Before going down to the beach, Jorge and I rush to the bathroom to change into our swimsuits. We enter the WC and find that all of the stalls are relatively small and dirty. I grab a stall on the far left-hand side of the room. Inside the stall, I try balancing my backpack with one arm while changing my clothes with the other. I was avoiding placing my backpack on the filthy floor at all costs. The ground couldn’t have been any more gross.
After a bit of maneuvering, I managed to change into my new bathing suit. (I purchased a new one while traveling in Athens because it turns out I left mine in my bedroom back in the USA.) Jorge changed quickly since his stall had a hook to hold his belongings. He told me he’d meet me over by the main office because he wanted to grab something from the backpack he left in their holding room.
Once I finished getting changed, I grabbed onto the latch to open my stall. I attempted to open the door but I couldn’t unlock it. The metal locking mechanism was rusty and difficult to move. It wouldn’t slide. I gave it another pull. Nothing happened. The metal bar did not budge. Was I really going to have to fight with this door to get out? With both hands, I grasped the tiny bar that sticks out for people to hold onto. With a quick burst of force, I give the bar a hard push to the left. As the rusty bar got dislodged, it quickly shifted from its right-most position all the way to the left. All in that same moment, it snapped shut and closed on my thumb, pinching and ripping right through my skin. I felt a jolt of pain on the side of my finger. I took my hand away and looked at my thumb. Blood started seeping out. I look back at the door. A small chunk of my skin rested in the locking mechanism.
You’ve got to be kidding me. This is disgusting! Now my thumb was in throbbing pain and I’m thinking I am definitely going to contract some foreign infection.
With my other hand, I tried to clean a bit of the blood and the dislodged skin… I push the now-unlocked door open and hurriedly walk over to the main office to meet Jorge. My friend, the terrific clerk is at the front desk but I wasn’t even going to entertain asking him for help. No, no no. “Help,” he does not do.
I asked the female concierge if they had a first aid kit because I had hurt my finger in their bathroom stall and needed to clean and cover the wound. She nodded, rather unsympathetically, and walked to the back room to retrieve the kit. She returned with a cotton swab dipped in iodine. As she goes to hand it to me, she accidentally dropped it onto the desk. I look at her expecting her to apologize, throw it out, and retrieve a new one. No, she simply picks up the fallen cotton swab and hands it to me. I take it and thank her.
I rub the now-contaminated cotton swab over my open wound. Jorge expresses his concern to me over the issue of tetanus. I was so focused on the pain, I hadn’t even thought of that. I visited a travel health medical doctor before this trip so I assumed I was fully covered for all of those basic things. I couldn’t exactly remember any mention of the tetanus boosters. I tried pulling my health records from my phone but they wouldn’t load. I took a leap of faith and trusted that my immunizations were probably fine. Maybe that was foolish to risk without knowing for sure but I just assumed that there was no way the doctors could have overlooked tetanus and that I wouldn’t have gotten a booster if it was time for one. Thankfully, after the trip…. I confirmed that I was, in fact, up-to-date on my vaccinations against tetanus.
I placed a small circular bandaid over the spot where I lost a chunk of skin. While the wound wasn’t wide, it was deep and sensitive to pressure. Sometimes its the strangest injuries that can cause you the most discomfort. I would manage to hurt myself within the first thirty minutes of our already-short getaway to a remote island…
While throwing out the wrappers to the bandage, a receptionist mentions that our room is now ready. Yay! Some good news! We grabbed the keys, I carefully picked up my bags, and we set off to check out the upgraded room.