the time i really shouldn’t have gone to salzburg

Monday, July 25, 2011

i never told the story of how i ended up in the hospital and i certainly never posted photos of my sliced-open hand*, but in order to fully express the magnitude of what an awfully irresponsible decision this was, i should explain a few things.

you know that scene in the santa clause, in which tim allen’s character wakes up and realizes he has, well, become santa claus?  the scene in which he sleepily glances down and sees a pair of hands that look like latex gloves inflated with a gallon of air?  well, one friday morning in may, i woke up and discovered that i, too, had become santa claus.  actually, my left hand had – just my left hand.  in true jennifer fashion, i said, “eh, probably nothing” and went to work.  you should know that i abhor going to the doctor and the thought of doing so in germany – in another language – seemed all the more frightening than seeing the american doctors i avoid so well at home.

at school, however, my colleague, bettina, noticed my hand and told me to leave.  i asked her which doctor i should see and she told me, “you need an emergency room, not a doctor'”.  and then, bless her, she drove me to an emergency room right away and dropped me off at the door. 

here is the part where we fast forward one hour of this story.  just know that in this hour, a lot of waiting room confusion, receptionist confusion, insurance confusion and jennifer-speaking-german confusion occurred.  it wasn’t a real fun time for me.

i was eventually seen by a doctor, who applied a liquid gel to my hand and said, “hopefully this will reduce the swelling”.  he put my hand in a bandage and told me to return on monday.  foolishly, i thanked him, skipped out of the emergency room, thinking, “the doctors were so nice! they told me my german is great! i love germany! i love my life!  what a great day!” and walked home to pack for my trip to salzburg.

i had planned to go to salzburg for the weekend.  kayla and i were supposed to meet two of our good friends who studied with us there in 2009.  and as we hadn’t seen these friends since 2009, i refused to listen when a friend here advised me, “i think you should stay at home and rest this weekend”.  i thought, “what’s the harm in going to salzburg?  the doctor told me to wait until monday to come back to the emergency room anyway.  what am i supposed to do, sit in my room all weekend?”.  my friend told me that’s exactly what i should do.  he said, “carrying luggage on a train, walking around in the hot sun and staying out late with friends will do nothing to improve the condition of your hand."

obviously, i went to salzburg anyway.

and here is the part where we fast forward the entire weekend.  i was miserable.  yes, it was wonderful seeing my friends but when i think back to this weekend, my stomach begins to churn.  not a minute of this weekend passed without my left hand throbbing and pulsing with pain.  it continued to swell and began to turn brown (when i sent my parents photos, they were slightly convinced i’d contracted a case of gangrene…. ewwww!).  by the end of the weekend, i had thrown up 7 times and you could not see my knuckles from the swelling. 

first thing monday morning, i went to the hospital.  i was told a cyst had most likely exploded in my index finger and that the bones in my hand had most likely broken from swelling (they hadn’t, though!).  when the doctor told me i needed to undergo surgery, i jokingly asked, “so will i get to miss work tomorrow?”.  he told me i’d be in the hospital for a week – that i’d miss work for a week, maybe two.  i realized then that the reason i had thrown up was due to an infection caused by the wound, which had spread, thus necessitating a round of antibiotics and hospital care.

buuuuut, here are the photos from my trip anyway, in which my face tells the story of how one’s mood can change from “pretty happy” to “utterly miserable” in a matter of hours.  please let me know what you think of the cardigan-ice pack fashioned around my left hand!  {you know it’s bad when you go out with friends, walk up to the bar and ask, “no drink, please!  can you just fill up this cardigan with ice so i can tie it around my hand?”}

moral of the story: when it’s your health vs. salzburg, always choose your health.


slightly less happy:


a little less happy:


utterly miserable:


*i did post a few photos on facebook, however, and was told by a friend here that “only an american freak would post photos of their creepy wounds on facebook”. so, in that case, such photos will never be posted on this blog.  can’t have the internet thinking i’m any more of an “american freak” than they already do!
Jessica Holly said...

Well, despite the look great! I hope you recover fast!

salwush said...

you have big lips. are they fake? are you better now?

kim @ a positive peace said...

omg. first of all, im so glad everything turned out OK (even though I've been reading since then so I knew it did! :D) but if was me I would have been going into multiple panic attacks all weekend long! soo scary!!

secondly, the FIRST thing i do whenever i hurt myself (which is quite frequently) is post pictures of my injuries! i had no idea this was an "american freak" thing to do! doesnt everyone want to see your freaky injuries? i know i do! hahah!

Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] said...

oh dear. at least you look so cute! love your hat.

Alex said...

Yep, not gonna lie, I wanted to see the pictures.

Bel said...

OMGOSH. I was seriously hoping there were pictures too haha! You are great at storytelling btw, I could practically see your exploding hand!

<3 Belly B

Anonymous said...

i love reading all these blog stories too!! :)

xoxo jen

homeseed said...

goooooo! ouch! yuck! i am SO sorry that happened to you...sounds like lots of ridiculous things for one poor hand.

thanks for the invite love :)

haaaappy monday!!

Anonymous said...

holy crap girl! That sounds awful. And like the story of my life. And then it turns out I have something serious, like a broken foot, and I've been walking on it for months.

Bekah said...

oh bless your heart! i totally feel your pain, except i would have to substitute berlin for salzburg (and mono for exploding cyst). hang on to those pictures, girl - the eewww factor only gets better with time. you'll know when the moment is right to shock the world

Kae said...

i read up until "cyst", puked in my mouth a little, then stopped reading. I'm assuming you survived this ordeal and that there was a good moral to the story, but I guess I'll never know the latter since I don't want to continue puking in my mouth.

Michelle Schraudner said...

Oh yikes! Glad it wasn't anything more serious at least, but that sounds so miserable.

Also, that comment by salwush...??? ha!

Jan said...

It makes me sad - I bet it was so painful!!

Anonymous said...

i'm glad your lips are real. i was so concerned after the comment above.

also: i love the pictures accompanying this story. it really added to what you told me when i was in salzburg.

Pretzel Thief said...

Of course they're real, they LOOK real as anything! You can always spot fake lips (::shudder::).

I'm a fellow naturally full-lipped gal but I've never gotten the question as to whether my lips are real, though, heh heh. I suspect you hadn't either, Jenni, until this particular comment! :-)

As for your hand, OMG! I'm so sorry you went through that but glad it wasn't anything more serious, thankfully. One of those "You live, you learn" events.

(Loving the black party dress, though!)

Jasmine said...

oh shiiit, so glad you're feeling better now!

Celeste said...

I can't believe the words "i really shouldn't have gone to salzburg" came out of your mouth. just kidding ;)

Megan said...

so then...its not normal to post photos of weird things on the internet?

i dont understand.

Abby said...

oh that sounds painful! I am glad you are ok now though! And that you got reimbursed!

Kayla said...

In my defense- I was not told prior to her coming to Salzburg how bad the finger situation was. I would have fully opposed her decision!

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