The Schadenfreude Saga Continues

If you’re just joining the saga of my fall in Greece, you may want to start at the beginning. And be advised that many of the photos are on the disturbing side.

The insurance company’s doctor called me the following Monday, and I described to him that there was some improvement over the weekend but that the bruising was spreading quite a bit and moving the leg was still very painful. He decided that he wouldn’t be able to declare me fit to fly without more information than he could get examining me in my hotel room, so he contacted the insurance company and had them arrange for me to be seen at a private clinic. The clinic sent a car for me, and the driver was most helpful in getting me checked in for the exam and explaining the paperwork to me.

My vitals being fine, the doctor ordered a sonogram and an INR check. My INR actually came back low, but not dangerously so, so he bumped up my warfarin dose a bit. And the sonogram came back negative for DVT or any other worries. I was fit to fly! I forked over a few hundred Euro, and they faxed everything to the insurance company and summoned my driver back. Things were definitely looking up!

Tuesday morning the insurance company came back with the decision that I needed to fly business class and should leave directly from Athens, and they suggested a flight nurse. I thought that was a dandy idea, as my leg was looking like this: IMG_20160503_091614Yep, still extremely painful and swollen and blistery. And there is more bruising on the foot than there had been. Though at this point there is starting to be some give when I press on the skin, and it is feeling slightly less like I stuck my leg in a bonfire. By the end of the day, they had arranged for a nurse to arrive in Athens the next evening and escort me home on Thursday.

Wednesday I decided that I was not leaving Athens without seeing the Antikythera mechanism, dammit. Which, of course, was not anywhere near my hotel. It is displayed at the National Archaeological Museum, and my only real option was to take a taxi. I had the hotel call me one, and it was fine. Gaining entrance to the building was a bit more of a challenge: IMG_20160504_143452Athens is really not designed with disabled people in mind. I’m sure there was a disabled entrance, but I still couldn’t tell you where it was.

I wish I had been in better shape, because it really is a great museum and I would have loved to spend many hours there. As it was, I had a bit of a treasure hunt finding the mechanism. Nothing on the museum map said “Antikythera Shipwreck Artifacts Right Here” with big arrows pointing to it, and the website suggested that the artifacts were no longer in a shipwreck-specific display. After wandering about the main level a bit, I asked one of the museum staff, and she made vague gestures on the map and couldn’t seem to decide which level it was on, so I began methodically searching the rooms with promising titles like “Metalwork Collection.” I finally located an empty display case where some of the Antikythera items used to be, and it provided clues to the gallery I sought: IMG_20160504_132956

I know it doesn’t look like much, but it was fascinating. I spent far too much time wrapped up in the mysteries of the mechanism, so by the time I was ready to leave, I was in quite a lot of pain.

I located an elevator to the cafe/gift shop level and spent a while relaxing there as I decided just how I was going to get back to my hotel. Walking even as far as the Metro station was out of the question. As I exited the building, I had decided to try Uber, but there were three taxis sitting in front of the museum. So I took one.

Huge mistake. Yooge! Long story short, as the driver was dropping me off — nearly two blocks from my hotel — and I quickly recognized that he was cheating me in at least three different ways, something in my brain clicked: You are a disabled female trapped in a vehicle with a man you cannot trust. Forget the fucking change. Give the man a bunch of money and get the fuck out of this car NOW. Next time, I will totally try Uber.

To Be Continued…

Schadenfreude, Part II

In yesterday’s post I showed the leg a few hours after injury and then just the knee the next day. Y’ain’t seen nuthin yet. So if you’re squeamish, like me, you might want to surf away to something more pleasant.

The travel insurance company suggested I ask the new hotel if they had a doctor on call who could come to my room and do the evaluation. They did, and he arrived shortly thereafter. He cut the leg wrap away, and this is what he found: IMG_20160428_154838At this point the swelling was still rock-solid, to the point that I couldn’t really bend the knee much at all, and moving the leg was extremely painful. You can also see some blisters beginning to form due to the swelling.

I got the INR lecture again, along with an admonishment for travelling alone. He prescribed a round of antibiotics and some heparin gel, told me to keep the leg elevated as much as possible, even when going out for meals, and to refrain from walking more than 10 minutes at a time. He recommended I return home as soon as I could arrange a flight and wrote me out a “fit to fly” note.

He gave me some notes for the insurance company, but he, too, refused to complete their paperwork. He nattered on about official documentation approvals from the Greek government and how the insurance company would have to get everything from the KAT’s administrative offices after a few weeks because doctors don’t do ::gasp:: paperwork. Just writing out the credit card receipt for his 100-Euro fee was offense enough to his professional status. The theme of his rant was an interesting combination of “Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor not a secretary,” and “Fuck this American bullshit.”

Merolia arrived shortly after the doctor left, and she was able to get the antibiotics prescription filled for me. After trying several different pharmacies, though, she was finally informed that heparin gel is no longer an actual thing, so arnica cream was substituted.

I emailed everything to the insurance company, and they weren’t satisfied with his rather limited examination notes. For one thing, he didn’t have a pulse oximeter, and that was a clearly stated deal-breaker for them. So they decided to take matters into their own hands, and they sent me a doctor of their choosing the next day. He took one look at my leg and said, “You are not fit to fly.” He confirmed that I was taking antibiotics and elevating the leg whenever possible, and he filled out the paperwork (including all the required vitals!) and sent it to the insurance company along with a pretty picture of my leg. (It looked and felt much the same as the previous day, so I didn’t take my own photo.) He said he would have to re-evaluate on the following Monday. So here you can see the progression over the holiday weekend:

In the Saturday photo, you can see the colors deepening and the blisters growing. In the Sunday photos, you can see the yellowing of the bruises as well as the shifting of the lividity. You can see where one of the blisters popped and bled, but the others are still growing. Quite painfully, I might add. Throughout the weekend, the most painful part was moving the leg into a vertical position. Once I did that, walking was not all that bad.

To Be Continued…