Life after the fall

I broke my foot in November, which led to some very surprising repercussions, along with plenty of fruit eating and sudden bouts of tears.

Here’s the story:

Last Fall turned out to be a whirlwind of activity for Bjorn and I. A few days after we got back from a longish stay in the U.S., Bjorn’s parents came to visit. A few days after they left, we did a visa run to Cambodia (I know, I know, blog post is coming…).  Then, right after we got back from Cambodia, Bjorn’s cousins were in town to visit. Life felt like a frantic hubbub of scurrying around (but the best kind, seeing as it centered on having fun and eating good food.)

The first night that Bjorn’s cousins were in town, I went by myself to Phra Khanong market along Sukhumvit Road to stock up for what we fondly call “fruit feasts.” (Pro Tip: If the market is by a major road, never buy fruit that you can’t peel yourself.) It’s something I have done many times before and I enjoy wandering among the colorful fruits and scoring great deals.

I went to my favorite banana lady. At the stall next to hers, a lady selling papaya was closing up shop. She persuaded me to buy some of her fruits and assured me that she was giving me a “very good price.” As soon I walked out to the main road, I ran smack into a stall selling papayas at a cheaper price. Of course.

Anyhoo—I continued shopping. Laden down with bags (hey, we don’t call it a “fruit feast” for nothing), I decided to hail a songtaew, a kind of public taxi, in this case a smallish truck with benches in the open back enclosed by metal railings and a roof. Extremely fatigued, my arms and shoulders sore from carrying all this weight, I could barely lift an arm to flag it down.

This is what the songtaew looked like.

It idled to a stop about 15 feet from me. At first I thought it had stopped for another passenger to get off or get on, but no one appeared. There was plenty of space in the road in front of me. Why wasn’t it moving forward? I stared at it, but in the darkness couldn’t see through the windshield. The headlights of the songtaew glared back at me. It was like we were locked in a game of chicken, daring the other to come forward. Then, with a sudden rev of its engine, the songaew drove past me in a furious rush. What the WHAT.

I waited for what seemed like forever for the next one to come and it too stopped about 15 feet away(!). With a sigh, I resigned myself to walking over and stepped into the street.

The Fall


Sukhumvit is one of the main roads in Bangkok, and as such, is not in the greatest shape (which is saying a lot as most of the roads have a propensity to be uneven and tend to launch unsuspecting car passengers into roofs and against backseats every five minutes or so.)

In the darkness and enveloped in irritation and fatigue, I failed to notice the ginormous pothole waiting below me. But I sure felt it.

Bags flew out of my hand. Bananas flew into the air (I’m pretty sure my skirt did, too). Papayas rolled around in the street. I fell on my knees, then my hands. Inexplicably, I kept going. I hit my side. But still I kept toppling over until I was flat on my back on the street. I remember I had time to think, “How am I still falling?”

I lay on my back, too stunned to move, for though slow, the fall had still been violent. I was in the far left lane, right where the bus stops, and it was a miracle that one didn’t come along and crush me. Two kind passersby rushed into the street, gathered my belongings for me, and sat me on the curb. They didn’t speak much English, but at that moment I felt an overwhelming gratitude and love for Thai people.

I couldn’t put any pressure on my left foot, but somehow I managed to make it into a taxi and went home. I could barely step out of the taxi, my foot hurt so much. The doorman came to assist me, but I just couldn’t make it up the curb in front of the building, so once again I found myself being sat down on a curb.

During this time, I didn’t have a phone. Bjorn was out with his cousins, showing them around town. Plus, I couldn’t remember his number. The doormen didn’t speak much English. Dirty water from the pothole covered my arms and legs. My knee was bleeding and my foot hurt so bad I couldn’t even stand.

So I sat on that curb and I cried.

After a couple minutes of thoroughly discomfiting the doorman behind me with my weeping, I finally snapped out of it. I like to motivate myself with scenarios. LIke when I’m running on a treadmill and tempted to stop, I think to myself, “Jammie, what would you do if you were being chased by a mugger? Would you just give up?” In this case, I thought to myself, “Jammie, what would you do if you were a mother and something happened to your kid? Would you just sit here doing nothing? Get it together!”

As I saw it, I could either sit on that curb and wait for Bjorn to get back, or I could get in a taxi again and go to the hospital. I had the doorman flag down a taxi and away I went.

The Life


Fortunately, there is a hospital very near to us, Sukhumvit Hospital. Within minutes I arrived, was ushered into a wheelchair and wheeled into the emergency department. While waiting, I burst into tears again. The nurses looked alarmed but said nothing. Then, because I still had some fruit in my bag (the rest I left with the doorman), I sat around munching it until the doctor came to see me.

He examined my now shockingly swollen foot and told me that he would like to X-ray it to see if it was broken. Another attendant came to wheel me to the X-ray room. We had gone about five feet when I made him stop. “Wait,” I said to the doctor. “I think I might be pregnant.”

My period was five days late. Not that long a time, I know, but something, something, urged me to say it. The doctor looked taken aback. He said, “Well, let’s check then, shall we?”

I was given a pregnancy test and wheeled back into the waiting room, where I resumed eating fruit. After what seemed like an impossibly long time, the doctor came back and stood by my side. He had a serious, grave air.

“The pregnancy test…” he said slowly and solemnly, “…was positive.”

I promptly burst into wild tears. The nurses again looked uneasy. So did the doctor. “I’m so, so, ha-happy,” I stuttered through hiccuping sobs. Then, because it seemed like the thing to do, I began offering fruit to the other people in the waiting room. In retrospect, they were probably right to decline mandarin oranges from a copiously weeping woman.

And that is how I found out we were going to have a baby. 🙂

 

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21 thoughts on “Life after the fall

  1. Congratulations!!! I’m so happy for you. I did laugh though at “How am I still falling?” But I sympathize. I broke my foot at Oakwood then a few years later I broke the other foot at Andrews.

  2. A fruitful beginning….!! ha ha.

    Congratulations!! The newest fruit feaster is bound to be beautiful, smart and fascinating like his or her parents! But let’s let Bjorn teach him/her how to walk 😉

    Get well soon! Hugs from South America!

    • Shanna, I laughed out loud at the walking comment! I’m also hoping to pass along diaper duty to him, but we’ll see how that goes. 🙂 Thanks so much for the well wishes!

      • ha, ha, ha THIS is my favorite part of the story. Like any kid of Bjorn’s could be super quiet 🙂 And welcome to the gang, the parenting gang, where everyone survives…but just barely 🙂

  3. Awwwwwww!! What a painful way to find out that you were pregnant….Now. If only you had gone to the hospital and cried for joy before you went out for fruit. Then you wouldn’t have bought so much to make yourself so tired (because pregnant women shouldn’t tax themselves), then you wouldn’t have missed the pothole, and then you wouldn’t have fallen and broken your foot and found yourself crying for pain on the curb. …. I’m just trying to rearrange your life so it doesn’t sound so excruciatingly ….. hilarious.

    • RIght?? 🙂 Although I guess it’s a good thing I found out when I did, b/c when when I think about what I was doing when I was unknowingly pregnant (walking around in excruciating heat, climbing mountains), I shudder. Eeeie! 🙂

  4. Great story writing … really enjoyed reading it! That was a painful way to find out you were pregnant … so excited for you both!!! There really is nothing like the thrill of bringing a new little life into the world! … let the adventure of parenthood begin! … lucky child to have you two for parents!

  5. Congrats Karlmans!! What a way to find out about your pregnancy. Will this event have anything to do ultimately with what the baby’s named??

    What are you guys doing otherwise? Come visit Kota Bharu in the next couple months if time/schedules permit.

  6. Jammie, we so enjoy your writing!! And the fruit feast/life changing moments is fabulous. Keep the stories coming 🙂

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