEAMS IN THE SECOND SEASON of CBS’ The Amazing Race, Lara and I raced to a camp outside the Brazilian city Foz do Iguaçu near the world famous Iguaçu Falls, from different starting points that morning.  I came straight from the north from Campo Grande, unknowingly one hour into the future of a new time zone, while Lara came from the south, with a little delay at her border crossing from Argentina into Brazil.  We kept track of our locations with internet cafe stops and realized that we arrived in the city at about the same time, without ever running into each other.  Lara, who wasn’t about to attempt to start learning Portuguese too early, just hopped in a cab while I chose the long way for 28 real less: three public buses to take me to the finish line 12 km out of town.  I had missed my stop on the second bus and fell behind, having to walk half a mile with my packs in the sun to catch my third bus.  Lara was already reading a book in a hammock when I arrived.

“Hey there!” she called to me.

“Hey!  When d’you get here?”

“About an hour ago.”

Lara followed me to my guy’s dorm room and we caught up on our travels as I sorted out my things.  “I have something for you,” I told her before surprising her with her favorite treat:  a pack of Oreos. 

She smiled but told me she was now on a diet.


LONELY PLANET described the Hostelling International Paudimar hostel as a “mini resort” and they weren’t kidding.  For just $9 (US), you stay in a secluded little paradise with big lawns and hammocks everywhere, internet access, a sports field, a swimming pool and a bar.  I joined Lara — aka “Ms. Croft” (as in Lara Croft of Tomb Raider fame) — at the pool to cool down with a dip and a couple of cocktails.  It was a perfect resting period after the race that morning.


LARA WAS GETTING LOW ON CASH so we decided to take the public bus back into town to look for a bank.  We walked to the main road, hopped on the crowded bus, making fun of the little boy who hated my backpack swinging in his face.  The bus took us to the central urban terminal, a collection of roofed platforms with metal signs hanging from above to designate your bus stop.  As soon as I got off the bus, the sign “Parque Nacional / Villa Carima” decided to randomly come off its chain and plummet straight down on my head like a guillotine.  Its timing couldn’t have been more precise; it missed my shoulders, arms and struck me dead center on top of my head. 

At first I thought nothing of it — I just held my head in pain and started laughing, which prompted Lara to start laughing, making everyone around us think we were on something — but soon blood started dripping all over my face and down my neck and we realized it wasn’t a simple cartoon injury.

Luckily an English-speaking guy with “France” on his name tag from the nearby information booth came to my aid.  He led me to the men’s room so I could wash up and analyze the situation.

“Are you a doctor?” Lara asked.

“No, but I have some first aid training,” France answered as blood continued to rush down my face.

“You need to apply pressure on it to stop the bleeding,” France said.  “Do you have an extra t-shirt in your bag or something?”

I scrambled through it.  “No.”

France quickly asked Lara if she would take her sarong off so we could use that, but she refused.  Later she told me that she was all up for helping me, but wasn’t about to walk around the city in just her bikini bottoms.

Luckily I found my small towel in my bag and we used that amidst the chaos.  Chaos is no fun unless its documented with cameras, so Lara had my little camera around her neck to document the events — while still laughing along with me the whole time.

France escorted us to the nearby police station — we stopped briefly to take a photo of me and my assailant.  The police didn’t speak any English, but luckily France was around to translate.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I said, still smiling and giggling with Lara who was nursing me with water from the water cooler.

France had a squad car pick me up instead of an ambulance.  Lara and I hopped in the back seat while an officer was up front. 

“[He’s a tourist,]” France told the cop in their native tongue.  “[He doesn’t speak Portuguese.]”

The door closed shut and we drove off to the public hospital.


I GAVE LARA MY PASSPORT, MEDICAL RECORDS AND INSURANCE CARD and she sorted me out with admissions while I rushed into the emergency room.  A male nurse led me to the gurney while I laid and waited, staring up at the ceiling, wondering what would happen next as a pool of blood started to collect underneath my head.  Unfortunately there were no hot Brazilian female nurses to tend to me — they were all male — but luckily the lovely and headstrong Nurse Croft came to my side despite administration telling her it wasn’t allowed.  She knew me well enough that I would have been pissed if no one was around with a camera to document the whole thing.  (You can thank her for these photos.)

An E.R. surgeon came into the room with a handful of supplies to prepare for surgery.

“Wow, look at the size of that needle!” Lara said to me and I lay in my own blood.  “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.  I’ll shut up now… Oh what’s that?  It looks like chocolate sauce.”

“Chocolate sauce?”

The “chocolate sauce” was actually an anethetic and before I knew it was coming, the doctor was injecting it into my head around my wound.  It numbed the pain pretty fast because I didn’t feel anything as he sewed me up with about five or six stitches (picture above).  Another doctor came in to check up on things, talking to the other in the foreign Portuguese that I nor Lara could comprehend.  Staring up at the ceiling, I told Lara, “Wow, its like The Twilight Zone in here.”

In a short while I was all stitched up and ready to leave, despite the cartoon-like lump on my head that was starting to swell down.  The city had paid for my medical expenses, probably since I was from the U.S.A., the country of suers.  I wouldn’t have sued anyway — it would have been too much of a hassle and besides, I got my exciting Blog entry out of it.


NURSE CROFT TOOK ME OUT FOR ICE CREAM at a nearby parlor before we went wandering the city of Foz do Iguaçu.  There wasn’t much to do on a Sunday so we had a quick cocktail and walked back to the terminal.  The “Parque Nacional” sign hadn’t been hung up yet — it was probably down at the station for questioning like in a television police drama.


LARA AND I CHILLED OUT at the poolside bar for dinner and spiked milkshakes that night.  We wondered how bad things could have been if I wasn’t wearing my baseball cap, which cushioned some of the blow from the edge of the metal sign — and now had a bad ass blood stain on it for my memento.

“I would have had to post a message on your website to your mom to call me,” Lara said. 

Sure, an episode of involving my parents in a hospital would most likely be more entertaining that this one, but that’s something the producers of “The Trinidad Show” would probably save for Sweeps Week.






Next entry: When Quatis Attack!

Previous entry: Eat Your Heart Out




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Comments for “An Episode of E.R.”

  • Ouch!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  07:39 PM


  • ALL:  Hey, now THERE’S a story for ya!  Hope it keeps you busy as I may be NIZ for a while…  my hostel is in an NCHUZ—I actually took a bus into the city to upload the latest—so bear with me!

    Coming soon:  Attacked by a quati—an animal related to the racoon—like Wil Ferrell in “Elf”!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  07:41 PM


  • Ok, now I can sing a song for you, courtesy of the reggae stylings of Dennis Brown…

    Night nurse
    Only you alone can quench this here thirst
    My night nurse
    Oh the pain… is getting worse

    Back to my regularly scheduled comments… amazing you had to get stitches when the cap was not harmed, other than the blood.  Also amazing that you smiled and laughed through it all… probably cracking jokes like Indiana Jones when he’s in a pinch.

    You da man!  Dunno if you watch… but with 2 episodes left, sex could be moving to a foreign city, sigh.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  07:53 PM


  • dude that looked like it hurt! .. Hope your alright .. You didn’t suffer any memory losses did you? ... Or better yet try your Porteguese, you may be fluent now ..

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  07:55 PM


  • Damn NIZs…. and oops its Gregory Isaacs not Dennis Brown, that’s what I get for not fact checking before hitting post.  I’ll bet you got all the rapid posters fooled by not logging into IM, teehee.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  07:57 PM


  • Lady Croft: Excellent close-up shot of Erik’s bloodgoo hair! Really gross!

    Erik: There used to be Extreme Dishwashing, now Extreme Getting off the Bus, whats going on with you? (great story)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  08:06 PM


  • that “stitches” pic looks delish….NOT!

    At least you can laugh it off…next time stay on the street instead of the sidewalks.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  08:08 PM


  • Ouch! I hit my head on a metal clothing rack when I was a kid and I don’t think it ever healed. I can feel the pain just reading your story, Erik. Glad you’re none the worse for wear and that you had Nurse Croft to take care of you! Hehe!

    Posted by Tony  on  02/08  at  08:10 PM


  • wow. after all the incredibly dangerous things you done so far, the only thing to take you down was a sign. weird how somethings just happen. did you at least get to keep the sign? =)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  08:11 PM


  • I guess you can’t be a head model anymore either, huh? 

    Make sure you take care of that, you don’t want it looking like your finger scar.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  08:18 PM


  • Dear God, you will give me a heart attack at a very tender age.  The head has more capillaries (small blood vessels) than the rest of the body that’s why the bleeding was pretty much.  You had tetanus shot before you left, right?
    You be careful, please no more episode of this kind.
    God bless..

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  08:58 PM


  • Erik that bloody pic was grewsome!

    To bad you didn’t still have your hobbit hair. I would have further cushioned the blow .

    Note to self: Wear a helmut when in Brazilian bus stations.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  09:23 PM


  • ...It would have….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  09:28 PM


  • damn eric! where was I when you needed someone to put stitches in your head? I got back to california few nights ago after 3 weeks in patagonia- already ready for another trip- maybe catch you in another continent!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  09:53 PM


  • Glad you are OK mate….keep the great attitude going.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/08  at  11:48 PM


  • oh yeah….make sure you don’t wet those stitches man….

    just keep the blood stained head look…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/09  at  01:20 AM


  • DUAINE: i second that sigh.. but as we all know, sex that good can’t last forever.. i’ll be mourning for a while.. til i complete my sex & the city dvd collection that is =)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/09  at  01:22 AM


  • HOLY SMOKES!!! what happen!@(*&! i’v been MIA from the blog for a few weeks (sorry) & return to a picture w/sharp objects by your head & blood dripping out .. YIKES!!!!!!!!!! is everything okay?  i haven’t read the story yet.  i don’t wanna jump ahead…. that pic looks painfull! OUCH!!!!! hope you are alright.

    i am off to NORWAY soon. but, i printed out all the entries i missed (there’s alot!!!!) & will read them on the plane! smile yahoo.

    i see you’re in brazil now. if you’re staying at casa 6 (are you?) tell stephan i say hi.  did you see the mural above his door? we became friends w/the guy who painted it. martin bundy!

    anyway, more comments when i return & am all caught up…

    (i’m jealous)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/09  at  02:04 AM


  • OMG What a trooper, I would have been freaking out. 

    Glad you’re ok.  Don’t you have to go back to the Dr. to get the stitches taken out?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/09  at  02:26 AM


  • damn!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/09  at  01:11 PM


  • Ouch!! That’s a scarey one! I’d be freaking out if I was travelling around and I started bleeding like that. Keep up the great spirits and attitude. Glad that nurse croft was with you!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/09  at  04:28 PM


  • Ouch!! That’s a scarey one! I’d be freaking out if I was travelling around and I started bleeding like that. Keep up the great spirits and attitude. Glad that nurse croft was with you!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/09  at  04:32 PM


  • did they shave the hair around the cut?  if not… then won’t your scalp just grow over the hair…forming a weird shaped hair mound?

    that would be kinda nasty.

    Posted by hanalei  on  02/09  at  05:13 PM


  • I’m glad you’re okay now!  I can’t believe you were laughing through the whole thing.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/09  at  06:03 PM


  • When I first saw the intro picture I thought it was one of your jokes then realized that you thought it was funny so I guess it was funny.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/09  at  06:06 PM


  • Though I know it wasn’t funny.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/09  at  06:08 PM


  • WHOA!!! The things you do for a good story… hehehe

    Glad you’re ok.

    p.s. You’re starting to turn into me.. accident prone!

    Posted by jenn  on  02/09  at  10:36 PM


  • oh yeah.. good thing Lara was with you, otherwise I don’t think it would’ve have been as much “fun” for you

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/10  at  12:11 AM


  • damn u evil sign de parque nacional vila carima!!!

    u bungee jump, scuba dive, etc..not a scratch.  but washing dishes and walking under signs sends u to the er twice.  the irony makes good writing

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/10  at  12:11 AM


  • Nice one, dude.  I’m buying you a helmet.

    Posted by Matt  on  02/10  at  02:32 AM


  • Umm…I think you should invest in a HELMET… wink

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/10  at  03:44 AM


  • Oops!! I didn’t know Matt had already said that!

    Invest in a Kevlar Helmet instead! Those are a lot tougher…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/10  at  03:45 AM


  • It actually *is* sweeps time right now for the networks here in the US.  We all know you had this story arc planned out since last fall.  How else could you have scheduled in Lara in another guest starring role?  She’s very in demand…

    I can’t wait for the season finale!  Make sure it’s a cliffhanger that keeps us guessing until October so I can check all the nerdy TV sites for spoilers.

    Oh, and because no one has said it yet:

    “That’s using your head!”

    Posted by Tony Alexander  on  02/10  at  04:27 AM


  • wheat:  HAHAHA!!  That’s SO funny…but it’s true!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/10  at  01:36 PM


  • ALL:  Thanks for the support guys!  I’m fine really…. oh, except for that HOLE in my head…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/10  at  04:31 PM


  • Erik, mate…that looks nasty! Cant believe Lara wasnt willing to walk around Foz half naked for you…Im surprised and shocked by her ?un-cricket? like behaviour. (can tell she?s not English!) Im not so healthy myself at present…holed up in the hostel in La Paz with a fever while Zoe does the Coroico downhill…not fair! Anyway, glad to hear youve come thru the wars, take care xxx

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/10  at  04:31 PM


  • Kuya Erik,  We are glad you are okey
    Take good care of yourself.  Miss yah!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/10  at  05:31 PM


  • I stopped reading for a few weeks and look at what happens. Those pics were pretty horrific, geez. That picture of you laughing reminds me of that polaroid in Memento. You’re mom must’ve passed out! Be careful man, that wouldnt be a cool way to go.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/10  at  11:06 PM


  • Damn Erik,  This was your big chance!!!  You could have told us some big heroic story about how you were trying to save Laura from an animal attack or something, and the best you could do was a sign falling on your head.  Right, you actually think we believe that, whatever!!! Just exactly what were you and Laura doing??? 

    LOL, just kidding with you, Glad your O.K.  really should watch out for those falling signs!!!

    Bren

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/11  at  01:03 AM


  • 40th!

    I had to do it…. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this “Sweeps” entry has received the most posts so far!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/11  at  03:24 AM


  • oh my gosh! hahaha, that’s so crazy. glad to see Lara’s back, with good timing as well.

    Posted by Alyson  on  02/13  at  08:08 AM


  • oh my gosh! hahaha, that’s so crazy. glad to see Lara’s back, with good timing as well.

    Posted by Alyson  on  02/13  at  08:08 AM


  • dude - i cant believe you smiled in every picture through that ordeal!

    just ANOTHER shining example of your optimistic nature….=P

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  12:15 PM


  • Hey Erik,

    I too have not stopped in for a few weeks.  Wow! Sorry to hear about the injury.  (I would have gave you my sarong!)  I’m glad Lara was there for you, it’s always better to share your pain with someone else.

    Scars make great conversation starters!

    Loved the story but you know .......we’re entertained enough by just your travel adventures, no need to throw in accident, injury, blood, police, stitches, etc.

    Please take care.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/16  at  10:39 PM


  • glad that everything worked out in the end… what was it that your parents said when the glass broke in your hand??? it was something funny, no?

    i’m going to continue reading N smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/19  at  09:22 PM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
When Quatis Attack!

Previous entry:
Eat Your Heart Out




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




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The views and opinions written on The Global Trip blog are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the official views and opinions of the any affiliated publications.
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