While helping the kids clean up the CLC, I turned to put some books back on the shelf, and in my usual clumsy way, I slammed my foot into the leg of one of the preschool tables. More specifically, as my foot proceeded to move forward at alarming speed, my little toe abruptly stopped the momentum...by wedging itself around the table leg. With nowhere for the poor appendage to go upon impact, it un-naturally moved to the left emitting within it a definite cracking sound.
I turned and yelled OW WEE OH WEE OW WEE OH WEE!! Most of the kids turned to look at me and laughed and went on about their playing, but a few came over to where I was laying on my back on the small tables rolling about. More curiosity than compassion, Srey Nak and Virak looked at me and then started to laugh. I was laughing through my pain at them laughing at me.
"Melinda Skoit (Crazy)" was said a couple times, but I said, "No, I am not Skoit! I have chue (pain)". I guess because I act really silly many times they just didn't believe me. So I grabbed Virak's toe and pretended to break it off and said, "Same Same Melinda" as I showed them my toe which was turned alarmingly to the outside of my foot.
I hobbled over to the desk and grabbed the packing tape and jerked my toe back to it's proper place and taped it in place.
By that time the word was spread throughout the play room and everyone came to look at the poor injured soul laying on the floor.
Growing up in a very sarcastic family, getting hurt usually meant everyone would laugh at you or poke the injured place. We learned to laugh at our pain. Once while scuba diving with my friend Kimberly on the Big Island (Hawaii), I got a vana (sea urchin) stuck in my hand…or better to say, I stuck my hand in a vana and by the time we got out of the ocean and to the rental car I was in horrendous pain while my hand continued to swell with red streaks moving down my fingers and hand. There's a longer story to this - basically for this kind of injury, something acidic should be applied, such as vinegar…or ahem, urine… Needless to say when we finally located a hospital, Kimberly and I both had tears in our eyes, hers from laughter, mine from laughter and PAIN.
The nurses at the reception desk were not paying us much attention because we were not able to control our laughter while checking in. Finally when no one seemed to care, I shouted; "PLEASE HELP ME, IF I DON'T LAUGH I WILL CRY! I AM IN PAIN!!" That got their attention and I promptly saw a doctor and he had to open up my fingers and scrape out all the fragile vana shells out from under my skin and fingernails. I did cry at that point, but hearing Kimberly in the next room giggling, I managed to cry and smile at the same time.
Similarly, when I broke my arm, and Toni was my she-night in shining armor, I tried to be serious when the ER doctor was looking at it, but having had the giggles the whole way from the soccer field to the Emergency Room, didn't help, nor did the glass window in the room which allowed me to see Toni compassionately making fun of me. God I love my friends!!
Oh but I have digressed…the kids sensed that I was laughing through my pain. Srey Moav, said "Look Melinda Cry!" and I said "I am not crying, I am laughing", but she pointed at my wet eyes and said "Oh, Melinda cry". I again denied crying, but inside I wanted to! The playroom was cleaned up in record time as Vandy went to get a bicycle to transport me to the Cafe to wait for Wayne.
After consulting with Wayne and getting a crutch, I hopped on my right leg over to the central play area and sat down. Soon, our little compassionate kids surrounded me and my makeshift crutch.
Srey Po seemed to think blowing on it would help…which it did, it helped me laugh harder. The ever helpful Channey and her sister Rortana slowly massaged my leg and she ever so gently massaged my foot and four good toes.
As I hobbled over to the clinic to get a wrap from Wayne, Saoun demonstrated to everyone what happened.
and then hopped around making fun of me!
Wayne taped my toe properly, wrapped it and gave me some Ibuprofin. Waiting outside before meditation, I again received sympathy (genuine sympathy!) as my leg was massaged again, this time by Srey Moav.
Srey Nou carted me on her bicycle all the way to my room - thankfully it wasn't DVD night - where I put my foot up and relaxed. I picked up my Khmer Phrase Book and looked up how to say the words Toe and Broke. I couldn't find either, although I thought "I think I broke my toe" could be classified under the chapter of Useful Everyday Phrases; maybe right between "Is there wheelchair access?" and "Are there facilities for the disabled?"
I then looked in the Health Chapter and I found translations for bladder, blister, blood donor and burn but no Broke. I found tip, tissues, toast and toilet but no Toe. Digging deeper in the chapter; after vomit and whooping cough, there were health related useful phrases. No broken anything, but I did learn how to say "That's painful, please take it easy" and my new all-time favorites, "It hurts all the time" and "I can not stand the pain" - not sure what they would do in a local clinic for those…maybe take you out back and put you out of your misery?
While waiting for the Ibuprofen to kick in I fell asleep mumbling "chue na!s, som tveu tab-norm tab-norm."
For the next couple of days, my toe and upper foot proceeded to turn black and blue, but the pain was reserved to my toe and as long as I kept Virak (who has absolutely no knowledge of, or interest in, personal space) outside a 2 foot radius from me at all times, my toe was safe and relatively pain free. I no longer needed the crutch, but that didn't stop the kids from mimicking me randomly throughout the days.
While using whatever they found laying around the property they yelled my name and hobbled, hopped and jumped their way further into my heart.