trouble in tuscany

Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy

This past summer, my family and I traveled to Tuscany, a region in the north of Italy. Upon our arrival, I noticed there was a zit-like bump forming on my knee. You may think, Ew, gross why would there be a zit on her knee? Well, imagine what I was thinking. The first thought that came to mind was, Should I be putting my Clean&Clear on this?  Idiotically, I decided to pop it with my finger nails instead of my fabulous zit cream idea. And oh yes, puss came out.

A few days later I’d already visited the statue of David, seen the Duomo, and been on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. However, as time passed, the size of my knee doubled, and by the following week,  it tripled. My mom and I ventured out to the pharmacies everyday for more antibiotics. They didn’t seem to be working.

On the second-to-last day of our vacation, we were going on a bus tour to Lucca, San Gimignano, Pisa, and Siena . Unfortunately, by then it hurt for my to even walk and my knee was the size of a coconut. The last stop of our tour was Siena, and instead of seeing the beautiful sights, my mom and I sat in the town square, eating gelato. I was in excruciating pain and of course someone was late getting on our bus ride so we had to wait for a whole hour to get back.

Once we finally got back my mom and I caught a cab and headed to the local hospital. This is where the real party began. I hobbled in the triage where my mom tried to speak to a manager who didn’t speak any English. As we waited, a man came in on a wheelchair with a nasty wound on his calve. The man-nurse called me in. Ha. Some triage.

Since none of the doctors, nurses, or managers spoke English, my mom tried to explain with gestures what happened to me. Our male nurse looked mangy to begin with. His shirt was unbuttoned to the middle, exposing his chest hair and a gold cross around his neck. In the midst of my mom’s explanation, his phone rang. He put his pointer finger in the air as if saying, Hang on, just a minute.

While on the phone, the nurse started laughing. I could tell that it was a friend and not a patient. While he was on his friendly phone call, the pain just seemed getting worse. His call finally ended with, “Si si! Ciao ciao ciao!” I’m glad he had a nice catch up.

The same nurse called in a few of his colleagues whose attire consisted of blood-splattered coats. It’s not that I’m a clean freak, but I think that you’d agree that’s unsanitary.

They laid me down on a the table – at least it had cushions – which made me a little uncomfortable noting that I was wearing a short dress, and examined my inflated knee. They put some alcohol on it to make sure that it didn’t get infected, and took out this giant spoon-like needle. Feeling childish, I grasped my mom’s hand and said a quick prayer.

They murdered my knee. Looking back, I can only think of it in slow motion. I screamed so loud, I’m pretty sure the whole neighborhood heard me. There was no doubt about it, that was the most painful experience I have ever persevered through. It was like having a stab wound, no joke. Oh gee! Did I forget to mention they didn’t even numb my knee. THEY DIDN’T EVEN NUMB MY KNEE!

Oh, but the story goes on! After they prescribed my medication, they didn’t even have a pharmacy anywhere near the hospital! We attempted to ask a nurse where the pharmacy was. Luckily pharmacy in Italian is farmacia, so she understood. Casually, she took out a map and pointed us to the direction of the pharmacy with her surgical scissors. It was all good though because there wasn’t any blood on them at least. Yeah, and the pharmacy ended up being inside the train station.

Update: It has been over six months since and my scar is still purple.

*True story


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