My Turkish never prepared me for a trip to the emergency room.
But I’m sure the ice pack on my forehead and the bandaged wounds on my arms was enough evidence that I needed immediate assistance.
All I could really sputter out was “Mutfakta, bir kapi camli var. (In the kitchen, there’s a glass door.) Then, I turned to charades. My husband showed a picture on my cell phone of the earlier accident. I didn’t even know the Turkish word for accident.
The staff at the American Hospital in Istanbul quickly rushed me into a room and had me lie down on a gurney. (If we were in America, I probably would have waited forever just to get into a room.) My husband handed off my passport and insurance card. I just laid there stiff as a board in fear of moving, covered in a crisp white sheet.
Was there still glass in my arms? I wondered.
My head and nose felt like someone had solidly punched me in the face.
On Monday night, I was in the salon working on the computer while I waited for my apple tarts to finish baking. The kitchen timer for my tarts went off so I rushed into the kitchen.
In reality, I rushed straight into these stupid sliding glass doors that separate the kitchen from the salon. One of the tempered glass panels shattered when I hit the door. I stood there stunned as the glass shards fell around me. My arms were outstretched with blood dripping down and tiny pieces of glass were embedded in my arms.
My husband turned off the timer, pulled the tarts out the oven per my request, ran back to me and had me sit down away from the crunching sound of glass.
The next 30 minutes were a bit of blur as my husband carefully rinsed my arms off in the bathroom sink to get rid of the glass and blood, and I held an ice pack to my badly bruised nose and forehead. Our apartment building’s security guys rang our doorbell to see if we were alright. Jason fumbled around in Turkish and told them we had to go the hospital. They surveyed the scene and let us go.
Soon, we grabbed our Turkish dictionary, a water bottle and my passport and were out the door. Luckily, the American Hospital is only a short 5-minute drive away from our apartment.
At the hospital, the staff members were quick, efficient and kind to me. The Turkish doctor who saw me spoke English. They cleaned and bandaged my wounds. The doctor told me I was very lucky the door was tempered glass or my cuts would’ve been a lot worse. I didn’t need any stiches, just several butterfly bandages and normal Band-Aids.
However, my throbbing nose was another story. Apparently, it took the brunt of the crash.
A friendly Turkish staff member wheeled me in the x-ray room. The x-rays showed my nose was fractured. This is the first broken bone I’ve ever had in 36 years.
The doctor called the plastic surgeon. It was nearly 1 a.m., but the surgeon came anyway – all the way from the Asian side. (Again, this would never happen in America, I thought.)
When he arrived, he ordered a CT scan for my head to see how badly the nose was fractured. I didn’t have a concussion either. Later, he reported I may need surgery next week, but to see him for a follow up visit on Thursday (tomorrow).
Despite my injuries, I was surprised and impressed by the whole process in the emergency room at the American Hospital. Everyone was helpful and compassionate.
Sometimes there was a slight language barrier, but not anything we couldn’t figure out or muddle through. The doctor and the plastic surgeon spoke English and made us feel at ease.
If you ever happen to get injured in Istanbul, the American Hospital is the place to be.
Back home, I’ve been recuperating with an ice pack on my nose and simply resting. I’ve been going nonstop for the past eight weeks. Maybe this whole unfortunate accident was a sign that I should slow down. I guess I don’t really have a choice for the next week or so.
At least, I was fortunate enough to have a husband that saved my apple tarts and me in the process.