Monday, July 22, 2013

Snappy stitches

The stitches are off. My face will now start to heal.
The doctor put some sort of glue to keep my forehead from falling apart and some tape to protect the wound. The tape is supposed to come off by itself, or dissolve... or something like that.
I can smile again, I can make funny faces again. It doesn't itch anymore!! YAY!!!
I haven't had time to feel sad or lonely, and ALSO Mr B's visiting this week.

And of course, my lovely guy-friends have gone the extra mile to make me feel less... horrible (?):

Mr. Big:
- Who told you stopping cars with your forehead was fun?
- So nice of you to break your face before I visit!! Any other fun plans??
- Expecto Patronuuuummmmmmmm!!!!

Mr. M:
- Parce, I told you being vain was going to kill you one of these days... but I was not trying to be literal!
- Hey scarface!! Say hello my little friend...
- Were you auditioning for "Face Off 2: Petite Mafe's revenge"?  Did you get the part?

El Gringo:
- Awwwwwwwww.... Voldermot got you? Did that evil dude broke your wand? Bad Voldemort! Bad Voldemort!
- Should I spread the word about "The girl with the lighting bolt scar on her forehead"?
- See you at the sorting hat ceremony. Which house do you want to join?
- Griffind--
- Planning, Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering... Math...

My friendly-Pharma-PhD expert:
- Well... your face doesn't look that bad.
- THAT bad?!?!
- I'll find you something from our lab to help you erase that scar ----
- Dude! can't your company make something less stinky?
- Do you want to go back to normal or not!
- I do, but apparently going back to having a "decent" face is not going to be aroma-therapeutic.
- Don't be a drama queen. You're beautiful... you're beautiful... it's true...
- Yeah, yeah...

P&T (6 year-old twisted twins):
- What are those things on your face? Can we touc--
- Nooooooooooooooo!!! My stitchessssssss!!
- When we fall, mom takes us out for ice cream. C'mon, we'll take you!
- You're tooooo sweet! Give me a minute, I need to put on some make-up on before going out.
- You don't need make up, you're a pretty girl!!
- Awwww... thank you!
- Yeah... well... except your black eye and nose, your scratched cheeks, that thing on your forehead... THOSE need make up.

Pablito (my 3 year-old boyfriend):
- Mommy and Daddy told me about your boo-boo.
- What did they say?
- Daddy said you fell on your bike and cried. I can give you a kiss and make it all better.
- I love you Pablito...
- I love you more.

[nothing hurts anymore, that was all my boo-boo needed]

Friday, July 12, 2013

That's gonna leave a mark

That's what HE said. He, the nurse at the ER a couple of days ago.

This week, my life turned into a Lemony Snicket's fairy tale: "A Series of unfortunate events":

I've been playing sand volleyball for a couple of weeks now, as training for the fall season tournament. I might make the team this year again (I'm sure I'll twist a wrist or break a finger again but... blah!).
My body's a little sore.

On the day it happened, it wasn't raining in the morning so I biked to work, like everyday BUT, unlike everyday, I didn't take my helmet because my hair was damp and I didn't wanted it to possibly stink when I got to the office.
Mr. M: Parce, I told you vanity was going to kill you one of these days... but I wasn't trying to be literal.
[never again]

Among the new weird things in my life: I am now allergic to yellow peaches, I eat one of those and my face starts to itch and swell, my head hurts and my hands shake. I can only eat white peaches now.
Funny thing: a lady from the office brought some yellow peaches from her farm and gave us one each. I took a bite and nothing happened, and another one, and another one... nothing. YAY!!
[never again].

I look outside my office window. It's raining cats and dogs!!
Five minutes later it'd stopped.

Done with work for the day I head to the lab to work on my "magic" GIS maps "now you see them, now you don't". I model them into amazing things and the next day, they disappear... I'm a GIS magician!!!
Anyway, as I start working the yellow peach starts acting and yeeeech!! face itches, hands shake, head hurts... add it to my sore body from the volleyball and... ugh!!!

I can't focus. I'm seeing blurry... man, I feel sick. really sick. I'm going home.

I pack my things and head home, 3 hours earlier than usual [never... again?]
I decide to make it a "slow stroll around the park", maybe the cool air will be good for my weird allergy reaction. My head really hurts.

I'm riding on the sidewalk, which I don't normally do but it was raining minutes before, the grass is slippery, the sidewalk is not.
An old lady is heading my way, I have to get off the sidewalk and get on the grass.
When I try to re-route and get on the side-walk again I lose control of my bike.
I crash into a parked car, face-first going downhill. No helmet on.

I imagine the hit was hard and loud, because people I didn't see on my way came running to help and offered to call an ambulance, firemen... or something.
I'm laying on the sidewalk holding my head, with my eyes closed saying: No no, I'm fine. Really, I'm fine.

I try to stand up but they won't let me: "Wait a little bit, are you dizzy? sit down, rest a little"
[What are they talking about? I'm fine!]

A girl comes running saying she's a nurse, she can take me to the hospital. Another guy says he can take my bike to the university so I can pick it up in a couple of days when I leave the hospital.
Yeah, right.
I open my eyes and see my hands all covered in blood.
Oh my God.

I stand up and thank the people around me but I really want to go home and clean myself. I can walk, I'm just 2 blocks away from my apartment. Please let me go. My head hurts but I don't think it's because of the peach anymore.

They offer me and my bike a ride but I'm not comfortable letting a bunch of strangers know where the stupid "Transportation Engineer, bike safety studious who doesn't wear a helmet" lives, so I walk. I'm holding my head with one hand and my bike with the other.

I got home and finally look at myself in the mirror... Oh my God. MY FACE!

I call Shelley, she's too far to take me to the hospital. It's rush-hour, it'll take her at least an hour and a half to get here and I'm bleeding and it looks bad.
I call Mr. M., he's proctoring an exam... can't leave his classroom.
I call my former roommie (we're friends again), no answer.
I call my neighborly dude, N., I know he's at the gym at this hour but... he picks up!! He'll be here in 2 minutes!! Oh thank you baby Jesus!!!

My beige top is red with blood and so are my jeans. I have to change before N shows up!! I can't go out like this!!
Poor Shelley, freaking out calls to check on me: Get your purse ready, wallet? ID? get your insurance card ready, car ke--- no wait... you're not driving!! get some ice and put it on your face, talk to me... don't fall asleep until the doctor says so!! Give N. a copy of your house keys, we may need them to get something for you if you need to spend the night at the hospital... you're not talking... what's wrong!?!?! TALK TO ME!!!
- Shelley, I'm fine, it wasn't THAT bad. I look like a stupid version of Harry Potter, that's all.
- Well... at least you know what you did was dumb.
- Don't worry. I'll be home in a couple of hours.

At the hospital, I was laughing and making jokes with the doctors. Maybe it was the shock of seeing my face broken or the fact that I was not rushed which made me believe things were not too serious.

The doctor at the triage unit: It's not that bad, it's not like I can see your skull through that hole on your forehead. You'll be fine. 
That's reassuring.  
On a scale from 1 to 10, how bad does it hurt?
Six... six and a half.
You're an engineer, right?
How did you know?
NORMAL PEOPLE say one, five or ten... engineers tend to say what you just said. S
ee? you'll be fine.
Thanks!... I guess.
The orthopedist: Just checked your X-rays, you didn't break your neck, you just smashed your face... and demolished your ego. Don't worry, no broken bones, just VERY swollen muscles.
The surgeon: That's going to need stitches! I'll be right back... don't move!!!
The male-nurse: That's gonna leave a mark. Doctor S. is good but THAT's gonna leave a mark.
Oh... HELL NO!!!
Do you want me to take a picture of the suture for Facebook?
I'm not on Facebook.
WHAT?!?!... Doctor, you'll have to check this one for concussions.
What if I say Twitter, Instagram?
Oh... ok, you're fine then. Don't worry doctor, she's a geek with a smart phone, that's all.
Don't make me laugh man, my face hurts!

The surgeon: I don't think you'll be able to ride a bike... ever... again...
If you don't promise you'll wear your helmet I won't let you ride again. I can lend you mine if you want to.
Awwww... ahem... is there a Mrs. Surgeon?!?!?!

I honestly don't remember when or how exactly did he shot all the Lidocaine from the bottle I saw into my face but I was completely numb until the next morning.

Stitches on my forehead.
Dark bruises on my legs and arms.
A swollen "everything else".
A tetanus shot.
A broken ego.
A hard-learned lesson on bike safety.
A broken nail--- oh crap!

My bike? as if nothing had happened. Mafe's body took the impact!! Lucrecia is just fine!!

How come I don't dream about my own accidents?? Not fair.
Maybe someone dreamed about me and my Franken-Mafe face... I wonder...

The surgeon dude says my stitches will have to stay on 6-7 days, so they'll come off Monday, until then: no drinking [whatev's!], no rough or sweaty movements [Ha! I wish!], no dancing [wtf?], no swimming [d'oh!], no volleyball [double-d'oh!], no biking long distances [Are you f***ing kidding me?!?!] and no bubble baths [as if!! I am SO gonna cry now!!!] - pffffffff!!!

I have Opium medicine for the pain and to help me sleep at night, Ibuprofen for my headaches and something else for little dosages during the day for body ache. Which are not very effective by the way because yeah, when my body realized it was time to wake up from the Lidocaine every single muscle started to hurt.
In theory I can walk, I can breathe... I can move. Nothing's broken of twisted.
In reality? I can't walk! I can't move! I can't even smile or frown because of the stitches on my face. Sleeping hurts and seeing blood on my pillows the morning was not pretty  ... :(
Have you never thought how important your forehead is when you take a shower? VERY!!!

Getting dress is painful, fixing my hair is painful, putting make-up because I need to hide the swelling on my face is super hard, my ribs feel as if I've been working out non-stop, being on the computer is painful...
Thinking is... complicated, the pain killers make me woooooozy and had put my thesis on slow gear.
I've been writing this post for 3 days now, which is something that normally takes me 10 minutes.
Yay for Opium??

Now I understand... when the surgeon said DON'T DO ANYTHING, he didn't mean I was not allowed to, but I wasn't going to be able to DO ANYTHING.

All this from a simple collision. I don't want to imagine what would have happened if the car was moving or if I was actually on the street.
- You're lucky to be alive -, said one of the female nurses, - bicycle accidents without a helmet have a high risk of physical trauma -.
[never again]

Sunday, July 7, 2013

She shoots... SHE SCORES!!!!

Ever since I came to this country, I learned how annoying now speaking a language can be.
Spanish is my mother tongue and my English is, I think, understandable.
Romance languages are very similar to one another so understanding a little bit of Italian, French and Portuguese is not hard... Greek and German? mneh... just a little little tiny bit.

Everything else, not a word. Or a curse word or two.

I've learned how annoying is to be standing in among people that speak the same language and not being able to understand what they say. Personally, I think is rude, incredibly rude. That's why I avoid doing it to others.

When you're in academia in a foreign country, the fact that you speak their official language is a given, because being able to speak such language was a requirement for YOU so THEY can help you issue a student visa right.

Someone will jump and say: the US doesn't have an official language... and all that crap, but in ACADEMIA, English is the official language in the United States of America, right???


Have I mentioned how much I dislike my thesis adviser?

This individual is not from the US, he comes from a country we'll call "FINA" (not because it rhymes with the real country, or anything like that) where all the "Fineses" speak "Fineese", ok? I don't want to generalize or stereotype BUT I'm pretty pissed at this guy so the best thing I can do is send him to another country in another planet.

Unfortunately for me... and my labmates. I'm the only one who doesn't come from "Fina".
And it's not that my other labmates are real... you know... bad or anything, but it's that they were born in that country so they speak that language. Get it? they come from the same country, get it? get it?
In the beginning of the movie, they're not that bad.

Anyway, my advisor brain thinks is normal to speak Finese in front of all the lab people, eve thought there's a small portion (me) that doesn't understand a word he's saying.

This little portion of the lab (yes, me) has mentioned time and time again how uncomfortable it is to be in the middle of a meeting and having to hear words from a language I don't understand.

The last conversation went a little something like this:
Ad: You have to understand, unlike you, English is not their mother tongue...
Me: English is not my mother tongue, I speak Spanish.
Oh... I thought they spoke English in Spain.
I'm not from Spain... I'm Co-lom-bian... also, they Speak SPANISH in SPAIN.
Well, your English is very good so, you have to bear with them
I can't bear with something I don't understand.
You are keeping yourself away from your labmates, that's not good.
... you're not helping by encouraging them to speak something different than English

NO, I'm noooooooooooooot going to learn Finese. I have a thesis to finish and defend, a job hunt in my hands, an Engineering diploma to homologue in a couple of months... and a life to put together so no, that's out of the question.

I reached the point where whenever they start speaking their own language I pick up my things and leave the room. That's how I protest.
I'm not part of any research project now, I'm working on my own stuff.
I'm not being paid by the advisor, I have a job somewhere around the university.
I just go to the lab because that's where the software I need is, no other reason.
I have a desk and a computer because the rules of the university say so. Otherwise I'm pretty sure that guy would have me working somewhere outside the building.
All of the other Finese are happily working with the Finese adviser and speak Finese in their Finese meetings. You can hear them on the other side of the wall, in the meeting room.

So... my little revenge, and I say little because it was little, but it tasted like heaven:

We were all in the lab, doing our stuff, then all of a sudden the adviser comes and shouts something in Finese.
All the Finese students stood up and left.
What happened? Nuclear bomb? Earthquake drill? Tornado warning?... free food?!?!?!

I stood still on my desk, thinking what to do, when I heard the head of the President of the Faculty Senate's voice (he's on my thesis committee) telling my adviser how important is to keep the meeting room and the lab in spotless clean conditions...
HA! Finese people are not exactly famous for being clean, let me tell you Mr. President-Man.

One of my labmates comes to me and says in a really loud and rude voice, so the adviser and the President can hear him:
"MAFE!! prof. **** just asked us to clean the meeting room and the lab, you are supposed to help us!!!"

I stood up and started walking next to him towards the door and replied in the loudest but sweetest voice that has ever left my lungs, so the adviser and Mr. President-dude see and hear what I said:
"I didn't hear that... you know what? I think he said that in a language I don't understand. 
I don't think it was meant for me to comprehend what he said. 
I don't think it'll be a good idea for me to help you guys. I don't want to upset him. I'll just leave you guys alone. 
I'll be back later when you're done. 

And left.
And took the morning off.

How do I know I didn't do anything TOO bad?

As I left, I got a *wink*wink* from my President-buddy and the adviser saw it.