Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Confusion Girl

Girl With Bounce

WARNING: This is another post with pictures of a fried hand.

Just had a lovely meal out with Jo & Zubes. Both a bit knackered - me with my hand and Jo with a bad cough. Decided to cheer ourselves up with pizza at the best-lit bar in town. I knew it as Ogopogo, but apparently it's Terra-something (Terra Nova?) nowadays. Whatever, it's pretty. 

Pizza Oven

On the hand front, progress is being made.

For the morbidly curious, this was my hand the day after the physio fucked up.

I wrote to the head of Rwanda's Physiotherapy Unit explaining what had happened and very politely asking for a refund towards the extra medical costs of fixing the damage. He never responded. It's a typical outcome to most things regarding money here - having the same problem regarding a fridge warranty and the manager of Nakumatt. 

Still, Nurse Moses is my miracle man. I will never forget him for as long as I live. He prompted a gushy Facebook post last week:

A massive 'You're utterly amazeballs' to all my nursing, medical and healing friends. Over the past five weeks I have been entirely indebted to an incredible man called Nurse Moses. He's seen me in extreme pain (three hours of skin-stripping surgery on an infected wound), we've laughed a lot despite sharing no common language (there's a splodge on the wall that looks like Che Guevara), and he's forgiven me for fucking up a month of his work by seeing a psycho physio on the side. He's managed to fix every mistake I've made and still manages a smile when he sees me. He is, quite simply, amazing. As are all of you who have the stomach, patience and dedication to enter such a profession. I don't think we ever realise just how wonderful you are until we need you.

Had a bit of a scare last session. Nobody told me that Flamazine, the cream used for burns, turns black when it oxidises. My hand was flapping in the breeze on the moto home, so when I looked at it, I almost passed out. Thought it was rotting or something, until I ran it under a tap!

Anyway, really good news: all of the dressing is scheduled to come off 7 p.m. Saturday. Would have been Friday, but y'know, it's the Wimbledon semi-finals. Tennis or hand - priorities, people.

Here's what it looked like today. We've had some complications with the wrist, it's been slow to heal and was showing signs of infection, so I agreed to Fucidine. This is another cream they use, which is an antibiotic. Unfortunately, I have a bit of a reaction to it. An hour or so after use, I can't keep my eyes open. It completely sends me to sleep and can make me a bit emotional. Think it also had something to do with a bout of conjunctivitis. I feel much better when we don't use it, but it's the only thing that gets the skin healing, so it's worth a bit of discomfort. 

The fingers are shiny because they're coated in shea butter, which I think is some sort of miracle ointment. A small amount of scarring is occurring, so it didn't quite prevent that, but I do think it's helping with colouration and skin repair. Moses reckons all of the red will return to normal over time.

Zuba very astutely asked 'How did you burn your fingers and wrist but not the middle of your hand?' 

I have no idea. My best guess, looking at it now, is that I landed on the side of my arm, then attempted to push myself up with my fingers. My fingers were in a really bad state, so I guess, with my weight behind them, they were pushed down into the hot embers. Or perhaps I landed on my fingers and went down onto my arm.

I cannot express my sheer level of amazement that, in the space of just six weeks, I have managed to regrow everything. I expected it to take three or four months, and to be horribly scarred. It's kind of funny now when I meet people who heard what happened - they're expecting a big ugly mess, and all I have to show them is a fairly normal looking hand. 

I have my own macabre fascination with the process. I certainly wouldn't recommend trying it yourself, but I suppose at least there is hope that if it does happen, and you're young and relatively healthy, it's not world-ending. Your body has the power to regenerate.

The new skin is really stiff, and the scars are still forming so we're yet to see how that turns out, but there are options for physio and dermatology, which Moses (who I trust implicitly) assures me will get everything back to normal.

He tells me to be patient, but I'm not very good at that, so I've done the next best thing - I bought super fast wifi to watch Wimbledon. That's two weeks of lying on the couch not attempting to touch anything. It rally is doing wonders for my recovery.

We have this super cool contraption called Alcatel OneTouch. It's a small box about the size of your palm. You plug it in at home like a router, and you can link up to ten devices (laptop, mobile, Kindle etc.) to it. Then you can unplug it, pop it in your bag, and take your wifi connection with you. Lasts for up to five hours before it needs charging. Unfortunately, it only comes in pink or orange, but the concept is very cool, and you can change your SIM to use a cheaper 3G provider, as 4G is stupid expensive so I'm just treating myself for the duration of the tournament.

So, despite the hand, life is pretty good right now. 

Having some minor confusion, in that my favourite priest is back in town. He called me when he landed, but I was really run down at the time - struggling with the physio incident and a bad cold. Didn't get to see him before he buggered off to Goma to check on their project. Then one of his trustees flew in from Italy, only his flight between Kigali and Goma was cancelled, so LB got in the car and drove all the way to Kigali to pick this guy up.

We went out for drinks, and the trustee jokingly said 'You know he didn't drive all this way to collect me.' *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*

Anyway, he's back in Goma now - they've both gone to check on the project. He says he'll be back at the weekend, but he's flying out Monday, and he's so Congolese when it comes to timing. 'The weekend' probably means ten-to-midnight on Sunday. 

I promised myself after my last crush, that I would never again sit in silence wondering whether to say anything. Life is too short, you never get that time back, and it's twice as painful if the answer you've been waiting for is 'no'. So, before he flies out this time, I intend to separate him from the pack (he's really sociable, knows a lot of people, never alone) and just come out with it. If I don't, it's going to be another four or five months before he's back in town and I get the opportunity again. 

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