Seriously, who does that???
08.15.2007 0 °F
As the end of May was upon us, so was the end of our difficult yet amazing semester in Turkey. We decided to plan a dinner, ie. make a reservation for 40, and celebrate before we had to say goodbye. The goodbye dinner afforded the opportunity for the exchange students, and Turkish host students to get together and reflect upon the events of the past four months. Little did I know that possibly the most momentous occasion for me personally, was a mere few hours into the future. We finished dinner, and decided to move the party to a nearby bar. We proceeded to drink, and have an all around great time. After a few hours we got ansy, and decided to move yet again to a nearby club where we could dance. During this short walk through the streets of Ankara, is where this night takes a turn for the worst.
Now a group of 40 sober people can stay together no problem, but once you get 40 people drunk, you can forget about maintaining any type of cohesive unit. I end up at the tail end of the pack, waiting for a few stragglers at the very back. Once everyone catches up, we all start heading to Club Manhattan to dance the night away. I am walking with my friend Courtney, who soon finds a glass bottle more entertaining than yours truly, and takes off, dribbling the bottle up the sidewalk. I continue to walk alone, minding my own business, when CRASH! A beer bottle lands in front of me, breaking into several large chunks of glass. I look down. My hand is gushing blood. It is too dark for me too see what happened, but I know that my hand is cut, and there is blood all over the sidewalk, and my clothes. In my stupor, I become frozen in place, and now am really far behind my friends. They start yelling at me to hurry up, and I just keep saying “guys, I am bleeding” over and over. Finally someone is like “you are what!?” and come over to find me standing in a pool of blood. Somewhere in those few moments I realize that the beer bottle had been thrown at me from the balcony directly above . My friends aren’t the only ones who show up in this moment, but so does a sketchy Turkish man in his Mercedes, telling me to get in his car. Dream on you fucking loser, and come on, do you seriously want me to get in your car and get blood all over the interior of your Mercedes??? Get lost. My friend Emir, who speaks Turkish, THANK GOD, has no idea what just happened, or how I had cut myself. He starts talking to the assholes on the balcony, who were apparently apologizing to him. He immediately sticks me in a cab and takes me to hospital number one. After they tell me I would have to pay an exorbitant fee out of pocket just to be seen, I say ‘forget you,’ and we go to hospital number two. Where is hospital number two located, you ask. Oh, in Ulus, code for: the-worst-part-of-the-city, Ankara….the public hospital. But here I am. We pull up, and there are news reporters and camera crews all over the damn parking lot. I get rushed inside with Emir, the rest of my friends are told to wait outside….in the ghetto….with the reporters. In any case, I made it to the hospital, end of story you think? Well you think wrong my friend.
The interior of the hospital is marked by utter carnage and complete chaos. For starters, there is no waiting room….there is just a hallway. So everyone who needs to be seen that night is crowded together in the hallway. Three may be company, but fifteen is definitely a crowd. Especially when your fellow fifteen are dripping blood from their faces…..because they have been shot/ stabbed…..by the dude who is currently handcuffed to his gurney, and flanked with policemen!! Yes that is correct, there had been a murderous rampage earlier that night in Ankara, where 30 something people had been wounded or killed. And the culprit was in front of me in the X-ray line. Not only is this homie handcuffed to his bed, he is also stabbed multiple times in the torso, and choking up blood. Apparently I missed something incredibly disgusting, because Emir winced and gagged, and told me not to turn around. After getting x-rayed in a room that was covered in someone else’s blood, I got to go search the otherwise empty hospital for the plastic surgeon. I was so confused, I don’t think we ever found a plastic surgeon, just some woman doctor who checked my hand for nerve damage…..and there was none (again, THANK GOD). Then I got my stitches….by some fat grumpy bitch, probably on her period, and definitely ugly. I was more scared at this point than I had been at any other point that night…..and probably because for once, I knew what was coming next…. and I had never had sitches before (oddly enough, I have had a glass bottle thrown at me before though….but that was by my stupid and sober-for-12-years-friend, Ryan…and he had missed). Emir let me squeeze his hand, and before I knew it, I had three stitches, and the bleeding had finally stopped. Emir and I ultimately did get to leave the hospital, and go home for the night. My savior and protector, and translator extraordinaire, Emir put me in a cab, and refused to let me pay him for the fare. I feel so indebted to him for his help and companionship that night, I cannot even express my gratitude. In any case, I think I made it home around 4am, but I really cannot be sure, because I was in a total daze.
My friends had left hours before, turning down the opportunity to hang out in the parking lot of the public hospital, and possibly catching a glimpse of a mass murderer. They all texted me very sweet and concerned messages, and went to bed. Pekka on the other hand, waited up for me….and then met me at my apartment when I got home. I was pretty shaken up, upset, and angry with what had happened to me. And while I was exhausted, I was way too worked up to go to sleep. Pretty much, Pekka took over where Emir left off, and baby sat me for the night. Once again, I was wide awake as the dawn prayer calls were sounding throughout Ankara. In the morning, my roommate Matthew, stunned at the sight of me sporting a huge white bandage on my hand, had to hear the entire story. He then proceeded to make us all breakfast. I have to say that I was really lucky to have such good friends around me when all this shit went down.
I was in foul mood over the next few days. I was so bitter and angry, and utterly appalled at what had happened to me. I could not believe that someone would actually throw a glass bottle off their 4th floor balcony, when there were people walking below. I was incensed. Fruthermore I was very irritable and unhappy about the status of my handicapped (ie. useless) left hand. Now obviously, it could have been so much worse. What if that bottle had hit me in the head? Or sliced open my wrist? But still, what happened was bad, and the fact that it was not an accident makes it even worse. Furthermore, my whole index finger, and knuckle were numb. Even several days after the accident, I had no feeling in this area, and that was really starting to worry me. I went to see the doctor on campus, hoping to get some insight, and relief. Instead I got a sexist, unprofessional asshole, who wanted my cell phone number, and asked if I was having problems with my boyfriend. Instead of putting my mind at ease, he scared the shit out of me. He told me that I might need to have surgery for nerve damage….immediately. I was thinking in my head that there was no way in hell that I would have surgery in Turkey, and would have to scratch all my travel plans for the summer, and go home. Now like I said earlier, this all happened at our goodbye dinner, meaning I was about to leave Turkey, and go travel around Europe. My last week in Turkey was spent running around from one doctor to the next, seeing a hand specialist to ensure once more that I did not have nerve damage, and being sexually harassed by the “specialist” on campus. I made this so-called specialist take out my stitches on my last day in Turkey, despite him telling me that it was too early. I pretty much did not value his ‘professional’ opinion at all, and told him to take my shit out anyway. Then I left Turkey, with a slightly bitter taste in my mouth, and a huge chip on my shoulder. This experience unfortunately (albeit temporarily) made me lose sight of the wonderful and beautiful country of Turkey, and its amazingly friendly and hospitable people. Now temporarily was the key word in that statement. Now that I am back home, missing Turkey more than ever, I can fully appreciate it, despite such unfortunate experiences as this one. Three months later, the area directly around my scar is still swollen and numb, and the movement in my finger is restricted. This is a total pain in my ass, but like I have thought to myself a million times, it could have been so much worse. I can deal with having a slightly useless finger, and a really ugly scar. I mean at least I am not bleeding from my face or permanently on my period. See? Things really could be worse.