Thursday, August 22, 2013

Head Over Heels for a Head Injury

By: Mary Neville, Greece from Minoan to Modern Times in Athens and the Greek Isles

I knew from my time on the mainland, that Greece was amazing. But tonight we were going to Crete, our first island. Nothing excited me more. I was going to be on my first ferry on the open ocean. We were going to explore the magnificent islands I had been dreaming of for months. By the port town of Piraus I took a really good long look at the boat. It was massive. This ferry was unique on our trip because it was an overnight ferry. We all had cabins to sleep in that had two bunk beds. As we boarded I began to feel the consistent rocking of the waves. My best friend Gabby and another friend Bryn were in a cabin with me. As I saw the sleeping arrangements my stomach dropped. I have a touch of claustrophobia, so seeing the teeny tiny beds cramped together in a teeny time room made me nervous and nauseous. I decided to take a top bunk because that is what I slept in for about seventeen years of my life and I thought it would make me feel more at ease and at home. The next few hours were shaky (literally) but I maintained a positive attitude and had fun with all of my friends.
Before we went to sleep, Bryn brought her laptop and the three of us fell asleep to a movie. All of a sudden I woke up disoriented and on the bottom bunk opposite of my own, which happened to be Bryn’s. I could not see anything in the dark, my head was throbbing, and Gabby and Bryn were saying things that I could not comprehend. The thing I noticed next was Gabby got up and put a warm towel on the back right hand side of my head. I looked around and saw Bryn’s sheets were wet and stained. It turns out that was my blood. As I began to realize that I fell from the top bunk and hit my head I panicked. I felt the back of my head and when I looked at my fingers they were red and bloody. I could not focus on anything else. Gabby shook me gently and I became aware that she was talking to me.
“Are you alright?” She asked. I tried to respond but I am not sure that what came out of my mouth were actual words.
She then looked at Bryn and said, “Go get Randy.” Bryn immediately took off to find our professor.
Moments later, Bryn returned with Randy. He, Gabby, Bryn and I went to the boat’s front desk and saw the ferry’s doctor. She examined my head, and came to the conclusion that I needed approximately one stitch. I was baffled. I had never needed stitches before, and I was in a foreign place. I was so worried. This was not at all what I had expected.
Knowing I could not change my fate, the doctor stopped the bleeding and we went back to our room to sleep. It did not come easy. But morning came as it always does, and our group was a buzz with last night’s drama. They were all really nice and caring. Randy, Gabby and another girl named Sarah, dropped our bags off at the hotel and went to a clinic for my stitches. Turns out I needed four! The Greek clinic was not all that different from American ones. The doctor was very kind and knowing that this was the first time I needed stitches, he made me feel at ease.
This slight bump in the road, did not even damper my experience abroad. It was unexpected and scary but it was an experience I learned a lot from. I found out I am tougher than I give myself credit for, and that I can take care of these things without my parents (even though I would have liked to have them there). I learned that no matter what happens, it is all about perspective. I could have let this mishap get me down, but I was in the most incredible place I have ever been, and I would not let anything ruin that. A positive attitude can change anything. I also learned how these people I had met a week and a half ago were now some of my best friends. They were there for me and cared deeply about my safety. I was so thankful to have met them and gone on this trip. I would do it again in a heartbeat. My Greek experience was amazing and just happened to include a medical emergency. I am head over heels for my head injury because I am head over heels for Greece.

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