E-mail Sent from Gretchen to Her Family on Friday, March 12, 2010
...and great was the fall thereof.
Let me just begin by saying that yesterday started off by being extremely boring and uneventful. Nothing like an injury to spice things up! We had been doing a few less-active drop-bys and no one was home, so in an attempt to try something else, I finally said, "You know what? I'm so sick of this. Let's go tracting." I was driving the car and found a side street that looked like it had some potential. We prayed, stocked up with pass-along cards, and paused. "Which side do you want to start on?" I asked. Sister W. pointed to the west side of the street and that was the one that I was feeling good about, too. A couple doors into it, we met the pastor of the local Salvation Army church. Her and her husband were both raised in the Army and both of their parents were pastors. She had four kids and was very friendly and we left her with our phone number. The man at the next house wasn't interested and so we continued. We walked up the sloped driveway and talked to a man who said he was at work there as a caretaker. He didn't want to chat, but said that we had a lot in common with him.
So we walked down the driveway of doom; the paved edge was uneven and rough. I, being the klutz that I am, stepped right on the edge and my ankle turned. I rolled down the driveway one and a half times and landed on my back. My ankle didn't feel sprained or broken, but I could tell that it was in bad shape. I struggled to catch my breath and Sister W. was quite alarmed. She noticed my right knee first of all. I couldn't see it because of my skirt, but she told me multiple times to NOT LOOK.
Sister W. ran down the street and I'm crying and looked like a complete wreck. This older lady with a dog came over and said, "Are you okay?" I explained that someone was getting help and the lady tried to make conversation with me. She told me that she had just been over at the church using the family history centre and wanted to know where I was from. I think at one point she even told her dog to "say hi to the girl and make her feel better."
Right at the same time that Sister W. and the Salvation Army pastor arrived, the man from the house steps out and asks if everything was alright. The pastor looked at my knee and immediately said that I needed to go to the hospital to get it checked out. At this point I still haven't seen it, but I guess you could see right through to the bone. Sister W. left to get the car, and as she left, I pulled out the keys. "You might need these." "Oh, right." I was helped into the car and off we went.
We arrived at St. Joseph's and we said a prayer. I stayed in the car while Sister W. tried to figure out where to go. She even asked the security guard, "If I have someone that's hurt, do I talk to you?" We pulled over to the front entrance and the guard actually did help me into a wheelchair.
At the ER, I talked to the nurse at the front desk. She was filling out the paperwork and I noticed the sign on the wall that said that if you weren't a resident in Canada, you had to pay $735 to go through the doorway into the ER and then whatever additional charges for the care on top of that. (Talk about one pricey doorway.) She had the doctor come out and take a look and he recommended just going to the walk-in clinic.
Sister W. drove me over to the walk-in and the nurse gave us a side room to sit in, but warned that it might be a bit of a wait. Sister W. and I traded injury stories about our families and joked about random stuff and I've decided that it's a very special talent to be able to make someone feel better when they're in pain. No less than TWO HOURS LATER, the nurse took us back to the operating room. It looked just like Dr. Joel Fleischman's office in Northern Exposure. (Kidding.)
The Doc came in and assessed the situation. He told us what was going to happen and then left the room so I could take my tights off. (Side bar: I was so bummed about wrecking my tights--they were my nice black, ribbed ones. My skirt didn't get ripped, but it did get pretty blood-stained and muddy.) Taking my tights off was probably the most painful part of the day because I had to gingerly pull them off of the wound and that was when I got a really good look at it. It was not pretty. The Doc came back in and I was super queasy. Fun fact: Did you know that it's impossible to faint if you're lying down? He put a few freezing shots in my knee (Canadian translation: "Freezing" equals "numbing") and let it sit while he prepared the table. The whole time he's trying to talk with Sister W. about BYU and history and I think she was closer to passing out than I was. She said I turned completely gray while he was giving me the shots...yikes.
He gave me one deep stitch next to the bone, which will take the pressure off of the skin and eventually dissolve. I got five stitches on the knee--the scar will be in the shape of a V and I'll have them for 12 days. The Doctor told us these crazy stories about doing medical work with the Natives in Saskatchewan and he also told us about the man who invented the freezing method and in the process become a cocaine junkie because he used crack as his first technique. I told him the story of Joseph Smith and getting part of his leg bone cut as a small boy.
I was incredibly grateful to have everything work out and for modern medicine. We grabbed a burger before going home because neither of us had eaten in eight hours and I was so blitzed. Sleeping last night was painful and my left ankle is still sore and swollen.
Fortunately we've got a fairly easy day ahead of us. Your prayers are so very appreciated and I'm sure that there will be immense lessons learned from this experience, as well as further missionary opportunities.
Sister Hop-a-Long Gretchen
P.S. I told Sister W. that my new theme song was that Primary song, "If you don't walk as most people do/Some people smile and laugh at you/But I won't, I won't."
The pictures below were taken on a beach on Vancouver Island during Gretchen's pre-fallen state!