Return Home – Feb 10 to Feb 16

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Winding down the trip
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Hotel of Dreams

Our driver drove us the 16 km to the airport and helped us unload our gear, which now consisted of our motorcycle gear and even included my wallet.  We had a 3 hour flight to Santiago, Chile.  Since Argentina dislikes Chile, and vice versa, it’s impossible to get a flight to Canada except from specific airports and Santiago is one of them.  Eliezer, who lives in Chile, pointed out an Argentinian license plate on one occasion.  He said ” there’s a reason that there license is Black!”.  The flight was uneventful as was the final leg of 10 hours from Santiago to Toronto.  We landed early on Feb 11th and made our way home, with Michael driving our car.  We decided to take our Argentinian doctor’s advice seriously and immediately booked an appointment with our family doctor.  The appointment was set for 6 pm that evening.

Our doctor took no notice of the letter I gave her from Dr. Pasqualini and proceeded to book appointments for some sort of blood test which she said was needed to have a doctor examine my shoulder.  I returned home dejected that she care so little for my health.  Within an hour, I began to feel intense pain and within 2 hours, I couldn’t stand the pain any longer.  We drove to Orangeville to the hospital emergency department.  They provided me with oxygen and by 11:00 pm I was admitted.  Interestingly, since I had spent time in a foreign hospital, I was actually quarantined and nurses had to don special clothes each time they entered.  Even after the quarantine ended, I kept my large room.  The admitting doctor insisted on giving me every test he could think of – EKG, CatScan for my chest, CatScan for my spleen, Xrays of my ribs from every angle imaginable, xray of my shoulder (after I insisted that I needed one).  I began to get consultation each day from a nurse who had some experience with rib and lung injuries and she proceeded to involve me with breathing exercises.  This lasted for four days after which the doctor agreed I could be discharged.  That was they day when the nurse went over the discharge notes with me.  She explained that I did have one broken bone – the shoulder.  But, I also had broken my ribs on my left side – numbered 4 through 10, on the back and 3 through 10 on the front.  That meant that ribs 4 thru 10 were floating and how they would heal was not known.  I was given a breathing apparatus and told to use it religiously.   I needed to continue to breath in to the apparatus to keep the lungs inflated while the ribs healed.

Heading home, my mind was reeling.  I had been told that, given the damage to my chest, there is no way that an Ontario doctor would have allowed me to fly in an airplane.  I had survived a second trip and didn’t even know I had been in danger.

There were lots of emails from my boss and my cohorts at work as I rested and on Feb 22, the precise day that I was scheduled to return to work , I actually began working a few hours per week.  But the shoulder and ribs continued to provide me on continuing reminders of my escape from something worse,  until well into June.

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