From Installment #3
How I thought I lost my eyesight snorkeling in the Cook Islands:
My eyesight was horrible. As a kid, I had glasses but they gave me headaches so I started wearing contacts at an early age. In late elementary/junior high school my best friend had a pool. I spent many a day swimming with my head above water and occasionally wearing goggles to protect my contacts.
In my mid-twenties, as a Christmas gift my parents paid for my laser eye surgery. It was the best gift ever. My migraines and sensitivity to light decreased and I no longer had to worry about contacts and cases and solution.
A year or two later, I was on vacation with my parents in the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. We had several days of snorkeling planned and it would be my first time with my face in the water since my laser eye surgery.
One day we took a boat out to the beautiful blue fish-filled water. I jumped in with a mask and snorkel and shortly realized that for the first time ever I could take the mask off, open my eyes underwater and see clearly. I assumed perfect vision out of the water meant perfect vision underwater.
I had quite a fright after I took my mask off, opened my eyes in the water and saw fuzzy looking fish. I thought the ocean water reversed the laser eye surgery. I frantically lifted my head out of the water and was extremely relived to find out my vision was still perfect out of the water.
How was I to know that no one can see clearly underwater?
From Installment #4
How I was taken out of a Vietnamese hospital by ambulance:
I went to Vietnam with two girlfriends. We spent an amazing 2 1/2 weeks traveling from the north to the south of the country. Being girls, we were excited to visit the city of Hoi An and have some clothes tailor-made. With so many new clothes, all three of us had to buy an extra bag to bring them home.
From Hoi An we traveled to Nha Trang and then took an overnight train to Saigon. While exiting the train, weighed down with an extra bag and bleary eyed from a sleepless night, I stumbled on the steps down from the train. Upon reaching the platform I started to feel dizzy and when I looked down I was surprised to see my foot covered in what I thought was thick black oil. My head was swimming so I put down my bags and sat down.
At this point, my two friends got of the train and I noticed they were concerned. I came to realize that the oil on my foot was actually my blood. My friends got some workers at the train station to bandage my foot (shoe and all) and a taxi drove right up on the train platform to whisk me away.
One friend took all our bags (which was quite a feat considering all the new clothes we had made) to a hotel and the other went with me in the taxi to the hospital. At the local hospital I was put in a dirty (by Western standards) examination room and I tried to communicate with the doctor using hand signs.
Based on the amount of blood I had seen come out of me I was pretty sure that I would need stitches. But after a large bug crawled off the wall, on to the examination table and over my leg I was unsure about how sterile the needle in this hospital might be. To the doctor I kept shaking my head "no" and moving my hand up and down as though I was sewing and holding a needle.
Thankfully, my friend at the hotel learned about and contacted SOS International Clinic. When a doctor there heard that I was at the local hospital, the clinic sent an ambulance to get me. The hospital was reluctant to let me leave though. My other friend and I couldn't figure out what the problem was but there was much animated discussion between the hospital doctor and paramedic. The hospital staff watched me like a hawk, I guess for fear I'd dash off in the ambulance with out paying my bill. My bill that was equivalent to $4!
After paying as quickly as possible I was wheeled from the hospital to the ambulance and taken, sirens blaring and lights flashing, to the international clinic.